H.R. 822: Be Careful What You Wish For

I’m not a lawyer, nor do I play one on TV. I’ve not stayed recently at a Holiday Inn Express. Yet I fancy myself intelligent enough to believe that I can tell a good idea from a bad one, and determine if I’m/we’re about to get played. Of course confidence men, swindlers and politicians have a name for such people. Call them “marks,” “victims,” or “constituents,” the result is all the same. And they rarely kiss you first. Which is why the latest missive from Dudley Do Right Brown of the National Association for Gun Rights gave me pause, and frankly set my Spidey sense a-tinglin’.

You wouldn’t believe the amount of crap I get in my inbox. I subscribe to a LOT of email newsletters, from gun rights groups, lobbyists, and the like. I read ‘em so you don’t have to. Frankly, a lot of what I read falls into the category of “Chicken Little-isms,” where people cry the equivalent of “the sky is falling” in order to beg for cash. I find those emails simultaneously unhelpful to the cause of the preservation of our Second Amendment rights, and downright disingenuous and boring. Particularly galling is to get one that cites a story that’s two or three years old as if it just happened. I’ve learned – the hard way – to fact-check EVERYthing I get from these email sources.

I take issue with a lot of the emails I get from the National Association for Gun Rights. I like their goals. Not so much about their methods. But every now and then, there’s a kernel of wheat in amongst the chaff.

The call to arms/plea for funds du jour from the NAFGR (sometimes I wonder if their acronym wouldn’t be more accurate if it spelled out “NAGYOU” or something like it), mentions some well-meaning, but in my opinion very misguided pro-gunners are working to pass a bill that could turn into a Trojan Horse for more gun control.

Frankly, I skim most of the NAFGR emails, and assign them to the electronic version of a circular file, if you know what I mean. But this one, for some reason, grabbed my attention long enough to read the whole thing. (Well, right up until the point where Dudley started begging for Benjamins.)

The “National Reciprocity Act” is supposed to force any state that authorizes conceal carry to reciprocate with permits issued by other states, much like every state in the union recognizes your state-issued driver’s license, regardless of the issuing state. Great idea. But the road to Hell is paved with not just good intentions, but great ideas. It’s that Law of Unintended Consequences that is a stone cold beeyatch.

Dudley’s point is that the bill has a couple of serious flaws:

  • It uses the Federal bureaucracy to implement the policy
  • It opens the door to the Feds setting standards for CCW permits, a potential first step in giving them a route in to regulate and restrict gun rights
  • Because of the legislative process, it is anything BUT immune to amendments that could represent a field day for those who want to restrict our rights to possess guns.
  • Because laws are administered by bureaucrats, the way the law is “interpreted” by the Obama Administration flunkies might well make the cure worse than the disease.

Hmm. Those are some interesting points. Let’s see. What Federal agency would likely be given the authority to implement such a law, once it goes on the books…um…have to be an agency charged with regulating guns…one that deals with gun registrations…oh, wait. I know. The Department of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.

RUH-rho, Rhorge!

Yessir, Mr. John Q. Gunowner, I’ve got good news and I’ve got bad news. The good news? Your concealed handgun permit will be recognized by virtually every state in the Union. The bad news? The ATF is in charge of the program. 

Yikes!

Now there’s no reason that the law couldn’t be amended, rewritten, or otherwise fixed (as in corrected) by insuring that, say the FBI is in charge of overseeing the law. I know, that’s only a minor step in the right direction. It’s like commuting a death sentence to having your arms chopped off. Have a nice day, now, y’hear? But how much do you know about how laws are made?

Remember, Jefferson himself advised that the two things you never wanted to see made are laws and sausages. Of the two, the harder one to stomach is watching laws get made. All it takes is one evil/mischievous/determined Congressional aide that slips something into the final version of the bill, and Voilá! We have verbiage that completely controverts the spirit and intent of the law.

