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Interstate truckers are prime targets for violent crime. They schlep cargos worth millions of dollars: cigarettes, electronics, designer gear—if it wasn’t worth money they wouldn’t be trucking it. Drivers also carry large amounts of cash. They get paid in cash and they pay for their fuel in cash. Interstate truckers also frequent truck stops. Places where drugs and prostitution and the not-so-nice people who provide them routinely reside. Truckers are also road rage magnets. And then there’s terrorism. Imagine what a suicide bomber could do with 5000 gallons of gas. We’ll get back to that. First, consider the idea that if anyone needs a National Reciprocity law it’s interstate truckers. Well kinda . . .

Interstate truckers are free to pack heat in any state where they possess a concealed carry license. In Illinois, no es possible (for truckers or anyone else). Some states (e.g. new Jersey, New York, California) are about as likely to issue an out-of-state carry permit to a non-resident trucker as Aurelie Claudel is to enter the Indy 500.

If a trucker has a carry license, he or she can keep a firearm in their truck whilst traveling through any U.S. state under the Safe Passage Provision of the Firearm Owners Protection Act. But they can only do so as long as the firearm is unloaded, locked-up and not immediately available. Further, truckers are only good to FOPA stow if they make short stops [note to Ralph: no Pee Wee Reese jokes].

Not very practical. In fact, you might even say that that the carry restrictions limiting truckers Second Amendment rights are a violation of the Interstate Commerce Clause, as truckers ARE interstate commerce. Well that’s what Erik Royce [above] argues. Furthermore, he reckons the feds could carve out a special exemption for truckers under the ICC so they could conceal carry across state lines.

Royce would like to see a concealed carry amendment to “Jason’s Law,” a bill named after murdered trucker Jason Rivenburg. That effort is designed to “improve conditions” for interstate truckers by creating “new or expanded secure truck rest areas, some of them adjacent to commercial truck stops and travel plazas.”

“Rivenburg needed a way to defend his life,” Royce asserts.

Royce knows that his and his fellow truckers best hope for concealed carry is a national reciprocity bill for all Americans. But he insists that interstate truckers need it now, especially with the possibility of terrorism lurking in the background.

“After 911, the government set-up all these requirements for truckers carrying hazardous materials. You need a HAZMAT certification and a TWIC (Transport Worker Identification Credentials) to enter secure areas inside ports. Truckers are fingerprinted. They do a criminal background check . . .

“They trust us with potentially deadly cargos but they don’t trust us with a gun? . . . All it takes is some guy to hit you over the head and take your truck and they’ve got a weapon of mass destruction.”

Royce will be updating us on his crusade to restore truckers’ Constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms. Meanwhile, he has a message for gun control advocates: who do you think you’re protecting?

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  1. If he’s talking about national CCW reciprocity in general, I’m all for that. But there’s a myth out there regarding truck drivers and CCW. A couple of passages in the article seem to imply there’s some sort of federal CCW prohibition that applies to commercial vehicle drivers. If that’s the implication, it is incorrect. There is no federal law or regulation that prohibits interstate truckers from carrying firearms. NONE. Any restrictions come from the individual states the driver happens to operate in, or just as likely, trucking company policies that prohibit drivers from carrying.

    • I retired from wisc dot and have been driving Class A CDL for part time 8 years and it is up to the States if they want a reciprocity law in effect with other states.

      We are granted reciprocity rights in most states, EXCEPT, ILL, NJ and of course NY and Comiforinora.

  2. Add to that the fact that many OTR (over-the-road) drivers spend weeks at a time in their tractor. They sleep there, eat many of their meals there, etc. Most of the things you and I do in our homes, they’re doing in that tractor.
    I think a pretty solid argument could, and should be made for considering the tractor an abode, thereby absolving the driver of the need of a permit in most states.
    Wouldn’t help him or her the moment they jumped out of the cab, of course, but it would at least enable the driver to have a handgun legally in their possession in almost all of the lower 48.

