Federal law is supposed to protect people who are traveling with a firearm. If the gun is legal where you’re from and legal where you’re going, you’re supposed to be good to go along the whole of your trip.
However, the problem is that the law doesn’t explicitly mention stops along the way, and that’s landed a number of law-abiding gun owners in hot water, especially in New Jersey.
Realistically, anyone knows that you’re not going to drive from Florida to California without stopping along the way or anything, so a reasonable person would figure that the law should also cover stops along the way. Reasonable people don’t include attorneys, though.
Now, a bill in the Senate seeks to fix this problem.
Senator Steve Daines of Montana, along with co-sponsors Senators James Lankford, Mike Rounds, Mike Crapo, and Ted Cruz, have introduced Senate Bill 3139: Lawful Interstate Transportation of Firearms Act. The bill would “amend chapter 44 of title 18, United States Code, to more comprehensively address the interstate transportation of firearms or ammunition.”
Currently, you are only protected while traveling from a place you may lawfully possess the firearm, to a place you may possess. Stops along the way aren’t “travel,” and if you’re headed to New York as was last month’s delivery man, you’re out of luck.
SB 3139 fixes that. (Amusingly, the bill appears to have been filed six days after my column was published. Do I have readers in the Senate?)
Frankly, I suspect a number of Senate staffers, if not Senators themselves, read sites like Bearing Arms and The Truth About Guns. Regardless of how they came up with the idea, though, it’s a good thing to see.
The problem, however, is that I don’t see it passing with the House of Representatives made up as it currently is. Democrats in the House are going to manufacture a thousand reasons why this is a horrible bill and should never pass, even if every one of those reasons amounts to male bovine excrement.
The upside, however, is that Democrats won’t hold the House indefinitely. Plus, if people are as angry about the stupidity of the impeachment thing as it looks like, they may well not hold it after November. Once that change happens, then perhaps we can see about injecting some rationality into federal law on this matter.
The truth is, we need this. Good, law-abiding people are getting jammed up because they stopped for gas in the wrong state. That’s something no one should have to deal with and this bill seeks to take care of that.
If House Democrats have the least bit of rationality within them, even they would see that this bill doesn’t really do anything except protect law-abiding citizens from wrongful prosecution. No one should have to deal with what some of these folks have.
It’s just too bad that House Democrats don’t really care.