I am a proponent of lawful concealed carry. It honors our natural liberties as documented in the Constitution and makes our communities safer. Research shows that lawful concealed carry permit holders are significantly more law-abiding. That is part of the reason why my office offers free concealed carry classes to members of our community.
Generally, states decide who may lawfully carry a weapon that has been lawfully obtained. Whether a weapon has been lawfully obtained is subject to a number of federal, state, and (potentially) local laws. States vary in concealed carry permit requirements. My own preference is that concealed carry permits only be issued after the applicant has qualified with his or her weapon on a range.
Lawful concealed carry can become unlawful, however, merely by crossing a state boundary. This may eliminate a person’s ability to protect themselves and their loved ones while traveling from state to state, undercutting the very reason individuals choose to carry concealed.
Earlier this month, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 38, the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act. This bill would allow residents who may lawfully carry concealed in their own states to do so in all other U.S. states and territories that recognize the rights of their own residents to carry concealed. It would also strengthen the National Instant Criminal Background Check System.
Predictably, the Bill has provoked controversy and spawned lies. One particularly blatant example is House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi‘s (D-California) claim that House Republicans voted to “invite” violent criminals, domestic abusers, and convicted stalkers to carry concealed. This statement was wrong in so many ways that even the Washington Post’s “Fact Checker” gave it a “three Pinocchios” rating. Three Pinocchios means that a claim has “significant factual error and/or obvious contradictions. This gets into the realm of ‘mostly false.’”
Opponents of the bill, who have long argued that Congress possesses almost unlimited authority to pass nationwide gun-control laws, are now hypocritically citing “states’ rights” as a reason to oppose concealed carry reciprocity. There are other spurious arguments being made against concealed carry reciprocity as well. These arguments conveniently ignore the fact that criminals don’t abide by gun (or other) laws in the first place. Allowing concealed carry reciprocity helps law-abiding citizens protect themselves against criminal predators.
The bill now must be passed by the Senate and signed into law by President Trump before it takes effect. It is unclear whether the Senate possesses the political will to do so.
Ultimately this is part of the broader fight to ensure that we continue to protect our God-given right, recognized in the Second Amendment, to keep and bear arms. “We each possess an unalienable and inherent right of self-defense, a lawfully armed citizenry is a free citizenry, and no government ever constructed has merited the total trust of its people.”
Allowing and promoting lawful gun ownership and concealed carry is good for our country. It makes our community safer, and helps us protect ourselves and our families, friends, and loved ones. Law-abiding citizens should not face unfair barriers in that effort.