Federal Overreach and the National Concealed Carry Law
When the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act was first introduced in January of 2017, it quickly garnered support from a number of Republicans in the House of Representatives, but this was not an indication of how the average American gun owner feels about the controversial legislation.
The bill's creator, Rep. Richard Hudson, justified the Reciprocity Act by saying, "Our Second Amendment right doesn't disappear when we cross state lines, and this legislation guarantees that."
For libertarians, this bill is not a matter of our Second Amendment right; rather, it's a matter of federal overreach. Under Concealed Carry Reciprocity, state gun laws would be rendered null and void, as anyone with a concealed carry permit in one state would be able to travel across state lines while armed.
A 2017 study indicates that it's not just those who value state autonomy who are opposed to the bill. A national survey found that 83 percent of Republicans and 84 percent of independents believe that people with a legal right to carry concealed should have to pass a test demonstrating that they can "safely and lawfully handle a gun in common situations they might encounter."
The Massachusetts Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence is also ardently against the bill. The group has taken to social media to urge the public to join its fight to block the law. Some states have already made their position known. As of February 1st of 2016, Virginia no longer recognizes concealed handgun permits from 25 other states. Other states are likely to follow Virginia's lead.
Because the Constitution acknowledges that different states have different cultures and different needs where guns are concerned. Public safety, policing, and right to carry are dependent on several factors, factors that the current bill does not take into consideration.
Law enforcement officials in the state of New Jersey have already expressed concern about the Reciprocity Act. Jersey City public safety director James Shea told a reporter, "Each state has the right to determine what's right for them, but if you're telling me that the other 49 states have to acknowledge this law, we better get together and have standards we can all agree on."
The National Law Enforcement Partnership to Prevent Gun Violence released a statement last year opposing "attempts to mandate concealed carry reciprocity nationwide because such schemes severely undermine successful, well established state laws governing carrying concealed firearms."
The concealed carry bill, which is has made its way through the House, has approximately 213 co-sponsors and the full support of President Trump. Among those who have espoused it are some unlikely proponents.
Six Democrats – Georgia rep. Sanford Bishop, Texas rep. Henry Cuellar, Texas rep. Vicente Gonzalez, Wisconsin rep. Ron Kind, Minnesota rep. Collin Peterson, and Oregon rep. Kurt Schrader – have voted in favor of Concealed Carry Reciprocity.
Rep. Bishop has voted against his party on five gun control bills in total. If we go on his example alone, one would think liberals are getting more liberal in their views on guns, but this is far from the truth.
This month has seen the Dems piling on when it comes to pushing gun control, relying on the Parkland shooting to sway Republicans on the issue of "red flag" legislation. The red flag law would grant courts the power to strip gun owners of their firearms at the behest of an owner's family member or spouse.
The law, which is designed to remove weapons from those who are deemed a potential threat, is unlikely to be effective. On the contrary, such a law could set a dangerous precedent. After all, a manipulative individual could persuade a judge of his partner's altered mental state for malicious reasons or even in an attempt to leave that individual bereft of guns and, therefore, more vulnerable.
The recent wave of gun bills misses the boat when it comes to self-defense. In the case of the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act, the bill fails to consider the implications it might have. Not only does it infringe on states' independent rights, but it also leaves those states vulnerable to crimes that might otherwise not be committed.
The types of handgun best suited for concealed carry are compact and easy to conceal, hence the name. They sometimes feature a manual safety, which ensures that they cannot go off without warning. And one thing that's seldom mentioned is the fact that folks with a CCW permit can actually save lives rather than taking them.
In July of 2009, the Richmond Times-Dispatch ran an article about a CCW permit-holder wounding and subduing a robber after the criminal opened fire on a convenience store clerk and store patrons. The permit-holder saved eight lives that night, something that would not have been possible had he not been armed at the time.
There is a substantial number of cases like this in the U.S. and plenty of evidence that concealed carry can prevent crime. According to the Department of Justice's Uniformed Crime Report, states with right-to-carry laws have a 30 percent lower rate of homicides.
Concealed carry shoulder holsters complement compact handguns in a way that allows for easy concealment and comfort. These are irrefutable facts that all parties should be able to agree on. But a concealed carry law that blocks states' rights to enforce their own laws is something that is neither constitutionally sound nor lawful.
States and their citizens need to be more vocal about their opinions where this sort of legislation is concerned. We the People need to let the government know what we feel is right. It is important for responsible, law-abiding gun owners to let their voices be heard.
The government is supposed to work for us, not against us.
Thus far, there have been two roll call votes on the bill. It has passed the House and is expected to pass the Senate. Now is the time for Americans to have a discussion about this problematic piece of legislation.
Sam Bocetta is a freelance journalist specializing in U.S. diplomacy and national security, with emphases on technology trends in cyberwarfare, cyberdefense, and cryptography. Currently working as a part-time cybersecurity coordinator at AssignYourWriter.co.uk.