President Trump is due to address the National Rifle Association convention this weekend. There’s no doubt that he’ll get a standing ovation for, well, lots of things. But especially his support for national concealed carry reciprocity. Which, as The People of the Gun know, will be the most important fight for gun rights in our lifetime.
That’s discounting the fight that gun rights advocates have already won: the struggle to place a conservative judge on the Supreme Court so that the Court will recognize Americans’ right to bear arms outside the home without government infringement. Well, without having to prove a need to local or state government.
Obviously, the correct position is constitutional carry. An American shouldn’t have to have to ask the government — any government — for permission t0 bear arms. But a Supreme Court ruling striking down all “may issue” permitting schemes would move gun rights-defiling states like California and New Jersey a long, long way towards restoring residents’ firearms freedom.
Good luck with that! Meanwhile, national reciprocity.
If Uncle Sam can pass a law mandating that all states recognize each other’s concealed carry permits, it would be the equivalent of Dorothy pulling back the curtain on The Wizard of Oz.
When armed out-of-staters enter may-issue “gun free zones” like New York City and nothing happens, it will undermine the entire rationale for that city or state’s gun control regime. No blood in the streets? So . . . what is the point of may-(a.k.a., no)-issue again?
At the same time, a national reciprocity law would motivate gun residents of may-issue cities and states to push for “gun reform” [sic]. If out-of-staters can safely carry in our city or state, why the Hell can’t we? Why not indeed.
National reciprocity would trigger a sea change in cultural attitudes towards guns. Which is why the civilian disarmament industrial complex is gearing-up to fight it tooth and nail. Like this [via thetrace.org]:
Law enforcement officials are one prominent source of opposition. They argue that the bills would complicate, not simplify, their jobs. Baltimore County Chief of Police Jim Johnson, the chairman of the National Law Enforcement Partnership to Prevent Gun Violence, told The Trace that the reciprocity proposals put police officers in danger, forcing them “at 2 o’clock in the morning” to confront armed out-of-staters with unfamiliar credentials.
Groups like Johnson’s are likely to play a big role in opposing the national reciprocity legislation; their involvement helps counter claims that opposition to the bills comes largely from coastal liberals.
Prosecutors also represent a similarly potent source of resistance.In a March Wall Street Journal op-ed, New York Police Commissioner James O’Neil and Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. argued that a national concealed-carry policy would represent “a dangerous and unwarranted interference with state and city laws.”
Gun safety organizations are also gearing up for a major push against the proposal. Everytown for Gun Safety, which provides a portion of The Trace’s funding, has vowed to spend heavily against lawmakers who support the bill. Borrowing a page from the NRA, the group says it will score members of Congress based on their votes for or against the reciprocity measure.
So the antis know there’s everything to play for. As indicated above, their chief argument is state’s rights! A funny argument from people who support national protections for gay marriage and abortion, the right to which is difficult (though not impossible) to find in the text of the U.S. Constitution.
So what are the odds of passage?
A national concealed-carry bill could easily pass the House, where Hudson’s bill had 188 co-sponsors as of mid-April. President Trump has said he would happily sign it. But it faces an uphill battle in the Senate, where Republicans would need 60 votes — including eight from Democrats — to overcome a filibuster from Democrats, which, on this bill, is considered inevitable . . .
Democrats remain confident they can block the measure. Senate aides said that some Democrats who backed the bill in 2013 when it had no chance of becoming law would likely now oppose it.
Chris Cox, head of the NRA’s lobbying arm, has stopped short of predicting passage.
“It’s going to be a hard fight,” Cox said in January.
Well, there’s nothing the NRA likes more than a hard fight (especially for fund-raising). And if Republicans used the filibuster-filleting nuclear option for Gorsuch’s nomination, would they have the stones to use it for national reciprocity? We shall see.