Think that never happens? Talk to someone that’s worked on the Hill sometime. Make your hair curl, and if you have no hair, it will make it grow, curl, and then fall out again. Our pal Dudley calls this the “National CCW Registration Act.” I’m not sure he’s that far off the mark.

Here’s the deal. I’m not one to assume I’m gonna see gun grabbers under the bed every night, just waiting for their opportunity to grab my guns. But trusting in that bunch of over-paid, under-worked jackanapes we call Congress to NOT screw this up seems to me like giving them waaaay more credit than they deserve. But I’m not sure just what the solution is.

I’m sure that Chris Cox and his crack team of lobsters working the NRA-IRA wing are on top of this, but I’ve seen them back some really stupid legislation before, too. I’m really not eager to trust anybody and their motives, or take them at face value, when it comes to the potential to frittering away my hard-fought Second Amendment rights.

Dudley’s advice?

I need you to call House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith at (202)225-4236 and make clear that you want to keep the government’s hands off your permit and that you oppose federal intrusion into the concealed weapons permit process.

So what is the right answer? I think Joe Bob Briggs, the Drive-In Movie Theater Critic of Grapevine, Texas may have put it best, when he said “Without eternal vigilance, it can happen here.” If we’re going to take our freedoms for granted, we’ll soon be wondering where they went. Stay informed. Stay alert. (The world needs more lerts.) And keep in contact with your Representative and Senators. The rights you save may be your own.

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About Brad Kozak

Brad Kozak is an iconoclastic, curmudgeonly graphic designer/marketer/writer/musician/advertiser/conservative creative guy. In 2007, he completed a gradual transition from a conservative semi-pacifist to a proactive, armed citizen, willing to exercise his Second Amendment rights to protect his family and property. His idea of “gun control” is hitting where he aims.

20 Responses to H.R. 822: Be Careful What You Wish For

  1. avatarDerek says:

    I’ve thought this thing stunk since the first time I heard about it. I’ve never heard what the parameters for acceptance or denial were or if it would even be shall issue or may issue. I’ve never heard what training would be required or how rigorous the background check would be or if your medical info would be required/subpoenaed and at the end of the day it grows the fed, gives them more information on gun owners, and puts them in charge of yet another part of our lives. I wouldn’t put the federal government in charge of taking my garbage cans to the curb let alone managing and making sure my CHL information was accurate and up to date.

  2. avatarDouble A.D. says:

    While I don’t think this bill has a snowball’s chance in hell of passing, I think that Mr. Dudleys assumptions are pure paranoia and fear mongering to raise more funds ala the NRA.

  3. avatarotalps says:

    What Federal agency overlooks State Issued driver license reciprocity?

  4. avatarDirk Diggler says:

    It would be helpful if people would take time to read the freaking legislation. THERE IS NO FEDERAL STANDARD OR AGENCY ADMINISTIRING THIS!!! This would require states to honor each other’s permits if they issue CCW permts. PERIOD. This is the same as driver’s licenses, marriage licenses, educational degrees, birth certificates, death certificates, etc. THIS HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH A NATIONAL PERMITTING PROCESS just like there is no national drivers’ license. However, the National Association for Gun Rights is opposed because once states have to honor each others’ permits, this opens the door for shall issue across the country and guess whose lobbyists and fundraisers would be suddenly out of work??

    If anyone has any issue with this legislation, it would be those opposed to gay marriage because the arguments are the same and frankly fall with the logic in support of this legislation.

    • avatarBrad Kozak says:

      I’ve read the bill. But as I’ve mentioned before, my ex worked on the Hill. I’m well-versed in how laws get made. The bill does not have any mechanism to specify an agency to oversee this. Not YET, anyway. But bureaucracy is to the law what barnacles are to a ship’s hull. It’s no stretch of the imagination at all to think that a bunch of clowns like the ATF would take a law like this and start “administering” it on their own, until/unless somebody stops them. Or then there’s the whole amendment process to the original bill, which (again, as I pointed out) can completely change the intent of the legislation.

