When a firearms owner in the United States leaves the country, he loses the protection of the Second Amendment. This does not mean he loses the right to self defense. It’s a historically recent development to be legally difficult for Americans to travel abroad with weapons. Prior to WWI it was done with frequency and little hassle. Prior to WWII, it was fairly common.
Traveling with rifles and shotguns was no problem in Canada before 2001. Bringing a handgun required that the pistol be sealed when in the country; the seal was removed when re-entering the United States. In Mexico, Americans could legally bring .22 caliber rifles and pistols in and out of the country without a problem until 1972.
This is a real problem for Americans traveling through other countries. Handguns are quite useful in Alaska, for hunting and self defense, but it is a bureaucratic nightmare to cross the Canadian borders with one. In Mexico, people can end up in prison for the mere possession of a single cartridge while crossing the border.
Merely traveling to Africa or Australia to hunt has become a bureaucratic nightmare.
It does not have to be that way.
When Donald Trump re-negotiates trade agreements, he should include a provision for international reciprocity. Both Canada and Mexico have people who may legally be armed inside of their country. There are people who have permits to be armed, even if they are rare. The reciprocity would be a simple proposition. A country supplies us with a list of people who may legally carry in their country; we supply them with a list from ours. In the days of computers this is simple and easy.
Obtaining legal authority for Americans to be armed abroad could have been cemented in place shortly after WWII. Unfortunately, our leadership was “progressive” and thought the Second Amendment was old fashioned.
We could have included the provision into international arms agreements and or military aid agreements. At the time it would only have applied to a tiny number of concealed carry permits. I believe that we can still negotiate such deals.
Permits are available in both Mexico and Canada, but they are issued in very small numbers. In Mexico, From fed-soc.org:
The grounds for issuing a carry permit are: a need due to occupation or employment; special circumstances related to one’s place of residence; or other reasonable grounds. A carry permit applicant must also post a bond, and must supply five character references. Farmers and other rural workers are allowed (in theory at least) to carry legal handguns, .22 caliber rifles, and shotguns, as long as they stay outside of urban areas, and obtain a carry license.
But in practice, carry licenses are restricted to the wealthy and the politically connected.11 In a nation of 105 million people, there are only 4,300 carry licenses.
There are a similar number of permits issued in Canada. From cbc.ca:
There are just two categories of individuals who are allowed an authorization to carry: those who require one because of their occupations and those who need one for the “protection of life.” They need to get an authorization from the chief firearms officer for their province or territory.
According to RCMP data the National Firearms Association received in response to a recent access to information request, the average number of authorizations to carry issued was 8,169 per year between 2005-2011. The report does not provide a breakdown on the reasons for authorization. The access request was for information on training in firearms proficiency.
It is reasonable that trade agreements between the U.S., Canada, and Mexico include such a reciprocity agreement. People with carry permits in the United States have shown that they are far more law abiding than police.
For other countries the provision could be included as part of a defense agreement. In Europe, it could be part of NATO negotiations. In other countries, it could be part of an aid or weapons sales agreement. In many countries, it is only the powerful and wealthy who are legally armed. Many of them would like to be able to carry in the United States.
If we are going to provide arms and aid, there is no reason that trusted citizens from each country could not be allowed to carry self defense tools in the other country. It is insane that we provide billions in aid to Egypt, yet Americans who visit are required to be disarmed and helpless in the face of jihadi mobs.
I do not have problems with allowing Saudi princes to carry defensive or hunting firearms in the United States. Many may already do so under diplomatic immunity.
The reason we have not done this is clear. The “progressive” leadership of both parties in the United States want a disarmed population. Negotiating the ability to be armed abroad validates the necessity and practicality of armed self defense.
Because of American movies, many people in other countries already assume that Americans are routinely armed.
A Trump administration should work to make that assumption a reality.
©2016 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.
Link to Gun Watch