Here’s yet another clear reminder of the stark difference between sheriffs and chiefs of police where gun rights are concerned. Yesterday, a Pennsylvania sheriff made news by announcing that his department won’t be doing any business with companies that made a show of cutting ties with the NRA after the Parkland shooting.
On the flip side of the gun rights coin, today we get news that the International Association of Chiefs of Police took some time out of their busy day yesterday to send a letter to Congress. What prompted them to put pen to paper? Simple: the terrifying prospect that Americans who are licensed to carry a concealed firearms might be able to do so in all 50 states without being hassled, harassed or arrested.
“This legislation,” the letter states, “is a dangerous encroachment on individual state efforts to protect public safety, and it would effectively nullify duly enacted state laws and hamper law enforcement efforts to prevent gun violence.”
It’s difficult to imagine anything more horrific than New Jersey being forced to recognize a Kansas-issued concealed carry permit just as they would a drivers or marriage license. In fact, what they really fear is what could happen when the millions of people who live in may-issue (effectively, won’t issue in many jurisdictions) states discover that cousin Jim from Ohio can carry his M&P SHIELD pistol when he comes to visit, but they can’t.
Houston Chief Art Acevedo — a longtime opponent of relaxing any restrictions on the right to keep and bear arms — made the
excuse case for opposing national reciprocity.
“Texas is a state that takes gun ownership seriously,” said Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo. Texas requires an applicant to receive training and demonstrate proficiency with a weapon before receiving a permit. “Until we have that kind of standard nationwide,” Acevedo said, “we should not be forced to accept reciprocity with places where any buffoon who has a pulse gets to carry a gun. We want a national standard. … It should not be a one-size-fits-all.”
Funny, we haven’t heard him complain about other states’ varying standards for issuing drivers licenses. And more people die behind the wheel every year than are shot to death. Besides, states that aren’t blatantly anti-gun already recognize most other states’ carry permits and Texas recognizes all but a handful.
The bill’s chief sponsor is Rep. Richard Hudson, R-N.C. When the bill passed the House in December, he said: “For the overwhelming majority of Americans who support concealed-carry reciprocity, Christmas came early.”
In response to the police chiefs’ letter, Hudson’s spokeswoman, Tatum Gibson, said: “With all due respect, they are failing to recognize that concealed-carry reciprocity is already a well-established concept between many of these states. A North Carolina [concealed carry] permit holder, for example, can legally carry a concealed weapon in 38 states, and the average state honors concealed carry permits from 32 other states.”
It would be nice to think that the chiefs actually have something to worry about in terms of the reciprocity bill’s imminent passage. But given the current climate in Washington, don’t look for any movement on concealed carry reciprocity any time soon.