    • I like this train of thought. While I support a national right to carry, this may be more palatible to fence post politicians in the short term, and as such, may have a stronger chance of adoption.

  3. As the son of a truck driver and having been a truck driver in years gone by and as the father of a truck driver I say yes to truckers being able to carry. All citizens should be able to carry nationwide regardless of their professions. After all, regardless of your zip code you’re still an American.

  4. Imagine what a suicide bomber could do with 5000 gallons of gas.

    Uh, start a big fire. Maybe. Other than that, not much, unless Mr. Durka has an effective method of rendering said gas an aerosol (read: Lots and lots of explosives), or the “gas” is diesel and said terrorist happens to have a few hundred thousand pounds of fertilizer.

    • As Mr. Lion was saying, gasoline and diesel fuel are not very useful as explosives, because they require a rather narrow range of air/fuel mixture to burn quickly. It is hard to get that proper mixture inside a tank.

      However, both fuels are excellent ‘accellerants’. If you can set off an explosion that spreads A LOT OF fuel all over the place, then you will have a very big and very hot fire. A fire department’s worst nightmare.

      The twin towers of the World Trade Center were not brought down by collisions with 747 airplanes. Their metal collums were weakened and failed due to the heat of large jet-fuel fires.

  5. Truckers like old Stage Coach driver could just carry a 12 gauge shot gun.
    Might not be as good as a 1911, but no permit is required, (i think)

  6. As long as everyone gets national reciprocity, I’m in favor. Now, can we get the truckers to stay out of the left lane, especially when going up hill?

  7. Pained as it is to state, national reciprocity will not happen.

    No, im not referring to the political aspect-so long as the right people are in Washington legislation for national CCW will happen. The problem are the millions of people and their representatives in anti-gun states. They will not just lie down and say “woe is us, now we must accept the 2nd Amendment if Washington says so.”

    States like California and Illinois will simply declare national CCW reciprocity to be an “affirmative defense”. Meaning a trucker or visitor who carries under such a law would be initially jailed with their gun being confiscated , and released at their court date after asserting national ccw as their defense from the local gun charges. For a real life example of the “affirmative defense” policy in action look at New Jersey/New York state and the FOPA.

    • Actually, Illinois wouldn’t even have to do that. All the National Reciprocity bill does is force all states to recognize all other states’ carry permits. Illinois just has to keep on doing what they’ve been doing and they’ll be exempt by default.

      Unless the bill has changed substantially since I last read it, Illinois doesn’t have to accept anybody else’s carry permits because they don’t issue permits themselves (therefore completely ignoring the core concept of *reciprocity*).

    • “The problem are the millions of people and their representatives in anti-gun states. They will not just lie down and say “woe is us, now we must accept the 2nd Amendment if Washington says so.” ”

      Just like how the south did not accept the 13th-15th amendments?

  8. Drivers also carry large amounts of cash. They get paid in cash and they pay for their fuel in cash.

    Some do, if by “large” you mean a grand or two. That’s the ‘just in case everything else goes wrong’ money that smart, non-broke, indy guys carry. I have no idea were the notion that truckers routinely get paid in cash could even come from – too much White Line Fever and BJ and The Bear as a kid? There’s 10 different pro-trucking commercial only gas cards for a reason – cash is the last resort and almost nobody ever uses it.

    The days of the small independent trucker are almost over anyway, especially in the realm of OTR. Hell, even the local materials company doesn’t want you tossing c-notes at cement truck driver – they generally prefer a check if for some odd reason you aren’t already net 30.

    In fact it’s rather rare that anything but a very small time route driver does much other than drop the load and get the signature.

    • I personally know hay and cattle drivers that do get paid in cash upon delivery here in the west. They keep their cut, then bring back the balance to the farmer/rancher who was the source of the hay or cattle.

      • I don’t doubt that for a minute. They’re local, or at best, short-haul guys, the article seemed aimed at OTR. There’s the odd O/O out there who (somehow) does stuff that way too. Most (not all) of the cattle guys I’ve known are in day-cabs, or some ancient 352 Pete. You can’t move cattle too far and still make money.

