Wednesday, December 7, 2016

National Concealed Carry Reciprocity

A tip from Matt Vespa over at indicates that a National Concealed Carry Reciprocity Bill is in the Pipeline for Next Congress. The bill will surely pass in the House, and Trump would surely sign it if it came to his desk. The problem will likely be in the Senate, where Democrats will filibuster the bill, and it will be hard to find 60 votes for cloture.

I am of two minds on the topic.  On the one hand, there is no reason that concealed carry permits should be treated any differently than driver's licenses.  While each State has its own driver's license requirements, all States have to accept the driver's license of every other State.  As a matter of public safety, I can not see why we could not come to some agreement.  Indeed, passage of such a bill would tend over time to make the States more uniform in their requirements.  In any case, one would still have to abide by the laws of the State in which one might be traveling.

Years ago, when I was living in Northern Virginia, I attended a Gun Rights Policy Conference in Louisville, KY.  At the time, Virginia had reciprocity agreements with both Kentucky and Ohio, but not Pennsylvania or Maryland.  Virginia did not allow me to carry into restaurants that served alcohol, even though I couldn't drink because I would still be carrying after I went back to my vehicle.  Kentucky had no such restriction, but Ohio's laws were even stricter than Virginia.  Back in those days, a concealed carrier had to arm and disarm himself several times a day to stay within the law.  Indeed, there are still places where one is obliged to disarm if one wants to go into those places, but they are fewer now.  On my way home, I disarmed before going into Pennsylvania, and remained so for the rest of the trip home.  Such is the life of a Concealed Carry holder.

On the other hand, the idea of permits for carrying concealed was always a temporary solution on the way back to Constitutional Carry. Constitutional Carry is the actual law of the land.  The Second Amendment acknowledges the right of every law abiding United States citizen (and those residing legally in this country) to bear arms.  One reason given is for defense, but it seems obvious that it is for any legal reason. Those reasons do not have to be spelled out to anyone, and no one may be compelled to justify himself before exercising the right.  I am always a little surprised by the demands of anti-gunners that those of us who choose to carry a weapon explain ourselves.  Perhaps more enlightening would be why they choose not to.

Constitutional Carry ultimately makes sense because of two facts: 1) The criminals will be carrying whether the law allows them to or not.  They are immune from having to fill out a 4473 form, or registering their weapons.  They will carry because a gun is a tool of their trade.  Since they can not go to the police for protection, they must be able to defend themselves and their illicit inventory.  2) Law abiding citizens occasionally find themselves in encounters with criminals and are forced to defend themselves or their families.  The National Rifle Association routinely publish a column in their monthly magazine The Rifleman entitled The Armed Citizen.  The stories in The Armed Citizen are news stories from around the country of people who have successfully fended off home invaders, convenience store robbers, gas station robbers and so on. The Armed Citizen has little trouble filling up a column every month.  Indeed, you can read such stories ever day at   Keep and Bear Arms.

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