The bill has been introduced, and the naysaying and fear-mongering have already begun.
In case you wondered, I’m referring to the Constitutional Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017, introduced last week by U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas. Simply put, Senate Bill 446 would eliminate the confusing patchwork of state carry laws by allowing individuals who possess concealed-carry permits from their home state or who are not prohibited from carrying concealed in their home state to exercise those rights in any other state that does not prohibit concealed carry.
The bill is simple and straightforward. And the National Rifle Association is wholeheartedly supporting it.
“The current patchwork of state and local gun laws is confusing and can cause the most conscientious and law-abiding gun owner to run afoul of the law when they are traveling or temporarily living away from home,” said Chris W. Cox, executive director of NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action. “Sen. Cornyn’s legislation provides a much-needed solution to a real problem for law-abiding gun owners.”“Sen. Cornyn’s legislation provides a much-needed solution to a real problem for law-abiding gun owners.” — NRA-ILA Executive Director Chris W. Cox
The question up for debate is whether the God-given right of law-abiding Americans to defend themselves ends the minute they leave their own state and enter another. If you believe the Second Amendment protects the right to keep and bear arms throughout the nation, it’s hard to logically argue that freedom ends when you cross the nearest state line.
But that doesn’t stop those who oppose private gun ownership from arguing anyway. And it doesn’t stop them from using the same fear-mongering tactics they’ve been using for the past three decades since concealed-carry laws began taking the nation by storm.
After Cornyn introduced the bill, the handwringing from the likes of John Feinblatt, president of Michael Bloomberg’s Everytown group, commenced immediately.
“Senator Cornyn’s bill is a dream for the gun lobby and a nightmare for public safety,” Feinblatt said, adding the measure would be “gutting America’s public safety laws.”
Bloomberg’s internet mouthpiece The Trace quickly joined in. A recent headline read, “New Bill Would Force States to Allow Visiting Gun Owners to Pack Heat Without a Permit.” And The Los Angeles Times has said such a measure would be a “disaster for public safety.”
While most opposed to national reciprocity have stopped short of saying, “Blood will run curb-deep in the streets,” or, “We’ll go back to the days of the Wild, Wild West,” they’re simply making those same claims in a somewhat less dramatic manner. The point they are trying to convey is that law-abiding citizens carrying concealed handguns are a grave danger to themselves and others.Concealed-carry permit holders nationwide are among the most law-abiding citizens anywhere.
That, however, is simply untrue. Consider these facts:
Every state in our nation recognizes the right of residents to lawfully carry a concealed handgun in public for self-defense, and more than 15 million Americans do so. Yet over the past 30 years, as more and more states have loosened carry regulations, violent crime has dropped drastically;
Concealed-carry permit holders nationwide are among the most law-abiding citizens anywhere. According to data provided by the states of Florida and Texas, concealed carriers are between six and 10 times less likely to commit a crime than even police officers (who, in turn, are more law-abiding than the general population); and
National reciprocity is already a reality in the 22 states that recognize all other concealed-carry licenses or allow law-abiding non-residents to carry a firearm without a license.
And as NRA-ILA’s Cox explains, “This legislation would not override state laws governing the time, place or manner of carriage or establish national standards for concealed carry. Individual state gun laws would still be respected. If under federal law a person is prohibited from carrying a firearm, they will continue to be prohibited from doing so under this bill.”
The cold, hard truth is that anti-freedom groups and individuals have been lying about concealed carry, and concealed carriers, for decades. You couldn’t believe them then, and you can’t believe them now in the debate over national reciprocity.
Mark Chesnut has been the editor of America’s 1st Freedom magazine for nearly 17 years and is an avid hunter, shooter and political observer.