When Republicans controlled both chambers of Congress and the White House–you know, just a matter of a few months ago now–there was one bill above all others I really thought we’d see passed. National reciprocity would have opened the door for a lot of people. It would require carry permits to be recognized just like drivers licenses or even marriage licenses.
It didn’t happen.
There are a lot of people who don’t see what the big deal is. After all, they either don’t travel much or, if they do, they don’t travel while armed. They don’t see the big deal with leaving one’s firearm at home locked up when they visit a state like California.
For some people, though, that’s not much of an option.
Thousands of truck drivers are breaking the law by carrying firearms across state lines, but is the problem the truck driver or the laws?
“It’s dangerous out there. You never can tell,” said Cliff Brown, a truck driver from Florida.
“You get these young guys who want to see if a truck driver’s got money on them,” said Patrick Kent, a truck driver from Louisiana. “They want it; they’re going to come in and try and get it.”
Of the 3.5 million class-eight truck drivers that the American Trucking Association says are on the road, a good number of them are like Brown.
“I have a concealed carry from Florida,” said Brown.
It’s legal for him to carry his handgun in Florida, but not in California, New York or a dozen other states. If his permit were from Ohio, he couldn’t drive in Minnesota or Illinois or 10 other states legally. Indiana drivers can’t legally go with their concealed weapons to 18 states. Kentucky drivers can’t legally go to 13 states, including Maryland.
Brown says he carries a 9mm handgun because he needs to protect himself, especially at night.
And the trucks keep streaming in to the Lebanon truck stop. It’s tough to find a parking spot at night time, certainly. But even during the day, most spots are filled up. It leaves truck drivers no choice but to park in places that just aren’t safe.
Let’s also remember that truckers are carrying valuable cargo. Oh, the individual item might be cheap as hell, but when you’re looking at thousands upon thousands of those items, it’s not hard to imagine them being the target of thieves not based on what’s in their wallet, but what’s in their trailers.
They have a right to protect themselves. While I wouldn’t want them randomly shooting people trying to break into the trailers, that’s far from the extent of the theft possibilities they face. Some would kill them for the cargo and the truck itself–those rigs aren’t exactly inexpensive. They’re going to face threats, threats the ordinary citizen will likely never face.
Now, I’m not saying this is common. It’s probably not. But neither is a truck catching on fire, yet every rig I’ve been in has a fire extinguisher.
National reciprocity would solve a lot of these men and women’s issues. Too bad Congress didn’t act when there was a chance of it actually passing.