Senators aim to protect concealed firearms rights

The Plains Valley Press

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – Montana's U.S. Senators have signed on to bipartisan legislation to allow law-abiding Americans with concealed weapon permits to carry their firearms in states that have their own concealed weapon permits.

Each state has its own regulations regarding concealed weapons. So Senators Max Baucus and Jon Tester, both staunch gun rights advocates, cosponsored an amendment that would require all states to honor concealed weapon permits issued by other states.

If passed, a Montanan with a concealed weapon permit would not have to leave his firearm behind if traveling to a state with a concealed weapon law.

"Montanans who have concealed weapon permits shouldn't have their basic Second Amendment rights limited just because they travel across state lines," Baucus said. "Jon and I are proud to cosponsor this legislation because it expands gun rights for folks who follow the law."

"This is a common-sense measure aimed at protecting our gun rights," said Tester, Vice Chairman of the Congressional Sportsmen's Caucus. "I look forward to voting for this amendment because the same rights are guaranteed by our Constitution to all law-abiding Americans, no matter where they live."

The gun amendment Baucus and Tester are cosponsoring was originally introduced by Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., as S. 845, the Respecting States Rights and Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2009. The Senate is expected to vote on the measure this week.

The legislation does not allow concealed weapon permit-holders to carry firearms into other states' police stations, jails, courthouses, airports, polling places, government meeting places, schools, athletic events, or places where alcohol is consumed—unless it is allowed by that state's law.

Earlier this year, Baucus and Tester successfully got the U.S. Attorney General to back off any plans to reinstate the national' ban on assault weapons. They also got the Pentagon to sell spent military ammunition brass, which can be used for "repurposed" ammunition.

Last year, Tester was a lead signer of a friend-of-the-court brief in favor of gun rights in the landmark District of Columbia v. Heller U.S. Supreme Court decision. The high court's decision overturned Wash-ington, D.C.'s, longstanding ban on firearms.