05.16.19

Rounds Introduces Constitutional Carry States’ Rights Act

Bill would close loopholes for individuals who carry a concealed handgun when Constitutional carry law takes effect in South Dakota July 1, 2019

WASHINGTON—U.S. Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) today introduced the Constitutional Carry States’ Rights Act that would close a loophole in the Gun-Free School Zones Act to give law-abiding citizens in states with Constitutional carry laws the same legal authority to possess a firearm as individuals in states that require a permit to carry a concealed weapon.

Recognizing that the Second Amendment does not abide restriction of gun rights for law-abiding citizens, Constitutional carry laws allow individuals to carry a concealed weapon without a license or permit.  Earlier this year, South Dakota enacted Constitutional carry legislation, which takes effect July 1, 2019.

“In South Dakota, we greatly value our right to bear arms,” said Rounds. “This legislation would close federal loopholes in the Gun-Free School Zones Act to make certain South Dakotans who choose to exercise their Second Amendment Right are treated the same as those who possess concealed handguns with a permit. I look forward to working with my colleagues to advance this commonsense legislation and continue protecting our right to bear arms.”

BACKGROUND:

Enacted in 1990, the Gun-Free School Zones Act makes it a federal crime to possess a firearm within 1000 feet of a school zone, with exceptions for law enforcement, school-sanctioned activities and individuals licensed by the state to possess a firearm, such as an individual with a concealed carry permit. Current federal law only makes exceptions if the individual is “licensed to do so by the State in which the school zone is located.” The state must also verify the individual is eligible prior to issuing a license. Because of this specific requirement of state licensure, lawful individuals in states with Constitutional carry laws are not included in the exemption because they are able to carry without a specific state permit.

Further, the current exemption does not apply to out-of-state individuals lawfully carrying a concealed weapon because the exemption is limited to people licensed in the state where the school zone is located. 

Rounds’ legislation would close both of these loopholes. This would, in essence, return the federal law to what was in place before Constitutional carry was enacted in South Dakota and extend additional protections to law-abiding gun owners nationwide.

Original cosponsors of the Constitutional Carry States’ Rights Act include Sens. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Mike Braun (R-Ind.), Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) and Mike Lee (R-Utah).

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