Concealed Carry: What Are We Waiting For?

Cliff Stearns
Rep. Cliff B. Stearns (R.-Fla.) introduced H.R. 822, the National Right-to Carry Reciprocity Act, on Nov. 16.

Congratulations 112th Congress for seeking to amend title 18 of the United States Code, giving law abiding citizens with firearm permits the right to carry concealed handguns outside of the state in which they reside, as long as such state issues concealed firearm permits already, or does not have laws that prohibit the carrying of concealed firearms. 


H.R. 822 – National Right-to-Carry Reciprocity Act of 2011 – passed by a majority vote 272 to 154 on November 16.

The state of Illinois and the District of Columbia have laws in place to restrict residents from carrying concealed firearms outside their homes or businesses, making them immune from this legislation. Nevertheless, the measure still provides a much needed national standard for the rest of the 49 states.

Currently, gun permits are not recognized across state lines, so a gun-carrying, traveling citizen must obtain a permit from each state he or she chooses to visit. H.R. 822 eliminates this unnecessary burden on free citizens and forces states to recognize legal gun permits, in a similar way that states acknowledge driver’s licenses from California to New York.

This common sense action does three things: a) It moves us closer to fully protecting our Second Amendment rights; b) it affords us the opportunity to defend ourselves wherever we are; and c) it acts as a preventative tool against crime. 

The impact of right to carry laws has been studied extensively, with the vast preponderance of studies finding that crime rates have fallen in those states after they have adopted such laws. No credible study has ever found that the enactment of such laws has produced an increase in crimes, suicides or accidental deaths.


This amendment is so good. Rather than propose spending bill after spending bill, the 112th Congress has set forth an initiative that guarantees Constitutional rights to the citizen and does not tax, regulate, and restrict them. 

H.R. 822 says that our 2nd and 14th Amendment’ rights are relevant in today’s society. The 14th Amendment makes the Bill of Rights in particular applicable to the states. Yes. Congress is finally doing something right! 

Yet blockage in the Senate and a veto from the White House may happen, anyway. That is because politicians hungry to govern our freedoms and police our actions do not comprehend the fundamental value of the Second Amendment.

“No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms. The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government” — Thomas Jefferson, 1 Thomas Jefferson Papers, 334

Instead, naysayers blame firearms for violent crimes and seek to remedy problems by usurping the Constitution and banning guns altogether. 

They consistently ignore “the right of the people to keep and bear arms.”  They ignore the right of the people to be protected under the umbrella of the Bill of Rights, and they ignore the real benefits that go along with firearm ownership.  


Please do me a favor and always, always, always reject the notion that guns are the cause of violent crimes. It is an aging, erroneous mantra that to the clear minded person carries zero weight.  

A right to carry, in fact, is one of the few rights Americans are truly entitled to. Not so funny, is it, that a runaway federal government handing away entitlements at a rate we cannot afford is now eager to take away an entitlement that costs the tax payer nothing. 

Go figure.

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