Alan Korwin writes [via ammoland.com]: On Dec. 7 2017 the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R.38 – Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017. The Senate’s carry-bill — S.446 – Constitutional Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017 is vastly different; it been sitting idle since Jan. 2017. Let’s take a closer look at the House bill . . .
Protection from arrest
Under the statute, if you are carrying and in compliance, you “may not be arrested or detained” for anything related to the firearm. Some dangerous wiggle room would be eliminated if that said “shall not” instead of “may not.” It’s a small point.
You remain subject to arrest while carrying if “there is probable cause to believe that the person is doing so in a manner not provided for by this section.” That’s a bigger point. It’s not clear what this might encompass, though it seems to say you must be in compliance to be protected.
Proper ID is “facially valid” and “prima facie evidence” you are correctly licensed under the law. The protection does not seem to extend to any other violations or offenses (jaywalking while armed?).
An offending government must pay your legal bills for false arrest
This Bill is designed discourage state and local governments from acting against out-of-state residents carrying a firearm legally. First, the prosecution has the explicit burden of proving beyond a reasonable doubt — the highest standard — that you were out of compliance. Next, if you use this law as a defense and the government loses, they must pay your legal bills. That’s a big deterrent to false charges.
Citizens can sue an offending government for false arrest
The statute includes a guarantee similar to 42 USC §1983: a right to a private lawsuit against the state, including damages, other relief and legal bills. If you are deprived of any “right, privilege or immunity” secured by this law, using any “statute, ordinance, regulation, custom or usage” of any state, you can sue. This seems to set up a conflict with authorized no-guns signs in section (b)(2): No-gun-zones can be set up, yet you can sue if your rights are denied. The right to sue is only against the government, private zones in section (b)(1) are not mentioned.
Magazines are redefined as handguns
The bill introduces a new definition of handgun, but only for the purpose of this statute.
The statute says: ‘‘The term ‘handgun’ includes any magazine for use in a handgun and any ammunition loaded into the handgun or its magazine.” If this passes, a magazine is now a handgun. Possession of a handgun introduces all sorts of complexity, which would apply to empty or loaded magazines. The bill says “any magazine for use in a handgun” so any magazine is affected.
Some states have magazines capacity laws (e.g., Massachusetts 10-round limit), while others ban certain types of ammunition (New Jersey’s ban on hollow-points). The bill seeks to protect a traveler in an unfriendly jurisdiction, who might be cited for their illegal magazines or ammo.
Redefining terms is always a cause for concern, unexpected results frequently lurk, and this one has several dark corners. Nothing prevents authorities from taking definitions from one place once enacted and using them in other places, “as matters of settled law.”
Ammo’s also redefined as a handgun
For the purposes of this law, only ammo loaded into “the handgun” is considered a handgun (loose ammo remains plain old ammo). Ammo loaded into magazines for that handgun, though not necessarily in the gun, are also, legally speaking, handguns.
If you have a loaded or empty magazine you have a handgun. If you then acquire a matching pistol, do you have two handguns? Is a six-shooter seven guns? Walking past a school zone with an empty magazine would almost violate state versions of the next law. That said . . .
The bill quashes the Clinton-Era Imaginary Gun-Free-School-Zone
A person who carries a firearm discreetly under the terms of this statute — with a state permit or in a state that doesn’t require one — is not subject to 18 USC §922q, the gun-free-school-zone law. (Open carry is not included.)
The possible combinations leave unresolved questions. For example, is a person with a carry permit from a state without Constitutional Carry who travels to a Constitutional Carry state immune from gun-free-school-zone laws? Or does the bill fail to protect a permittee outside their state of origin?
National Land Assets are open to armed citizens
A person carrying under the terms of this statute may do so in any public areas of the National Parks, a National Wildlife Refuge, public Bureau of Land Management lands, Army Corps of Engineers land, and Bureau of Reclamation land.
Federal Judges get permitless national concealed carry reciprocity
Section 104 dictates that federal judges can carry sidearms concealed nationally — without a background check, firearms training or any other precondition.
H.R. 38 attempts to “Fix NICS” (formerly H.R. 4477)
Added to the bill, page after page establishes conditions that must be met by federal agencies and authorities, to pour names into the NICS system The rapid growth of NICS is another holy grail of the gun-ban movement, an ongoing infringement steamroller with no stop in sight. I’ll detail this part of the bill in a separate post.
“Bump Fire” parts defined
SEC. 206 requires the AG to issue a report in 180 days on “bump stocks” used in crime, how often they’ve been used in crime, and attempts to define them.
The opposition to H.R. 38 assembles
When the bills get combined (IF the Senate votes) we’ll get something brand new. Both parties will argue during conference committee, change things, that’s standard. Meanwhile, the news coverage of the bill is astounding: Inventions, lies and plain stupidity. Basically, the antis are repeating every deceptive complaint the public has endured about “loosening” concealed carry permit laws.
Once again, we’re getting the BITS myth (Blood In The Streets): horrible criminals will suddenly start carrying firearms and shooting indiscriminately. Criminal laws will cease to exist or stop operating, allowing criminals to carry. Good people traveling armed will suddenly turn bad, shoot slow waiters and people at stop lights.
The public’s being told that legal carry will somehow make it harder for authorities to arrest armed criminals. That cops won’t be able to tell the difference between a good guy with a gun and a bad guy with a gun, putting their lives and the lives of innocent bystanders at risk. Some states have already insisted they will disobey the law.
“We will fight any federal action that lets visitors bring guns to our streets,” NYC police commissioner James O’Neill and Cyrus Vance, Manhattan D.A. pronounced in a self-righteous and self-contradictory guest editorial The Wall Street Journal. They complained that if the bill passes, “a person could be armed in public without ever having a background check.”
Surely these New York officials know that description fits every criminal roaming their streets right now. The bill’s only change: mere possession of a gun by a law abiding citizen will no longer be a crime under a boot, Jack. The corrupt agencies who want to continue making unconstitutional arrests and demands for your papers (which they refuse to recognize in the first place) would be prohibited from doing so.
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