Friday, Congressman Mo Brooks (AL-05) and 13 original cosponsors introduced the Lawful Interstate Transportation of Firearms Act, a simple, 5-page bill.
Original cosponsors: Congressman Brian Babin (TX-36), Congressman Steve Watkins (KS-02), Congressman Steve King (IA-04), Congressman Matt Gaetz (FL-01), Congressman Bradley Byrne (AL-01), Congressman Greg Gianforte (MT-AL), Congressman Jeff Duncan (SC-03), Congressman Ted Yoho (FL-03), Congressman Paul Gosar (AZ-04), Congressman Doug Lamborn (CO-05), Congressman Jody Hice (GA-10), Congressman Ralph Norman (SC-05), and Congressman Doug LaMalfa (CA-01).
What does this bill do? The Lawful Interstate Transportation of Firearms Act would expand the Firearms Owners’ Protection Act (FOPA) “transport” definition to include “staying in temporary lodging, stopping for food, fuel, vehicle maintenance, an emergency, medical treatment, or any other activity incidental to the transport.” Further, the bill clarifies that the ability to transport a firearm also applies to ammunition and detachable magazines, which are essential to the function and purpose of a firearm.
Why is this bill necessary? Currently, FOPA prohibits state prosecution of persons traveling from one place to another for any state firearms offense if the traveler is merely passing through on the way to their destination as long as the firearm is transported in a locked container other than the vehicle glove compartment or console.
Despite FOPA protections, a disturbing trend has emerged wherein anti-Second Amendment states and localities increasingly seek to criminalize the possession of a firearm or ammunition. These freedom-hating jurisdictions continue to seek ways to prosecute travelers merely for the possession of an otherwise lawful firearm. This bill seeks to safeguard otherwise law-abiding gun owners traveling the country from overcriminalization by anti-Second Amendment states and localities.
Congressman Brooks said, “‘The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed’ means that Americans do not relinquish their Second Amendment Rights by simply traveling across state lines. All Americans have the constitutional right to self-defense whether they are at home or traveling. My bill, the Lawful Interstate Transportation of Firearms Act, would bar freedom-hating, anti-Second Amendment states and localities from prosecuting firearm-transporting travelers who are passing through on the way to their destination who engage in travel-related activities.”
Notably, influential Second Amendment Rights protection group Gun Owners of America (GOA) has endorsed the Lawful Interstate Transportation of Firearms Act.
“Malicious state laws unconstitutionally criminalize what would otherwise be considered law-abiding activity for the explicit purposes of making gun ownership, possession, and transportation more difficult,” said Aidan Johnston, GOA’s Director of Federal Affairs. “The Lawful Interstate Transportation of Firearms Act compliments the Second Amendment in its mission to protect Americans from governmental infringement on the right to keep and bear arms.”
“I hope every member of Congress supports this simple legislation that protects gun owners while they travel,” Johnston concluded.