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In the ongoing debate around the National Reciprocity bills moving in Congress, many of the proponents for gun rights attempt to draw an analogy between concealed carry permit and drivers licenses. Is this valid?

By valid, would the current versions of the bill make driving and carrying procedures equal? Is there a bare minimum for drivers licenses, either through regulations or back doored via requirements placed on funding, established by the federal government? Could the same be said for carrying?

closed as primarily opinion-based by user1530, JonathanReez, bytebuster, user 1, Noah Dec 13 '17 at 17:07

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    Interesting question because driving is widely considered a privilege while carrying isn't by a lot of people. – user3528438 Dec 8 '17 at 3:19
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    @user3528438 That would be a second order consideration, and much more abstract than the current scope of the question. – Drunk Cynic Dec 8 '17 at 3:21
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    The current version of the bill requires a photo ID and either a concealed carry permit or that you reside in a state where concealed carry is allowed without a permit. It does not require that the concealed carry permit itself has a photo. So even a flimsy handwritten paper permit (like mine) would have to be honored. I don't know about the rest of your question... it seems like you're asking a very subjective opinion on analogousness. – Joe Dec 8 '17 at 3:30
  • related especially the deleted answer. – user9389 Dec 8 '17 at 21:04
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Summary: You could argue that Article IV, Section 1 of the Constitution provides concealed carry permits the same protection as driver's licenses.

I'm not sure this answers your question, but Article IV, Section 1 of the United States Constitution states:

Full Faith and Credit shall be given in each State to the public Acts, Records, and judicial Proceedings of every other State. And the Congress may by general Laws prescribe the Manner in which such Acts, Records and Proceedings shall be proved, and the Effect thereof.

This is generally read to mean each State must honor other States' marriage licenses, birth certificates, and driver's licenses, for example.

However, the last sentence allows Congress to decide to what extent these official acts must be honored. For example, the Defense of Marriage Act explicitly says that one State need not recognize another State's homosexual marriages. The Act was later found unConstitutional by the Supreme Court, but serves as a somewhat famous recent example.

You could argue that, since there Congress has passed no laws restricting the recognition of concealed carried permits, reciprocity already exists. However, I don't know the legal status of this argument.

Note: some people incorrectly believe that states must recognize each others driver's licenses because of the Driver's License Compact. However, this compact is actually slightly different, and not all 50 States have signed it. Despite this, all 50 states must recognize each others' driver's licenses.

  • Recommend past tensing DOMA. – Drunk Cynic Dec 8 '17 at 5:14
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    @DrunkCynic Done-- I actually knew that already, but figured it was a good "famous" example – barrycarter Dec 8 '17 at 5:18
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  1. In theory yes. The Federal Government can create laws related to the cooperation of two states and the transportation of people and materials over their boarders (Interstate Commerce Clause) so they can set the law. The Full Faith and Credit Clause means that all states must respect legal documentation of the other states.

  2. There is no laws governing non-comercial driver's lisences at the Federal level though commercial lisencees must be at least 21 per federal law. Similarly, the issuing of conceal carry permits is not federally mandated beyond background check rules. At contention is the division of "Shall issue" and "May issue" states. Shall Issue means that, if you meet all requirements then there is nothing stopping you from getting the Conceal Carry Permit. May Issue means that if you meet all the requirements, the State does not have to issue the permit. Should the proposed law pass, it would give an advantage to Shall Issue gun permits and would push the threshold of encroachment on the May Issue states. These definitions do not speak to the ease of getting a permit under shall verses may, but the trend tends to be May Issue states will make it more difficult to obtain one. Arizona offers its citizen conceal carry as a default right and requires no permit.

At present there have been cases where a motorist from a state with easy access to conceal carry permits are pulled over while driving in states with difficulty in obtaining access to permits for minor infractions. Follow proper training, the motorists informs the officer that they are a permitted in that state and that they do have a weapon in the car (this is so the officer is aware of the situation and does not overreact to seeing the concealed weapon hidden) and offers the required documentation and is arrested because they are not permitted by the state they are presently in. At least one case has made it to the process of getting heard by the Supreme court but was rejected by the court from being heard, so the legality of the issue has not been tested and there are no laws saying the states can or cannot do this.

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In the ongoing debate around the National Reciprocity bills moving in Congress, many of the proponents for gun rights attempt to draw an analogy between concealed carry permit and drivers licenses. Is this valid?

It's unquestionably a valid analogy in terms of legal structure. Article IV, Section 1 of the constitution (the Full Faith and Credit Clause) requires that states recognize each other's judicial acts and, among other things, licenses. However Congress has full power to regulate this. Hence, a hunting license is not reciprocated, but a driver's license is.

It's of questionable analogy because it presumes a value, because there is a clear and obvious harm to having every state require its own license to drive. Opponents of reciprocity of concealed carry don't wish to concede that the same harm applies. They claim it disrupts state's abilities to control who has a concealed permit in their state, and question the value of cross-state concealed carry.

Obviously, this disagreement in analogy is really about which side people fall on the debate.

By valid, would the current versions of the bill make driving and carrying procedures equal?

In what way? The only way this bill makes driving and carrying procedures equal is that one state could issue a document that grants a nationwide privilege.

I suppose there are a couple of other analogs:

  • You will have to obey the laws related to concealed carry in the state you are in, not just like the driving laws. This may cause issues if, e.g. concealed carry permit owners have restrictions (e.g. near schools) visitors are unaware of. All reciprocity means is that a state has to treat holders of other state's concealed carry permit the same as they treat their own.
  • People may have privileges in a state that they would not qualify for if they were a citizen of that state (for instance, State A may allow driving at 16 or concealed carry at 18, and State B may not allow driving til 17 or concealed carry until 21. In that case, citizens of State A can still drive in State B, even if 16).

Is there a bare minimum for drivers licenses, either through regulations or back doored via requirements placed on funding, established by the federal government?

Yes. The RealID act has requirements in terms of biometric identification and gathering for such an ID to be considered acceptable for TSA (flying) and other uses. Other requirements probably exist or can be added by tying it to highway funding (which is highly related to the 21-year-old drinking age and the radically different licenses that under-21 drivers receive).

Could the same be said for carrying?

You probably mean, "Could the same be done for carrying". Probably. The Full Faith and Credit clause lets Congress decide what is required for a document to be reciprocated. An example is gay marriage, which at one point was considered a marriage in Mass. but not in other states. Other state's weren't required to recognize that marriage. Congress could similarly say a concealed carry permit that is reciprocal requires X, Y, Z. A state could issue other permits, but they would not be reciprocal.

It's also possible that Congress could attach limitations to funding to try to generate minimum standards. However, the S.C. has said that the funding has to be related to the restrictions (see also, their recent decision over funding to Sanctuary Cities and the inability to cut off funding). Hence, Congress could allocate, maybe funds for policing that are contingent on concealed carry permit requirements. Or that may be too far afield.

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