At Bearing Arms, we have covered the post-Bruen tantrums in detail. The backlash is real and in states like New York, gun owners are worse off now than they were before Bruen. The goal of these tantrum laws is not to reduce crime or violence but to impede lawful gun ownership. What else explains imposing burdensome fees and training requirements, mandatory registration, licensing, etc., none of which criminals will ever obey, and then barring lawful permit holders from carrying almost everywhere by creating a massive list of “sensitive places”?
States with pro-Second Amendment majorities need to counter this by enacting policies to remove impediments to lawful gun ownership. Here are some policy suggestions that will help move the ball in the right direction:
1) Repeal all carry permit fees
The right to keep and bear arms is a right. Creating permits around it is an infringement. Just yesterday, I wrote about how poor people are burdened with fees in Michigan and New York. Permitless carry is the way forward as the majority of states have done already. However, permitless carry states are still issuing permits partly to help their citizens traveling to other states. Those states need to zero out any and all fees for concealed carry permits, period. Of course, it costs money to run a permit program. That money should not come out of applicants’ pockets; it should come out of the state’s general fund instead. This idea is not new. Indiana and South Dakota have already zeroed out the fees to apply for a carry permit. The remaining permitless carry states need to follow their lead and change how they pay for the program.
2) Integrate carry permit applications and issuance at the DMV
(Full disclosure: I am repeating an idea I heard from Attorney Mark Smith at the Four Boxes Diner YouTube channel.) Local DMV offices are well-positioned to process carry permit applications. They have cameras, computers, desks, paper forms, pens, etc., and employees who know how to process driver’s license applications. Processing carry permit applications is well within DMV employees’ abilities. States with pro-Second Amendment majorities should add carry permit applications to the portfolio of services offered by their DMV offices, and advertise the new service loudly and proudly.
3) Repeal all gun, ammo, and accessory sales taxes
John Marshall, the Fourth Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, said, “the power to tax is the power to destroy.” California recently tacked on a punitive “sin” tax for the purchase of guns and ammunition; their goal is to make it costlier to exercise the right to keep and bear arms. The counter to that is to repeal any and all state and local sales taxes (or make a carve-out from the general sales tax) on the purchase of guns, ammunition, and accessories ranging from optics to holsters to gun safes. Make it more affordable for citizens to exercise their right to keep and bear arms.
4) Subsidize and promote training programs
Recently, Joe Biden’s Department of Education eliminated funding for hunting and archery programs in schools. I am not a fan of government involvement in education, but if the goal of anti-Second Amendment states is to undermine gun ownership, I don’t see why pro-Second Amendment states can’t promote gun ownership. I have written about this before, so I won’t go into too much detail, but the idea is to introduce firearms training in K-12, boldly and without any apology or shyness. Comprehensive sex education doesn’t turn girls into prostitutes, and comprehensive firearms education won’t turn boys into violent criminals either.
5) Pass firearms industry liability protections and non-discrimination laws
After the Brady-sponsored lawsuit against Lucky Gunner failed, Colorado under “libertarian Democrat” Gov. Jared Polis watered down protections for the firearms industry against junk lawsuits. The gun controllers want to enable lawfare against the firearms industry. Pro-Second Amendment states need to pass laws to make it harder to bankrupt or harass the firearms industry for the criminal misuse of their products. Some states are considering this but a lot more needs to be done.
The other industry protection that needs to happen soon is non-discrimination laws against the industry. Just this week, we learned about how Intuit, under pressure from J.P Morgan, denied payroll services to the firearms industry. This is simply unacceptable and the bad private sector actors who play these games must face consequences. States like Texas have already done this and also punished banks that tried to deny financial services to the industry. There are many more states that need to pass these laws.
There is one last item I would like to mention, and this is a past suggestion I made to activists to add “strict scrutiny” amendments to your state constitutions when it comes to evaluating gun control laws. The Second Amendment alone is not going to be enough, nor will the Heller, MacDonald, Caetano and the Bruen decisions combined. Additional fortifications are needed at the state level.
I hope this list of suggestions is helpful in pushing back against actions by states like California and New York and creating a lasting pro-Second Amendment majority in the country.