      I agree that much of this is over-the-top speculation, hand-wringing, and fear-mongering. (Don’t mean to sound like a broken record here, but I DID point that out in the post.) But (again) without eternal vigilance, it can happen here.

    • avatarBrock Manson says:

      Dirk,

      Which Constitutional amendment is it that protects drivers? I seem to have forgotten that one…

      My point is this: don’t compare the two. If anything, mentioning that process hurts you — have you been to a DMV lately?

      Look at how much the Second amendment has been “infringed” upon; that you would argue for an agency such as the DMV to be involved in a Constitutionally protected right is more than slightly disturbing. Or would you rather have the county clerks who handle your birth certificates determining whether or not to hand you your permit? Lovely folks, those. Let me know how that works for you.

      The simple fact is this: if the Second Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America has not guaranteed that states fall in line with other states’ concealed carry law, what in the name of all that is good and pure on this earth makes you think that just one more law will make it all better???

      • avatarDirk Diggler says:

        I take it you have not read Prof. David Kopel’s testimony on HR 822? He has a very nice summary of the 14th Amendment as it relates to the privileges and immunities clause, including the fundamental right to travel, which would encompass, among other things, the right to drive.

        Moreover, the main reason that states have not honored their 2nd Amendment obligations is there has been no real 2nd Amendment litigation since the 1920s. Heller and McDonald are seminal not only for their findings but also that the Supremes took them up in the first place! The court under Roberts has only taken about 90 cases a year out of approx. 10,000 appeals filed. Now that there is increased interest in the 2nd Amendment from this court, there is greater scrutiny on the disparate standards applied in the different states. Much like how civil rights litigation took 20+ years to implement Brown v Board, this is not a short walk through the park. There has to be a systematic approach to challenge restrictions and not a full onslaught overnight.

        The fact that state DMV’s or county clerks can act arbitrary does not mean that their behavior stands up to an eventual suit.

        • avatarBrock Manson says:

          Dirk,

          Though I am not familiar with Kopel’s specific piece, I am familiar with the concept of “right to travel” as it has been argued from a Constitutional law perspective. And this brings me back to what I wrote earlier — this doesn’t help your argument in the least. It implies that, because we have instituted massive bureaucracies such as the DMV to control one’s Constitutional right once, then it’s totally okay to do it again with an even more fundamental right.

          Seriously, how can anyone argue that the DMV is a great thing and beneficial to our country? In fact, they represent a model for gun owners as exactly what not to get ourselves into.

          Think about this:
          A permit system that is accessible by any law enforcement agency in the country at any moment, controlled by minimum wage weenies who require testing that apparently differs based on what country you are from.

          Gee, that sounds….great…?

          Again, using driver’s license as a model only helps the argument against HR 822.

          Stop and consider this: If a law like this were proposed for issues dealing with the First Amendment, would you be for it? Of course not. It would be absolutely outrageous. And yet, because it’s the Second Amendment, it is somehow different (even in the mind of gun owners, apparently). Why?

          This bill represents a micro-step forward with very serious potential for a massive leap backwards.

        • avatarDirk Diggler says:

          you might want to read the good professor’s works first: http://judiciary.house.gov/hearings/hear_09132011.html

          and if you have such a problem with DMV in your state with the whole ID thing, I suspect then you must be cool with national ID cards instead. After all, you need ID to get on a plane, document your status for a job, and a whole host of other things, then if your state employees are too incompetent and not up to the task, a new federal bureaucracy is so much better.

        • avatarBrock Manson says:

          Utterly hopeless, this is. At what point did I argue for “a new federal bureaucracy”? I was arguing against that, and you are now helping me do so.

          How on earth you get the idea that I want a national ID system because I don’t like the state one is….interesting, to say the least.

