Legislation to Protect the Legal Transport of Firearms Introduced

By BearingArms.com Staff

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Pro-gun members of Congress have introduced legislation to protect travelers who are transporting firearms interstate for lawful purposes.

The first such bill was H.R. 358, filed by Rep. H. Morgan Griffith (R-VA) and 38 cosponsors in February. Joining him this week was Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT), who introduced S.618 on Tuesday.

Unlike pending national reciprocity bills, this legislation deals specifically with transporting unloaded firearms, rather than for carry on one’s person en route.

Both bills would reform important provisions of the Firearm Owners Protection Act (FOPA) intended to protect the right of law-abiding gun owners to transport firearms throughout our nation. Yet in the years since its enactment, this law has too often been ignored by anti-gun local officials and effectively gutted by the courts. H.R. 358 and S. 618 would rewrite the law to implement the outcome Congress intended when it was passed more than 25 years ago.

FOPA’s safe transport provisions (codified at 18 U.S.C. § 926A) guarantee the right of a law-abiding person to transport an unloaded firearm between two locations where he or she may legally possess it, regardless of state or local laws along the route of travel that would otherwise prohibit such conduct. Under the current law, the gun must be cased or otherwise not readily accessible.

Most states have never had a problem with this law. However, both before and after enactment of FOPA, gun owners have had serious problems lawfully traveling in two states in particular: New York (especially New York City) and New Jersey. Rather than recognize Congressional intent to protect the rights of Americans traveling with legally owned firearms, these jurisdictions have used overly restrictive state licensing laws to harass and persecute nonresident gun owners.

For example: