Trucking Group Demands Emergency Action From Congress on Truckers’ Right to Carry
Washington D.C. – A trucking group is urging the United States Congress to take emergency action to provide interstate truckers with relief from restrictive state and local gun laws amid the COVID-19 outbreak.
Less than a week after sending an urgent letter to U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Secretary, Elaine Chao, asking for an emergency order to preempt restrictive state and local laws pertaining to truckers’ right to carry a firearm, the 15,000-member Small Business in Transportation Coalition (SBTC) is now taking its request to Congress.
In a letter delivered to the office of each member of the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate this week, James Lamb, SBTC president, argued that the unprecedented times in which we are living is putting truckers’ lives in danger and not just from the risks associated with contracting the novel coronavirus.
“Major metropolitan cities have now become ghost towns as trucks roll in,” Lamb explained to Transportation Nation Network (TNN). “Cities like New York have even started releasing inmates, stopped making arrests; scores of police officers are falling victim to coronavirus and thousands are calling in sick. Within this national emergency, there is a criminal justice emergency that must be recognized and countered by government officials to protect the lives of America’s truckers driving into the epicenter of the virus.”
Lamb is urging Congress to take up and approve emergency legislation on the matter.
“There must at least be a declaration that truckers can carry interstate because of the unique dangers they are currently experiencing as they engage in relief efforts around the nation and travel from state to state while the rest of America ‘stay(s) at home.'”
At the heart of his legal argument is the theory that restrictive state gun laws are both a violation of the Second Amendment as well as the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution because such laws are an “interference with interstate commerce.”
“The Constitution gives the Federal Government the right to use the Commerce Clause as a hook to override those state and local laws. What we need here is a Federal assertion of power to say truckers can carry in furtherance of their Second Amendment rights and the states cannot say they can’t,” he further explained.
Even if one disagrees with the legal arguments related to the Commerce Clause, Lamb contends the Second Amendment, at minimum, allows for an American to protect oneself especially in their home.
Since a trucker’s truck is his or her home while over the road, Lamb says it is simply common sense to allow them to adequately protect themselves and their domain.
“As a matter of ‘equal protection of the law,’ truckers should have the same rights to possess loaded firearms for self-defense as every other American to stay safe and protect themselves during these dangerous times.”
Secretary Chao has yet to respond to the SBTC’s urgent request, but Lamb says he will continue to press the issue because it is a matter of life and death.
TNN will continue to follow new developments.
WATCH FOR IT
Later this week TNN will publish an article detailing some common misconceptions among truckers about gun laws in America. For instance, what is the difference between “transporting” and “carrying” a firearm?