          Here’s one for you. If I say that I think the BATFE is a waste of tax-payer dollars, do you infer that I:

          A) think the BATFE is a waste of tax-payer dollars and should be done away with, or…

          B) think that, since the BATFE is a waste of tax-payer dollars, we should institute a GLOBAL version of the BATFE to give it more power.

          Never mind. Don’t answer that.

  5. avatarElliotte says:

    You could always refer to the organization as the NAGR, just leave out the “for”. Kinda like how the Boy Scouts of America goes by BSA not BSoA, or how the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People is the NAACP not NAftAoCP.

  6. avatarHSR47 says:

    I agree that HR822 is a bad idea; It adds more *federal* legislation tells the states what they can do, while in the end the people continue to be shafted.

    What we ACTUALLY need is a bill that withholds ALL FEDERAL FUNDING from any state that does not allow full constitutional concealed and open carry, without any sort of permit. This would be better, because it is constitutional (offering an incentive for states to change their laws, rather than abusing the commerce clause), and rather than stomp all over the rights of the states (while they’re busy grinding the people under their heels), it *encourages* them to RESTORE the rights of the people.

      • avatarDaveY says:

        Honestly, some of the fear mongering here… from OUR SIDE is a foreboding and ominous example of why we fail.”I’ve read the bill. But as I’ve mentioned before, my ex worked on the Hill.

        I’m well-versed in how laws get made. The bill does not have any mechanism to specify an agency to oversee this. Not YET, anyway. But bureaucracy is to the law what barnacles are to a ship’s hull. It’s no stretch of the imagination at all to think that a bunch of clowns like the ATF would take a law like this and start “administering” it on their own, until/unless somebody stops them.

        Or then there’s the whole amendment process to the original bill, which (again, as I pointed out) can completely change the intent of the legislation.I agree that much of this is over-the-top speculation, hand-wringing, and fear-mongering. (Don’t mean to sound like a broken record here, but I DID point that out in the post.) But (again) without eternal vigilance, it can happen here.

        Brad… You admit here that there is no enabling language for a federal bureaucracy, but then point your finger straight at the gun owner boogeyman, ATF. We must be seeing different things in that bill. Let’s look back into history and I’m sure we can pull numerous examples out of our respective hats.

        FOPA ’86.Regarding the interstate transportation of firearms, what federal bureaucracy enforces that upon the states?Oh wait… you can transport guns across state lines… forgot about that. Yes, we do have that pesky ban on post ’86 machine guns to deal with, but instead of 1 single gun rights organization, there are now over 100. Instead of a few thousand active gun owners there are now scores of millions of politically active gun owners.

        How about the LEOSA? That’s right… cops can now carry guns across state lines..Or, how about this – The Coburn amendment ending the National Parks ban on firearms. That, as we all know was a trojan horse for gun control and administered by …Oh wait. you can carry guns in National Parks now.

        These are generic and imperfect examples, but the point is that in this case the NRA-ILA talking points are mostly right. We are so conditioned by previous experiences – real or imagined with interest groups panning the federal government that we inherently distrust anything the government does. But Brad, just as you pointed out even a blind squirrel periodically scores an acorn.

        HR822 is the federal government / blind squirrel acorn.Yes, it’s a good dream to imagine that “so called” constitutional carry would be the law of the land, but it’s not just unrealistic fantasy. It’s not even in the realm of possibility. The MD, NY, NJ courts and even the 4th US Court of Appeals have all said in one way or another that you “don’t have the right two bear arms outside the home, period” .

        The so called “principled opposition” to HR822 is basically a form of Stockholm syndrome because many refuse to accept that the government can do any good. In the mind of someone so affected, the utopian “constitutional carry” is the law of the land, GCA ’68 is repealed and there is no federal gun control at all, but there is no objectively workable plan to achieve this utopian goal. HR822 presents an opportunity to move the ball forward, it is opposed by the VPC, Brady campaign and Mad Mike Bloomberg.

