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house Bill H.R. 131

Should Gun Owners Transporting Firearms Be Protected From Local Laws If They Follow Federal Law?

Argument in favor

As long as they properly secure their weapon(s), law abiding gun owners should have basic protections from law enforcement when traveling with guns between states into areas where they may be unfamiliar with local laws on possessing firearms

Kathie's Opinion
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03/10/2015
First of all, the states that don't allow their citizens to carry firearms are in violation of the Constitution, so to make the argument that a person that lives in a state that does allow their citizens to hold and carry firearms needs to follow the UNCONSTITUTIONAL laws of the states that won't allow their citizens to have guns to protect themselves is just plain trying to confuse the issue in the minds of people who can't think for themselves.
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10/08/2015
The 10th amendment is very clear in what powers are invest to the states and people. So this why Constitutional Law, not federal, supersedes state/local laws in this matter.
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Patriot's Opinion
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03/04/2015
There is such a patchwork of variables in the laws governing carrying a weapon when traveling through the states, that you can be a law-abiding citizen in one state, and a felon in the next. The laws need to be the same for all states.
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Argument opposed

It's the responsibility of the traveling gun owner to be familiar with local laws and obey them in areas where they travel. This bill undermines state and local power by not allowing them to regulate weapons in their communities.

Larry's Opinion
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08/24/2015
Congress has stated on many occasions that states should be able to regulate themselves. Citizens need to be aware of the laws for areas they travel in.
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Michael's Opinion
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08/20/2015
I don't get to claim ignorance of laws in any other aspect of my travels. Why are firearms so special? They aren't. If you wanna travel with your gun, be responsible and be familiar with the laws.
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Scott's Opinion
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08/06/2015
Federal laws, state laws. Make the most restrictive law apply.
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What is House Bill H.R. 131?

Under current law, the federal government guarantees the right to carry guns and ammunition between two locations where people are legally allowed to possess them — so long as the guns are unloaded, locked, and secured.


H.R. 131 would maintain that requirement — mandating that firearms and ammunition traveling across state lines be in a locked container or (in the case of firearms) secured by a gun safety device. However, the real meat of this bill protects gun owners on their travels from arrest or detention if their possession/transportation of a firearm violates a state or local law. Well, they are protected from local laws UNLESS there is a reasonable suspicion to believe that person isn’t complying with federal law. 


Violations of H.R. 131 would include transporting a weapon or ammunition with the intention of committing a crime of threat or force punishable by more than one year imprisonment. Also included, is reasonable suspicion that such a crime would be committed in the course of the transportation, or would arise from the transportation.

This bill would also enable an individual to file a civil action suit (including attorney fees) against state and local laws using their compliance with federal law as a defense. This places the burden of proving there was a violation of federal law squarely on the shoulders of the local prosecution.

Impact

Owners of guns and ammunition who travel with them between states, state and local law enforcement, pro and anti-gun activists, defense attorneys and prosecutors in cases involving interstate transport of weapons that comply with this law.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 131

A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.

More Information

In-Depth:

Supporters of this bill find that this legislation is necessary to protect the rights of gun owners. They contend that the right to bear arms is jeopardized when state and local governments enact stringent gun laws banning weapons and ammunitions that are legal in other areas — leading in some cases to confiscation or criminal charges. 


Many states have reciprocity agreements with other states, recognizing each others gun laws as legal.


Media:

Sponsoring Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-NC) Press Release (Previous version)

NRA - Institute for Legislative Action (In Favor)

Personal Liberty (In Favor)

Washington Post (Context)

NRA Guide to Interstate Weapons Transportation

(Photo Credit: Flickr user Curtis Gregory Perry)

Official Title

To amend chapter 44 of title 18, United States Code, to more comprehensively address the interstate transportation of firearms or ammunition.

bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
  • The house has not voted
      house Committees
      Committee on the Judiciary
      Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security
    IntroducedJanuary 6th, 2015
    First of all, the states that don't allow their citizens to carry firearms are in violation of the Constitution, so to make the argument that a person that lives in a state that does allow their citizens to hold and carry firearms needs to follow the UNCONSTITUTIONAL laws of the states that won't allow their citizens to have guns to protect themselves is just plain trying to confuse the issue in the minds of people who can't think for themselves.
    Like (14)
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    The 10th amendment is very clear in what powers are invest to the states and people. So this why Constitutional Law, not federal, supersedes state/local laws in this matter.
    Like (4)
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    There is such a patchwork of variables in the laws governing carrying a weapon when traveling through the states, that you can be a law-abiding citizen in one state, and a felon in the next. The laws need to be the same for all states.
    Like (3)
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    Congress has stated on many occasions that states should be able to regulate themselves. Citizens need to be aware of the laws for areas they travel in.
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    I don't get to claim ignorance of laws in any other aspect of my travels. Why are firearms so special? They aren't. If you wanna travel with your gun, be responsible and be familiar with the laws.
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    It is impossible to know every communities laws when passing through to another location. Law abiding citizens would become criminals through no fault of their own. All laws restricting gun ownership and possession violate the 2nd amendment which was written, not so that we could go target shooting, but so that we might defend ourselves against the tyrants that wish to take our constitutional rights away.
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    You shouldn't be punished for traveling through a state with a weapon.....read the constitution. Shall not be infringed!
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    If a gun owner is just transporting a weapon to another state in their trunk, they shouldn't get punished by it, just because the person had to drive through a state to get to their destination. If they have not broken any federal law, they should be protected.
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    Too many states are trying to make criminals out of law abiding citizens by way of a constitutionally protected right.
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    Again the opposing argument if illiterate, ignorant and stupid because they fail to recognize the Constitutional second amendment. It is my belief that no state has the right to punish an individual crossing their boarders and being in possession of a firearm. I am also of the opinion that I should not have to secure my firearm in an out of the way place that makes it impossible for me to access it for my self-defense. I wish these legislators would read the Constitution, learn it in context and also to read the other materials the founding fathers generated making the Constitution explicitly clear. I also believe states overstep their Constitutional bounds regarding this issue. This bill must pass, but it needs serious revision, however I will take the crumbs that fall. This simply demonstrates how congress holds great contempt for the American people. It seems as if they are totally incapable or rationalizing that criminals don't give a s--t about what laws are passed--they are criminals. I have yet to hear of or note any data revealing illegal activities committed by law abiding citizens who possess firearms.
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    It is the Second Amendment and has been the Law for 200 years.
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    Federal laws, state laws. Make the most restrictive law apply.
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    Local conditions should be respected by gun owners
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    Some people are arguing that since ignorance is no defense when breaking a law, and that firearms are not special, why should this topic be treated differently. Well very simple. Firearms actually are special. How? They are protected by CONSTITUTIONAL LAW. Constitutional law trumps state and even federal law. Individual state laws are so convoluted and different even from one city to the next. It makes things impossible for a law abiding gun owner to exercise his protected 2nd amendment rights to travel with their firearms. This is the key difference, and the constitution trumps your argument, whether you like it or not.
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    agree
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    Lets try to keep things simple
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    If gun owners are traveling it's up to them to know the laws of the state they are traveling in. It's time for Americans to start accepting responsibility and stop expecting the government to coddle them.
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    States and localities should have the flexibility to enact regulations specific to their situations.
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    As long as there is undeniable proof of actual transportation, then it makes perfect sense to protect people from the hundreds of different jurisdictions they will pass through. No sane person would believe that anyone could reliably follow every law everywhere.
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    As long as the federal law makes sense
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