On December 6th, the House of Representatives passed a bill, entitled The Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017. The bill was largely supported along party lines, meaning all but 14 Republicans voted in favor of the bill along with 6 Democrats. The Concealed Carry bill, if passed into law, would require every state to honor out-of-state permits from states with little, or even no, restrictions on the right to carry concealed handguns.
Let’s avoid the usual discussion about the supposed sanctity of the right to bear arms.
Let’s not even talk about how the NRA and its political allies have tortured the language of the 2nd Amendment.
Let’s not even try to use statistical information about whether more regulation of handguns would reduce gun violence, because the NRA and its political allies inevitably abandon the statistical arguments and rely on the mantra (read as robotic craziness) of the “good guy with a gun” rationale for opposing virtually all new gun control legislation.
Let’s simply ask how the largely anti-federalist Republicans who reflexively support states’ rights against Washington’s intrusion, are supporting a law which would force every state to accept the concealed gun permit laws of every other state, including states that have no standards at all.
Predictably, some supporters of the Concealed Carry Reciprocity legislation have argued that because the right to bear arms is a right enshrined in the Constitution and therefore virtually any limitation be it Federal or state is forbidden. Like so many other rationalizations for legislative paralysis on even considering ways to prevent the escalation of gun violence, this justification does not hold water.
The truth is, that even rights protected by the Constitution, such as the Freedom of Speech, are subject to reasonable limitations. As the Supreme Court once ruled even the 5th Amendment does not give one the right to yell “fire” in a crowded theater.
More to the point the right to possess a weapon, at least for now, is subject to any number of limitations, including the prohibition of passengers from carrying guns on airplanes, the prohibition on machine guns and other restrictions.
Another justification offered by the NRA and others for the Concealed Carry law is that it is inconvenient for gun-owners to have to check the laws in other states before motoring across state lines. The absurdity of this argument requires little commentary. We live in country of multiple states, municipalities and other political subdivisions. Checking on what laws are applicable from one state to the next for transporting a dangerous instrument, such as a hand-gun, before putting it in your breast pocket is simply a common sense duty for all Americans. We have the same requirements for less dangerous products such as fireworks or alcohol.
It is quite apparent that the efforts in Congress to invoke Federal law to trample on the rights of individual states to decide what is best for its citizens, usually hailed by the GOP as a universal truth, is simply another effort by the gun lobby and its captive legislators to eliminate restrictions on handgun ownership across the board, putting another notch in the gun of the NRA.