        When you are siding with Mad Mike & the Brady campaign, you are not an advocate for the right to keep and bear arms.

        • avatarHSR47 says:

          “When you are siding with Mad Mike & the Brady campaign, you are not an advocate for the right to keep and bear arms.”

          You yourself stated in your post that the administration of HB822 would fall under the jurisdiction of the BATFE(ARBF). We’ve all seen, through numerous examples spanning several decades, just how the BATFE(ARBF) is corrupt to it’s very core. I, for one, DO NOT trust them to wield any power whatsoever, much less giving them more power then they already have. I fail to see how opposition to a bill that would, in time, likely result in TRAMPLING of my rights by the federal government is harmful to our cause.

          Keep in mind that I’m from PA, and as of this writing, our LTCF is good for 5 years, costs 20 dollars, and only requires payment, filling out a form, and a passport-sized photo. Give the BATFE(ARBF) an inch, and they’ll take a mile; HB822 would likely be used by the BATFE(ARBF) as an excuse to standardize licensing across all states, which would almost certainly result in costing more time and money, both directly (through fees and wait times), and indirectly (through additional training and/or certifications/qualifications).

          I can understand the idea of giving up an apple to save the orchard, but giving the BATFE(ARBF) this power seems more akin to giving up the orchard to maybe get the occasional apple.

          Also, the 1968 GCA (itself copied from the Nazi Weapons Laws of the 1930′s) is FAR from the only federal “gun control” laws, which started at least as early as 1934 with the NFA.

  7. avatarGS650G says:

    I would support a federal permit that all states, DC, territories and even San Fran have to honor that certifies the person holding it has full 2A rights. But the current and future bureaucracy is not to be trusted with creating and administering such a program. It’s that simple. From onerous and outrageous training requirements to fees and costs there is no limit to what they could come up with. Look at the lobbyists around K street.

    40 years ago , before the creation of relational databases, this would have been easier to accept. Technological advances makes me suspect any plan the feds hatch.

  8. avatarRalph says:

    What a bunch of pure unadulterated horse sh!t. Using NAFGR’s distorted “logic,” no pro-2A legislation should or could ever be passed by Congress. Nonsense. Sometimes, we are our own worst enemy. No, make that most of the time. With “friends”like NAFGR, we don’t need enemies.

    Right now, somewhere in Europe, George Soros is laughing his sick f^cking ass off. At us.

  9. avatarTodd says:

    The whining about this bill is all black-helo stuff.

    1. read the bill. there is no federal agenciy involved.

    2. there are no “national” standards. If you allow permits, you must recognise other state permits. similar tot he full faith and credit clause like DLs and marriage lic.

    3. yes bills can be amended. but with 245 co-sponsors, we are past the minimum needed to pass so we can controll the process and at the face value of the bill, take it as is cause this is what people signed on to. no deals need to be made on the text of the bill to get it passed.

    so we can beat back hostile amendments. and depending on the rule for consideration, limit amendments offered.

    4. the interpretations will come from locals and AGs most likley. most fo the AGs are on our side. then you will have federal cour challenges to locals that don’t want to play ball. There is a minimum of who will be involved. most likely, the locals will toss of their hands and go along, cuase they won;t want the headache of sorting all of it out and the threat if litigation.

    this is chicken little stuff from the amatures, who want to think that the feds are scheming to come and send the black suited ninjas to grab, your guns, land and cows.

    they can’t even pull off a smuggling operation and they are going to do this?

    they can’t even get the reporting stuff on rifles right and they are going to go after 7 million carry permits, yea right.

  10. avataryakima2k says:

    Agree with Ralph. I realize the Federal government in its current form is a sloppy mess, but the Federal government is the body responsible for protecting our Constitutional rights from regional arbitrariness of our State governments. Every Federal bill that expands Federal protection of the Second Amendment are steps in the right direction.

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