        I guess my point was just that most OTR is all corporate, and half of those drivers are so broke they can’t pay attention. They’ve got enough cash for a weekly lot lizard and a few drinks at the tt bar. Especially if they got suckered into a lease.

        • You’re right – most OTR is corporate.

          The irony is that the highest number of load thefts in the nation, year after year, is in California. There are trailers stolen from gated yards in ports, outside of warehouses and manufacturing plants, etc. The thieves have become rather brazen.

          I don’t know that arming drivers would slow down the rate of cargo theft when unattended trailers and conex loads are so easy to steal. Why go up against an armed driver when there’s big money to be had just looking like you know what you’re doing?

        • Exactly. What thief really wants to add a potential assault/murder charge to grand theft? Easy pickins v. even wrasslin’ with some dude over a trailer. The stats back that up.

          Most everything ‘disappears’ when it’s sitting still, generally unhooked.

    • I know for a fact that many car haulers are paid in cash, or cash equivalents, otherwise, once they drop off a car they have little to no recourse, or leverage to get paid, or collect on a bad check.

      • As someone who has shipped well over a hundred cars in the last 30 years and gotten over a hundred on the receiver end, I have NEVER paid cash to a driver. Ever. I wouldn’t ever do business with anyone like that, because I’m legal.

        I’m sure you know some Ukrainians who only take cash, congrats. If it’s even slightly legit, they all take paper.

        • are you shipping the cars as an individual, or as a dealer? one or two at a time, or a trailer full?
          The context I personally witnessed was guys hauling trailers, horse , cattle, camping & other, from the manufacturer, to the dealers that were going to sell them, then on the back-haul they would go pick up 3-6 cars from various points& deliver them to various points. Rarely did they pick up more than one at a time& rarely did they drop off at the same point. And these were COD.

  9. “truckers are also road rage magnets”? In way too many cases, and just like a magnet, they bring it on themselves. In the last 10 years I’ve yet to travel any great distance on the interstates without having my life threatened by incredibly dangerous and provocative driving by 18 wheeler jockeys. Off topic, you say? Uh Uh. While I support the right of truckers to keep and bear arms, the thought of one of these mindless, judgement deprived knuckleheads actually having a deadly weapon in the cab with them is a frightening thought indeed.

    I recently read where the trucking industry is having trouble filling driver seats. Whenever this happens in any industry, hiring standards plummet and the results are obvious. To a far too great degree, the former knights of the road have been replaced by CDL carrying idiots who demonstrate precious little of the cool judgement needed for their occupation. I doubt they would have the same maturity needed to be a responsible armed citizen.

    • Nice bigoted anti-rights screed!

      Civil Rights are for everyone who has not been deprived via Due Process, and for a damn good reason.

      The Brady Group is thattaway ———–>

    • While I’m for truckers having the same rights as everybody else, including CCW, there are a few misconceptions here.

      Truckers are not always the victim of road rage. Sometimes they are the antagonists of it… ESPECIALLY those who hold the philosophy that “4-wheelers” are the scourge of the road. In all honesty, Both the trucker, and the car/van/pickup driver can be idiots behind the wheel. The “4-wheeler” for not allowing enough distance between the truck and themselves, and the trucker who’s decided they own the road or is too tired to drive. Lack of training don’t help either.

      The money situation, especially with company credit cards, and personal debit cards will keep a trucker’s on-hand cash to lesser amounts (for those inclined, usually enough to cover the cost of the hookers and/or drugs, and a few bucks more. For those not so inclined, for misc. spending and legal entertainments.) You got all types as truckers: the bigots, the “enforcer” types, the law breakers, the law keepers, the religious, the ex-military, the sex offenders, and every other type.)

      That said, let the truckers arm up, just like every other driver (other than those prone to being hot-heads and act out on road rage or it’s illegal for them to even in the free-est State.)

