Gun rights are the ultimate political litmus test. If a politician doesn’t support the right to keep and bear arms, if he or she doesn’t “trust” citizens enough to exercise gun rights protected by the U.S. Constitution, the politician shouldn’t be trusted with power. It’s that simple. Or is it? The Supreme Court’s McDonald decision OKed “reasonable restrictions” on our Second Amendment rights. Felon? Fuhgeddaboudit. Automatic rifle? Sorry Bub. Mandatory training for concealed carry? Yup. Licensing requirements? Them too. But not if you live in Alaska, Arizona, Wyoming, Vermont and parts of Montana. . .
Citizens in those locales who own a legal gun (legally) can carry a concealed firearm without any additional paperwork, permission or fees. Just buy it, put it in your holster and go.
Constitutional Carry is the real political litmus test. One that conservative commentator Glenn Beck failed.
To be fair, Glenn Beck had never heard of Constitutional Carry. And the celebrity hadn’t invited TTAG to his green room to discuss gun rights (even though we were at the NRA’s annual meeting). We sold our chinwag as a chance to get to know Beck the gun guy: shooter, concealed carry permit holder and collector. Which we did. Here’s the whole thing:
But you know how we roll. As the wounded felon says to Dirty Harry, I gots to know! So when Beck dropped the Obama, I asked the anti-liberal leading light if it was OK to deviate from the feature stuff and address a political question.
I described the concept of Constitutional Carry and asked Beck if he was for or agin’ it. Beck answered, eventually [7:28 in the full interview or the sound bite at the top of the post].
Beck first argued that firearms training (NRA style) is a good thing. Fearing that he was dodging the question, I interrupted his answer: should concealed carry training, registration, etc. be mandatory?
Beck jinked right, asserting that personal responsibility is also a good thing. True dat. In fact, I was convinced he was about to give Constitutional Carry the Glenn Beck Seal of Approval, and prompted him make the declaration. Not happening.
“I think we should take all this progressive nonsense of giant government and slowly unwind it as we teach ourselves to be more responsible,” Beck said. Later: “We’re not responsible enough to let someone make their own choices.”
I didn’t have time to process the idea of a slow ramp-up to freedom and Beck’s low opinion of the average Americans’ ability to control their own destiny. So Beck’s final determination of a thumbs up/thumbs down on Constitutional Carry came as a complete surprise.
“Long run? Yes. Short term? No.”
Dan and I looked at each other with something akin to shock. (Nick remained his stoic self.) Later, the three of us hashed-out the implications. There’s no way around it: Glenn Beck is in favor of gun control.
Beck doesn’t believe Americans are responsible enough for Constitutional Carry. Laws and regulations mandating concealed carry training, licensing and registration are OK with Glenn Beck.
The obvious question: if not now, when? Equally important, who decides when Americans are “ready” to exercise their constitutional right to keep and bear arms without government interference? Politicians? Voters? The NRA? Glenn Beck?
Beck’s answer to Constitutional Carry embodies the exact same kind of paternalistic thinking that informs gun control advocates’ arguments. The average schmo is simply not responsible enough to exercise their Second Amendment rights without government intervention.
I understand that there are many gun rights supporters who support mandatory training requirements for concealed carry. Maybe even most. But that does not change the wording of the U.S. Constitution, nor the founding father’s clear intentions regarding citizens’ inviolable right to keep and bear arms.
It’s not about whether or not Constitutional Carry is a good or bad idea (although I don’t see blood running in the streets in Alaska, Arizona, Vermont, Wyoming and [parts of] Montana). It’s not even about the Supreme Court’s Second Amendment loophole. It’s about respecting individual liberty.
Glenn Beck is pro-Second Amendment. But I don’t think that means what he thinks it means.