Yahoo News teased a favorable article on national concealed carry reciprocity that ran at Al-Jazeera US. Gun rights activists have sought national reciprocity for some years now. Under President Obama, a sure veto precluded serious consideration. However, under President Donald J. Trump, the concept has gained a good deal of momentum.
National reciprocity amounts to nation-wide recognition of carry licenses in all fifty-seven states. In a sense, it would require treating your CCW permit just like your driver’s license. Obviously, some details need to be resolved. Such as those living in the ever-growing number of states with constitutional carry, for instance (most of them don’t have carry permits). Also, gun owners living in “may issue” states need a mechanism for non-resident licensure.
Here’s a teaser of the Al-Jazeera story by Joe Stepansky:
What is national concealed carry reciprocity?
If passed, the law would force every town to honour gun laws of the most permissive states for people from those states.
When Jeffrey Scott Pitts opened fire in a crowded liquor store off of a Georgia Highway in 2015, killing two men, Todd Scott, a civilian inside the shop, pulled out his gun and returned a volley of bullets. Pitts fled.
“I believe that if Mr Scott did not return fire at the suspect, then more of those customers would have [been] hit by a gun,” County Sheriff Eric Levett said after the shooting, according to local reports. “So, in my opinion, he saved other lives in that store.”
Scott’s story – and others where firearms were purportedly used to thwart an attack – has been cited by many in a growing movement pushing for more people to be allowed to legally carry guns in more public places across the US.
“We’re fighting for people’s rights to carry the firearms and other weapons they need to defend themselves,” said John Boch, the executive director of Illinois-based Guns Save Life, an organisation that vows to “defend your right to defend yourself”.
…Priority number one for the NRA, which endorsed Trump and spent $30m on his campaign, is national concealed carry reciprocity. Trump supports the policy.
Many states require gun owners to obtain permits to carry a concealed weapon, with varying levels of restrictiveness. Some don’t require permits and allow any gun owner who meets an age restriction to carry guns – so-called permitless states.
If passed, the controversial law would mean every town, city, and jurisdiction would have to honour the gun laws of the most permissive states with regards to gun owners from those states.
…”We’re going to allow Americans to defend themselves with a lot less hoops they’ll have to jump through to exercise their Second Amendment rights,” said Boch.”[No other president] has ever had a coalition that was tasked with unwinding gun control from the last 100-plus years and restoring the Second Amendment to what it was originally written, back to approaching 230, 240 years ago,” Boch said. “I don’t know of any administration that has respected the Second Amendment, not in the last century, certainly not into this century, until we’ve had Donald Trump here. And it’s amazing, the change.”
Stepansky’s piece covers a lot of ground. Seriously, go read the whole thing. In the end, he comes around to addressing the fears New York City politicians have at “untrained” people carrying guns in their city.
“It’s the criminals, it’s the gang members that are committing the crimes in our towns across America; it is not the concealed licensees,” said Boch. “I have faith the people with concealed carry licenses from Indiana [which has no safety requirements] will do just fine in New York City, without doing stupid things with their guns.”
Where National Reciprocity Stands
The vote for Neil Gorsuch, who was sworn in this morning, provides an excellent “worst case” road map for gun rights in the U.S. Senate. The NRA warned Senators of both parties that their vote on Gorsuch would count towards their NRA ratings.
In the Senate, all Democrats ignored the NRA’s warning and voted against the nomination except for three NRA A-rated Senators who are already expecting tough sledding in their 2018 reelection campaigns: Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Joe Donnelly (D-IN). Several other Democrat senators highly-rated by the NRA in the past sided not with their constituents, but with minority leader Chuck Schumer’s oppose-them-at-all-costs leadership. These include Jon Testor (D-MT), Bob Casey (D-PA), and Martin Heinrich (D-NM).
Looking dispassionately at national reciprocity legislation, Schumer will undoubtedly filibuster the bill if it comes for a vote. Unless Senate President Mitch McConnell makes a rules change to eliminate the 60-votes for cloture rule, we probably don’t have the votes. The pro-reciprocity forces have about 58 votes, tops.
On a perfect day, with three NRA C-rated Democrats thrown in, we might reach 61 pro-gun votes. But perfect days don’t come along often. Count on serious, behind-the-scenes arm twisting by Schumer and company of those middle-of-the-road senators – Bennett (D-CO), Leahy (D-VT) and Udall (D-UT).
In short, getting Congressional action on this and other major pro-gun legislation looks iffy at best. Unfortunately, this goes double with the current radical attitudes of Democrats in Washington.
Things can change, especially if bitterness from last fall’s elections begins to fade. What’s more, if gun owners aggressively lobby those NRA C-rated Democrat Senators for their support, we could see good things. After all, when politicians feel the heat, they tend to see the light.
A little help from the the Trump administration would help, too.