Trucking Group Urges President Trump for Emergency Action on Restrictive Gun Laws
Washington D.C. – A trucking group is taking its emergency plea to President Donald Trump asking for regulatory relief for interstate truckers from restrictive state and local gun laws amid the COVID-19 outbreak.
Earlier this week, a request by the Small Business in Transportation Coalition (SBTC) was denied by the United States Department of Transportation (USDOT).
The emergency plea asked that USDOT Secretary Elaine Chao issue a preemption order “nullifying any and all state and local laws that restrict truck drivers from carrying firearms across state lines throughout America in order to enable them to protect themselves and their cargo as they engage in interstate commerce.”
The SBTC argued the order is needed because the safety of truckers is increasingly being jeopardized amid “desolate” metropolitan areas due to widespread shelter-in-place policies, and cities like New York City and Los Angeles are releasing prison inmates back on the streets.
In its denial issued on April 21, Larry Minor, associate administrator for policy with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) wrote:
FMCSA does not have jurisdiction over firearms possession by commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers engaged in interstate commerce, and the matter is outside FMCSA’s preemption authority.
Our understanding is that Federal law generally does not prohibit CMV drivers from carrying firearms in their vehicles, provided that they comply with State and local laws.
The SBTC is now taking the matter directly to President Trump.
“We now write to you again to request Executive action… for a preemption order insofar as state and local gun laws restrict interstate truckers from carrying loaded, readily-accessible firearms for self-protection and constitute unreasonable interference with interstate commerce,” SBTC’s letter to Mr. Trump states.
James Lamb, president of the SBTC, tells Transportation Nation Network (TNN) there is quite a bit of confusion among truckers about gun laws and especially the patchwork of state laws.
“Many truckers mistakenly believe that they already can carry loaded firearms from state-to-state and point to the fact that there is no Federal law or regulation that says they can’t,” Lamb said. “This belief is misguided, though, as it does not appreciate how states currently regulate firearms.”
Currently, states regulate matters relating to open or concealed carry.
Therefore, the right to lawfully carry, whether open or concealed, is determined on the basis of what reciprocity agreements a state has with other states, if it has any at all.
Lamb argues the remedy for restrictive state laws is found in the Commerce Clause of the Constitution.
“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 says the 2nd Amendment, at minimum, allows for an American to protect oneself, especially in their home.
Since a trucker’s truck is his or her home for extended periods of time while over the road, Lamb says it is simply common sense to allow them to adequately protect themselves and their home.
“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.”
The SBTC is requesting President Trump take action to allow truckers to lawfully carry into all U.S. states regardless of state and local laws.
“All you need do is assert your authority under the Supremacy and Commerce Clauses through an executive order and with a wave of your pen this problem will be solved,” the SBTC urges.
TNN will continue to follow this story.