The Police Executive Research Forum is often described as a “think tank for law enforcement issues,” but the group has a longstanding habit of embracing almost every gun control position pushed by groups like Everytown for Gun Safety, Brady, and the rest. Often, these anti-gun viewpoints are couched as common sense, especially by the anti-gun mainstream media. In 2018, for example, the Washington Post laughably claimed that a PERF event in which bans on “large capacity” magazines and red-flag laws were promoted “did not discuss gun control or gun rights explicitly,” even though both topics are high priorities for the gun control lobby.
In a new column, PERF executive director Chuck Wexler once again just happens to find himself squarely in line with Shannon Watts, David Chipman, Michael Bloomberg, and other anti-gun activists; this time on the issue of Constitutional Carry, which Wexler claims will “alter the nature of gun violence” in states that adopt the measure.
Many cops see the permitting process as a useful means of screening dangerous people from carrying guns in public. In some states, residents couldn’t previously obtain a permit to carry if they had been convicted of resisting law enforcement or had juvenile adjudications that would have been felonies had the person been an adult.
Shouldn’t responsible gun owners be willing to go through a brief permitting process to carry their gun outside the home, where it is more consequential for other members of the public?
In a word, no. First off, there’s no guarantee that the process will be brief at all. Just ask the Illinois residents who’ve had to wait more than a year for their concealed carry license or FOID card, which are required in order to legally own a firearm in the state. Or the Philadelphia residents who also were told they’d be waiting more than 12 months to simply apply for a carry license when the city shut down the police department’s Gun Permit Unit during the early days of the COVID pandemic. Detroit residents were also told they’d be waiting for months on end before they could even submit their application, which led to another lawsuit.
Getting a carry license isn’t always quick and easy, even in “shall issue” jurisdictions. There’s also a financial burden as well; another factor ignored by Wexler, who insists that no police officer he knows is supportive of Constitutional Carry.
But Wexler’s real concerns isn’t over the growing popularity of permitless carry. It’s the right to bear arms that’s at the heart of his objections; something he made clear when he inexplicably decided to include this rant about the pending Supreme Court decision in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen. That lawsuit doesn’t have anything to do with Constitutional Carry. Instead, it challenges New York’s “may issue” laws that prevent the average citizen from obtaining a permit to carry a gun in self-defense. Based on Wexler’s commentary, he’d much prefer to see New York’s law upheld.
The Supreme Court may add to the disruption, as the justices are expected any week to rule on a New York case that could strike down that state’s stringent requirement that residents show “proper cause” for getting a concealed weapons permit.
That’s a little different from allowing New Yorkers to get and carry guns with no permit at all, but the effect is similar in that it could result in many more residents carrying concealed guns. Depending on the decision, it could also have consequences for gun laws across the country.
Odd, isn’t it, that in one paragraph Wexler says that gun owners should be fine with having to obtain a permission slip to exercise a constitutional right, yet just a few hundred words later even a “shall issue” licensing system appears to be a bridge too far for him. It seems to me that what’s really bothering Wexler is the fact that tens of millions (not to mention most of the 50 states) take our right to keep and bear arms seriously, when he’d prefer the Second Amendment be treated as an historical anachronism or a dead letter.
With violent crime is rising even in “may issue” jurisdictions like New York and Los Angeles, Wexler’s argument doesn’t stand up to scrutiny, but expect to hear a lot more like it in the weeks ahead as the Left struggles to come to terms with the possibility that the Supreme Court will soon officially opine that the Second Amendment not only protects the right to keep a gun in the home for self-defense, but to bear one in public for personal protection as well.