Across the great expanse of these United States, every citizen can expect to enjoy nearly every American right no matter what state he or she may be in. If you’re a New Yorker visiting Las Vegas, you’ll retain your First Amendment rights to freedom of speech and freedom of religion (you’re probably going to need the latter). If you’re an Oregonian vacationing in Florida, you’ll retain the right to a trial by jury.
If you’re traveling to Tennessee from Arizona and for some incomprehensible reason have taken a detour through South Dakota, you’ll still possess the right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures by South Dakotan state trooper. Thanks to the incorporative powers of the Fourteenth Amendment, the Bill of Rights is not merely a national-level package but an inter- and intrastate one as well.
There is precisely one right from the Bill of Rights that is not guaranteed for interstate travelers: the right to keep and bear arms.
A Patchwork of Confusing Reciprocity Laws
In two of its most masterful and commendable decisions to date, the Supreme Court held that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to keep and bear arms for personal self-defense, one that may not be infringed either by the federal government (2008’s D.C. v. Heller) or by the states (2010’s McDonald v. Chicago). As good as these rulings were, however, they nonetheless left unanswered a significant question of American firearm jurisprudence: how do you adjudicate state-level concealed-carry reciprocity?
In layman’s terms: how does each individual state deal with out-of-state concealed-carry permits? If someone visits State B with a concealed handgun permit from State A, does State B honor it?