The House today passed a bill to allow interstate reciprocity of concealed carry. As you expect, social media is having a freak out over this, since of course a peaceful gun owner carrying his legal weapon into another peaceful state automatically means he becomes a raving lunatic.
As you know, the folks opposed to firearms are the real gun fanatics, because they’re completely unhinged on the subject and refuse to consider any facts on the issue. Most states already allow reciprocity. Like drivers licenses and gay marriage, states would be compelled to honor another’s sovereignty. The Czar need not point out that the news media and its social media stooges are crazy-nuts over this, proving they understand neither how Congress works (the House advanced a bill to the Senate; it has not declared anything law because Congress cannot do that), how concealed carry works (the only states that don’t allow it have even fewer requirements), and certainly don’t get what reciprocity means (“So this means some nut from a red state can totally trample on my blue state rights????”).
The bill, incidentally, received a lot of support from Democrats and a fair amount of opposition from Republicans. It increases—some say enhances—background checks to prevent some of the missteps that allowed recent mass murderers access to firearms they should not have had, and does not allow for Constitutional (“anything goes”) carry.
The intent of the bill is to prevent people legally licensed to carry a weapon in a concealed form from being arrested simply because they pass through another state. This is already the law in most states—although Illinois is perceived as one of the unfriendliest gun states, your Utah or Florida permit is acknowledged here. Not a big deal, right?
Well, that’s great if you’re a Utah resident and pass through Illinois. But if your drive takes you into New York, good luck—your concealed carry permit does not protect you very much, as you have to go through a lengthy and intentionally difficult process before local law enforcement—not elected and not challengeable—decides whether you can carry. That’s not reasonable law—for either the Utah visitor or a New York resident—and that’s what the bill attempts to correct.
Now, as everyone outside of the liberal world understands, the bill moves to the Senate. Its fate there is unknown—the party lines are tighter, but because some Republicans and Democrats are switching sides on this issue, one can’t say for sure whether it goes to the President (who has previously said he would sign it into law). It may actually garner enough support to be filibuster-proof, but whether that means it makes it into law will be anyone’s guess. The Czar expects it will pass, but barely.
And even if it does pass and President Trump signs it, what then? There is no guarantee the law can be easily applied. If you have a license to drive in North Carolina, you can drive in North Dakota, say bill supporters. This is true, but you are expected to obey North Dakota laws while there. The “drivers license” analogy falls flat—in fact, that’s pretty much what the law allows right now.
Further, federal law doesn’t require any state to honor any other’s drivers licenses: this form of reciprocity is a voluntary compact. Okay, but then consider this—driving isn’t a fundamental right. Indeed, it’s not even a broad right—it’s a privilege, as those of us old enough to remember grade school classes on the Constitution. Access to a weapon is a fundamental right, and driving isn’t. States are not allowed different laws for what’s allowed under freedom of speech, or your right to an attorney, and all 50 states agree on what “double jeopardy” means. Shouldn’t they all agree on what “concealed carry” allows?
Not helping any of this is that the House bill is cloaked in terms of the U.S. Commerce Clause, meaning that the Federal government has an overwhelming interest in ensuring national reciprocity for reasons only the bill writers truly understand (“necessary and proper”). Of course, conservatives should bristle at this, because so much of Obamacare, New Deal legislation, and welfare programs were jammed down our throats under that guise. While you may support the use of the Commerce Clause because it at least advances the bill into law, remember that the U.S. Commerce Clause almost invariably results in expanded government.
But maybe that’s not the point. Maybe the whole point is, indeed, getting the bill into law. Because then, once passed, it’s immediately appealed. As it moves back and forth through challenges and stays and upholdings, it works its way to the U.S. Supreme Court, who could agree in a split-decision that the law is unconstitutional under the Commerce Clause, but is unnecessary because Americans have a fundamental right to carry a weapon across state lines.
That then advances the next step—constitutional carry. If the Czar can carry a weapon openly or concealed in Arkansas, with no concern, why can’t he do so in California?
One thing is clear about firearms—legal challenges are the only way to get the Second Amendment recognized.