Not everyone agrees with national reciprocity. That’s obvious of any pro-Second Amendment legislation but especially true of one that will allow a resident from one state to carry in another. People being able to carry a firearm at all is controversial in some circles, for crying out loud. People being able to do it without the express permission of their betters? Unthinkable!
UCLA constitutional law professor Adam Winkler took to the pages of the New York Daily News to underline just how wrong national reciprocity actually is.
In the process, he’s reminding us of every reason to support it.
The Concealed Carry Act works by requiring states to recognize concealed carry permits issued by other states. This sounds pretty harmless, like drivers licenses which are recognized nationwide. But the devil is in the details.
Unlike drivers licenses, some of the most populous states have only a relatively small number of concealed carry permit holders. New York, Massachusetts, California, New Jersey, Maryland and Hawaii have may-issue permitting policies that restrict public carry significantly.
In Los Angeles County, with 10 million people, only a few hundred ordinary civilians have concealed carry permits. They are awarded only to people who can show a special need to carry, such as victims of stalking.
See? What did I tell ya? I mean, if I didn’t already support the idea of national reciprocity, this alone would have sold me.
The fact is that the Second Amendment makes absolutely no mention of “need” when it talks about the right to keep and bear arms. There’s no clause in the amendment arguing that the government can and should stop anyone else from getting a permit unless they can make the case that their situation warrants being armed. None.
But Winkler isn’t done. Not by a longshot.
The Concealed Carry Act requires states like California to recognize permits from Virginia. But you don’t have to be a resident of Virginia to get a concealed carry permit there. California residents can apply online — and carry in California, never having stepped foot in Virginia.
The numbers of guns on the streets of New York, Los Angeles, Boston, San Francisco, Trenton, Baltimore, and Honolulu will skyrocket. In Los Angeles County, the projected number of lawfully concealed guns will go from fewer than 500 to 400,000.
In New York City, which today has very few legal guns carried on the streets, approximately 400,000 will be if the bill passed by the House becomes law.
Stop. Just stop.
You already sold me. There’s no need to keep selling.
New York City’s gun laws are draconian and filled with opportunities for corruption. By allowing citizens to step outside of the need for political connections, ordinary New Yorkers will be able to exercise their Second Amendment rights. I’m sorry, but I fail to see how this is remotely a bad thing.
Of course, Winkler does have a serious attack of the dumb at one point. For example:
Given recent reforms loosening carry requirements, including a dozen states now requiring no permit whatsoever, there’s likely to be “race to the bottom.” States will compete to attract applicants (and the fees) by offering the loosest, easiest, permitting laws.
There are several states that practice constitutional carry and do so without any problems whatsoever, I might add. So what? It’s not like other states–even states with reciprocity with those constitutional carry states–recognize the lack of a permit. Most, if not all, constitutional carry states also issue permits for people who travel outside the state. Pretending that constitutional carry will muddy the waters and is disingenuous to the extreme.
Winkler finishes by saying:
The Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act is far more than just protecting the Shaneen Allens caught up in conflicting gun laws. It will completely reorder Americas gun laws.
And you know what? I agree.
However, it’s a reorder that’s desperately needed. Far too many states view the right to keep and bear arms as a privilege, something that should be parceled out for their subjects as the state desires. That’s not freedom, that’s serfdom.
If national reciprocity tips that on its head, then it may well be the most important legislation to ever be considered. Unlike Mr. Winkler, I actually care about the rights of my fellow Americans, particularly in states where they’re being denied their essential freedoms, such as the right to keep and bear arms.