TOPEKA – (November 22, 2019) – Extreme restrictions by other states on the recognition of out-of-state concealed carry licenses unconstitutionally deprive Kansas travelers of their Second Amendment rights, Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt told the U.S. Supreme Court in two legal briefs filed in the past week.
“Kansans do not lose their constitutional rights when they make the decision to travel across our country,” Schmidt said. “The Second Amendment right to bear arms, like the freedom of speech or the freedom to exercise one’s religion, doesn’t stop at the border of certain states. Our fundamental rights belong to all Americans, and we are asking the Supreme Court to make that clear.”
Kansas concealed carry permits are currently recognized as valid by 39 other states. However, in Illinois, Maryland and eight other states, Kansans with valid concealed carry permits are prohibited from exercising their Second Amendment right to self-defense by carrying a concealed firearm in public spaces.
In a legal brief filed this week, Schmidt and 20 other state attorneys general asked the U.S. Supreme Court to reconsider a ruling by the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upholding a Maryland statute that effectively prohibits carrying a concealed firearm in public spaces in Maryland. Maryland is one of a handful of states that has enacted a “good cause” licensing system, which places the burden on the citizen to demonstrate a “good and substantial reason” to obtain a permit for carrying a handgun outside of the home. Kansas and 39 other states have in place a “shall issue” licensing system that generally grants concealed carry licenses to all law-abiding citizens who can show reasonable proficiency with a firearm. Maryland’s “good cause” licensing scheme makes it impossible for “shall issue” state, like Kansas, to have their licenses recognized in Maryland.
Schmidt also joined 18 other state attorneys general last week in asking the U.S. Supreme Court to reconsider a ruling by the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upholding an even more-restrictive Illinois statute that categorically prohibits residents of Kansas and 44 other states from carrying concealed firearms in public spaces in Illinois. Current Illinois law recognizes only concealed carry permits issued by Illinois, and out-of-state residents are allowed to apply for an Illinois permit only if the laws in their state of residence are considered “substantially similar” to Illinois’. But the determination whether another state’s law is “substantially similar” – and, thus, whether another state’s residents may apply for an Illinois permit – is made exclusively by the Illinois State Police with no avenue for that determination to be challenged. At this time, only four states — not including Kansas — qualify.
Although Kansas concealed carry permit holders are effectively prohibited from publicly carrying firearms in Illinois and Maryland, Kansas generally allows residents of those states who are at least 21 years of age and not otherwise prohibited from possessing firearms to carry firearms in public spaces when they are in Kansas.
The two briefs argue the 4th and 7th Circuit Courts have erred in upholding state laws depriving residents of Kansas and other states of their Second Amendment rights when they cross the border into Maryland and Illinois. The attorneys general are asking the Supreme Court to provide clarity on the issue, as other circuit courts have concluded the Second Amendment right to self-defense extends beyond the home and therefore prohibits laws such as the ones at issue in these cases.
A copy of the states’ brief filed in the Maryland case, Malpasso v. Pallozzi, No. 19-423, is available at https://bit.ly/2pIWtNB. A copy of the states’ brief filed in the Illinois case, Culp v. Raoul, No. 19-487, is available at https://bit.ly/2KKBqkN.