On Tuesday, Senate Republicans introduced a bill that would protect the rights of gun owners traveling over state lines from falling into the complicated laws that differ in each state.
Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Congressman Morgan Griffith (R-VA) introduced S.618 , which would amend the Firearm Owners Protection Act of 1986 to clarify key provisions in the law. According to a statement released on Hatch’s website, the bill will prevent anyone with a gun, ammunition, or magazines from falling outside of the law simply by passing through.
“This bill safeguards our Second Amendment rights by strengthening federal protections for responsible gun owners travelling across state lines,” Hatch said. “By amending the Firearms Owners’ Protection Act of 1986, this commonsense proposal puts an end to the harassment of upstanding citizens who happen to stay overnight, fuel up, or stop for an emergency during their travels in another state.”
“I believe it is important to defend the Second Amendment right of law-abiding gun owners,” said Griffith. “Current federal law or the Second Amendment of the Constitution should neither be misinterpreted nor ignored to prevent law-abiding, responsible gun owners from traveling throughout the country with firearms so long as they are in compliance with federal law while in transit.”
The bill already has the support of multiple Republican senators such as James Lankford (R-OK), Steve Daines (R-MT), Ted Cruz (R-TX), John Cornyn (R-TX), and Mike Rounds (R-SD). The bill also being supported by the National Rifle Association.
“This legislation will restore the intent of Congress to protect law-abiding Americans who exercise their fundamental Second Amendment rights when they travel,” said Chris W. Cox, executive director of the National Rifle Association’s Institute for Legislative Action.
Senator Hatch and Representative Griffith’s bill addresses a critical gap in all Americans’ abilities to exercise their Second Amendment rights and participate in hunting and shooting sports across state lines,” said Lawrence Keane, senior vice president of the National Shooting Sports Foundation, who also supports the bill.
This bill should give rest to those whose professions include constant travel such as truck drivers, and should also put at ease any gun owner has about being harassed by police in states they do not live in.
Guns.com lists two such instances where gun owners have had to face problems due to simply being a gun owner in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Gun owners often find themselves in a Catch-22 while traveling with their firearms. In one case, a man relocating from Texas to Maine stopped for a nap in a New Jersey parking lot and woke up to an arrest after authorities in the Garden State searched his vehicle and found his gun collection. Another incident saw a man traveling from Florida to New Jersey who was detained in Maryland for nearly an hour even though he had no firearm in the vehicle when police there pinged his driver’s license and found that he had a concealed carry permit.