    • Maybe trucking companies have a hard time filling the seats because it is a low paying, dangerous, frustrating, thankless job that requires you to spend weeks away from home from loved ones.

      Most professional drivers on the road enjoy the same second amendment protections as a convicted felon.

    • RSU11, it’s pretty obvious to one and all that you’ve never even seen the inside of a big rig, much less ever driven one. Until you’ve experienced the road rage and mindless actions of inconsiderate and ignorate motorists in cars directed at you that truckers get then you can go ahead and rant. I have driven a truck OTC and otherwise for over thirty years and I have experienced my share plus having seen stuff done to other truckers. Try having a car “drafting” you at night with its left headlight shining right into your large outside mirror for mile after mile. Try having one pass you, cut in front and then slam on its brakes for an exit or just fore the apparent heck of it. Try pulling a tanker with 8,000 gallons of high octane avaition gasoline and the car in front of you flips a live cigarette butt out his window and it bounces, scattering sparks under your trailer. that right there is enough to make your back pockets suck up seat covers.

  10. Under the privileges and immunity, due process and equal protection clauses of the 14th Amendment, it is absolutely clear that the citizens of this country enjoy a host of rights that aren’t predicated on the whims of the several states or smaller political entities. Those rights are absolute, immutable, and clearly defined. Self defense is a fundamental and essential human and civil right that is expressly defined and protected in and by the Bill of Rights. That right does not end at one’s doorstep, nor at one’s municipal, county or state boundary.

    Long haul truckers pose an interesting set of circumstances in this age of global terrorism. They are uniquely placed at the front lines of the conflict. It is surprising that the arguments in favor of national reciprocity haven’t exploited the obvious concerns related to this industry as yet another compelling justification for quelling the onerous pastiche of anti-freedom/anti-self defense laws that currently exist across this land.

    I hope and trust that’s about to change.

  11. Special gunghts for truckers? Why do they deserve more protection than the rest of us?

    Constitutional rights were not intended to be doled out like patronage, despite the way they do things in New York.

    • Exactly so.

      The thinking that there are “special people” and then there is “everyone else” is the sort of thinking that is employed on CCW permits in NYC and LA. It is the reason why “shall issue” CCW’s came about. Sheriffs and police chiefs used to dole out CCW’s for their favorite citizens, political hacks and insiders, and deny them to everyone else.

  12. BTW- this is all a huge maguffin as most OTR is corporate.

    It may let the few true indy O/Os out there carry, but the thought that YRC, UPS, Schneider, England, Hogan, Roadway, Consolidated, JB Hunt, ConWay, Werner, Swift, Prime, Estes or any of the other big trucking companies are going to suddenly change corporate policy and allow guns in their rigs just because it’s legal, is the most naive notion I’ve heard of in quite a while.

    Just because you can legally carry, most jobs will still prohibit it on premise and/or on the clock. Unless your work truck is an armored car.

    Not saying it’s right. But it would require a huge seachange in the land of litigation for it to come to pass on a corporate level, no matter how “legal” it may be.

    • Yes the biggest hurdle is restrictive corporate policy. Personally I couldn’t care less about the dollar value of any load. I care about personal self defense. If someone sticks a gun in my ear I’m just gonna ask “so, do you just want the truck, or would you like me to drive it somewhere for you?” It’s just crazy to risk your life for a bunch of stuff that is insured anyway.

      • Exactly. Nor should you give two good flyin’s – it’s just some stuff, that is insured, and ever if it weren’t insured, it ain’t yours nor worth dying over.

        I agree from a self-defense standpoint, and you obviously know the ropes. Maybe Covenant Transport would let you carry in the rig as some offshoot to their weird public image of bible-trucking, but other than that… The day YRC lets you pack a Smith and Wesson in the cab, the TSA will let us go back to flying with knives as long as the blades are under 4″.

  13. I had the pleasure of making Erik Royce a friend of my family and I earlier this year. He’s a good guy, and I wish him all the best in his efforts.

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