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?