Unfortunately, some local jurisdictions have chosen to ignore federal law and the courts have upheld these infringements on Second Amendment rights.
H.R. 4269, introduced by U.S. Reps. Morgan Griffith (R-Va.), Ted Poe (R-Texas) and Bill Owens (D-N.Y.) would amend this provision to ensure it has the effect Congress intended.
Most states have never had a problem with this law. However, both before and after enactment of FOPA, gun owners have had serious problems lawfully travelling with their firearms in two states in particular: New York (especially New York City) and New Jersey. Rather than recognize the intention of Congress to protect the rights of Americans travelling with legally owned firearms, these jurisdictions have used overly restrictive state licensing laws to harass and prosecute travelers.
The refusal of the authorities in some jurisdictions to recognize federal law and the failure of the courts to enforce the provisions of FOPA, makes this legislation necessary.
H.R. 4269 would:
- Expand the protections afforded travelers to include "staying in temporary lodging overnight, stopping for food, fuel, vehicle maintenance, an emergency, medical treatment, and any other activity incidental" to the trip.
- Put the burden of proof clearly on the state to show that a traveler
did not meet the requirements of the law, rather than allow travelers
to be arrested and forced to raise the law as an affirmative defense.
- Make clear that transportation of both firearms and ammunition is federally protected.
- Make clear that the right to transport firearms is judicially enforceable as a federal civil right, with attorney's fees available to victorious plaintiffs in civil suits, as well as to defendants who prevail in criminal cases.
Please be sure to contact your U.S. Representative and urge him or her to cosponsor and support H.R. 4269.