This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Wednesday, April 26, 2017:
When House member Richard Hudson (R-N.C.) introduced his bill, the “Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017,” on the first day of the 155th Congress, he explained:
Our Second Amendment right doesn’t disappear when we cross state lines, and this legislation guarantees that. The Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017 is a common sense solution to a problem too many Americans face. It will provide law-abiding citizens the right to conceal carry and travel freely between states without worrying about conflicting state codes or onerous civil suits.
As a member of President-elect Trump’s Second Amendment Coalition, I look forward to working with my colleagues and the administration to get this legislation across the finish line.
His efforts appear to be succeeding. As of this writing, he has 188 co-sponsors for the bill out of 435 members of the House. It will only take 218 of them to pass his bill.
Chris Cox, the head of the National Rifle Association’s Institute for Legislative Action (NRAILA), summed up the case for national reciprocity while simultaneously chiding those pushing back against it:
[Those opposed in the media] don’t report that honest, well-meaning people – nurses, stay-at-home moms, veterans, even a disaster relief worker – have been charged with felonies for simply having a lawfully-owned firearm. Each was legally licensed to carry a firearm in their own state, but [was] arrested and charged as criminals when safely carrying it through another, less free state.
One of those stay-at-home moms, Shaneen Allen, became a cause célèbre when she, driving from her home state of Pennsylvania where she had obtained her concealed carry permit, crossed over into New Jersey. She was pulled over for a minor traffic violation that got out of hand when she told the officer that she not only had her Pennsylvania permit but also a firearm with ammunition. She faced felony charges, which were not imposed when New Jersey Governor Chris Christie pardoned her.
The arguments opposing Hudson’s bill have increased along with the bill’s momentum, coming, as expected, from the usual anti-gun suspects. Last month, New York City’s police commissioner, James O’Neill, joined with Manhattan’s district attorney, Cyrus Vance, Jr., in an editorial in the Wall Street Journal, claiming that such a law “would be a dangerous and unwarranted interference with state and city laws [which would undermine] public safety in some of America’s most celebrated neighborhoods and tourist attractions.” The two pictured tourists from concealed carry states riding subways, scaring the natives, and resulting in “shootouts in Times Square”:
We don’t want subways packed with pistols or shootouts in Times Square. We don’t want our highly effective gun laws superseded, overturned, or otherwise interfered with. We will fight any federal action that lets visitors bring guns to our streets.
Any time one uses such hyperbole as part of their argument merely reveals the weakness of that argument. For instance, nearby Vermont (which has enjoyed constitutional carry from its beginning and where an estimated 70 to 75 percent of adults own guns) has a violent crime rate of less than a third that of New York State. Just how would Vermonters visiting the Big Apple cause in increase in violent crime? The two worthies didn’t say.
Vance tried again, this time on his official letterhead as District Attorney for New York County. Enlisting the support from others opposed to Hudson’s CCRA, Vance wrote:
Concealed carry reciprocity is an attack on local law enforcement, and an attack on local laws. The same laws that apply to rural areas should not apply to urban areas with millions of people and thousands of police….
We will fight the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act in the halls of Congress, and, if necessary, we will fight it in the courts.
Others chimed in, including Bronx District Attorney Darcel Clark: “This proposed bill would open the floodgates of people packing firearms on City streets, exponentially increasing risks to the public, as well as to the brave men and women of the New York Police Department and other law enforcement agencies.”
And Queens DA Richard Brown:
The enactment of the [CCRA] has the strong potential of undoing the City’s downward trend in crime by allowing individuals with weapon permits from states with lax gun laws to carry a concealed weapon on our streets, putting both our police and our citizens at risk. We must do all within our power to see that this does not come to pass.
The prize for excessive hyperbole, however, goes to Nassau County DA Madeline Singas:
Proposed concealed carry reciprocity legislation will invite the mentally ill, suspected terrorists, and others who can carry a concealed weapon in states with weak gun laws to bring a hidden gun into New York Schools, churches, or bars and cause bloodshed in our communities.
Laughable though these may be, there is one chord of consistency throughout, stated either implicitly or explicitly: where does the federal government get off telling the states what to do when it comes to their sovereign rights? The Founders limited the national government’s powers in Article I, Section 8, and the Bill of Rights limited them further:
The 9th Amendment says: “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.”
And the 10th Amendment says, in effect, that if they forgot anything, that was prohibited as well: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”
Happily, the passage of time is making the “necessity” of a national CCRA less important. The states are working out reciprocity on their own, with 30 of them already allowing licensees from one state to travel freely to and in another, without running into the “Shaneen Allen problem.” Time is working in favor of Constitutionalists as well. Hudson’s bill has been delayed thanks to the focus on President Trump’s 100-Days agenda. His bill has been referred to a committee, which must vote it out favorably before it can reach the floor. If the House does pass it, the bill will meet much more resistance in the Senate where the Republicans hold a razor-thin (and often unreliable) majority.
And that’s because the Founders designed it that way: to keep temporal enthusiasms from ruling the day.
The Wall Street Journal: Don’t Mess With New York’s Gun Laws
FreeBeacon.com: New NRA Ad Pushes National Gun-Carry Reciprocity