Universal Reciprocity: My thoughts

Well, the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act has made it out of committee and is about to be debated on the House floor. A short summary of the bill from congress.gov:

This bill amends the federal criminal code to allow a qualified individual to carry a concealed handgun into or possess a concealed handgun in another state that allows individuals to carry concealed firearms.

A qualified individual must: (1) be eligible to possess, transport, or receive a firearm under federal law; (2) carry a valid photo identification document; and (3) carry a valid concealed carry permit issued by, or be eligible to carry a concealed firearm in, his or her state of residence.

Additionally, the bill specifies that a qualified individual who lawfully carries or possesses a concealed handgun in another state: (1) is not subject to the federal prohibition on possessing a firearm in a school zone, and (2) may carry or possess the concealed handgun in federally owned lands that are open to the public.

I am of mixed feelings about this legislation. On one hand, I would love to be able to carry and protect myself and my family where ever I go in this great country. I would love to go and visit my brother or sister in Illinois and be able to concealed carry a firearm. However, another part of me, which understands the intent which the Founding Fathers drafted the Constitution, with strong states and a weak federal government, disagrees with the federal government overriding the states’ rights. The states have a right to be chuckleheads and restrict their citizens’ gun rights, and their citizens have a solemn right to move to another state which respects their Constitutional rights and leave the state a vast, under-populated wasteland. Just as gun companies moved from restrictive states to ones more friendly to their business.

The pro-reciprocity side believes that a CCW permit should be viewed in the same manner as a driver’s license or a marriage license, that you can drive across state lines, and that you don’t have to remarry when you move to another state. Others, however, believe CCW permits should be more akin to medical or legal licenses. You cannot pass the bar in one state and automatically be allowed to practice law in a different one, nor can you practice medicine in a different state without passing their boards. Given that the former two examples are personal licensing, while the latter two are professional licenses. I would tend to think of a CCW in the former category.

Another problem I have with this bill is that the federal government is coming in and attempting to dictate to the states. In this case, it is a positive thing, at least to many in the country, but the gun-grabbers have done the same thing. The “assault” weapons ban in the Clinton era is a prime example of this. So what other decisions has the Federal government come in and taken away from the states? Well, Roe v Wade took the right to decide about abortion away from the states…And more recently, the supreme court ruleing forced gay marriage to be legal in all 50 states. This strikes me as a violation of both the 9th and 10th Amendments of the Constitution of the United States:

The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.                                         –Amendment IX

The Ninth Amendment was James Madison’s attempt to ensure that the Bill of Rights was not seen as granting to the people of the United States only the specific rights it addressed. In recent years, some have interpreted it as affirming the existence of such “unenumerated” rights outside those expressly protected by the Bill of Rights.

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.                    –Amendment X

The Tenth Amendment helps to define the concept of federalism, the relationship between Federal and state governments. As Federal activity has increased, so too has the problem of reconciling state and national interests as they apply to the Federal powers to tax, to police, and to regulations such as wage and hour laws, disclosure of personal information in recordkeeping systems, and laws related to strip-mining.

So having the Federal government come in and dictate to the states a policy such as this, regardless of how seemingly helpful, still smacks of “Hello, we’re here from the government, and we’re here to help.” which seems to be a harbinger of disaster and government overreach. By all rights, the Second Amendment should be all we need to carry across state lines. This legislation is trying to overcome state government overreach. Some states (Lookin’ at you here, California, New York, etc.) feel that it is their right to restrict citizens’ rights, especially when it comes to firearms. However, the right to protect yourself is a right given by God, and the states or the federal government have no right to take it away or restrict it, and they should not be able to dictate the method with which you can defend yourself and your family. If I have four home invaders, each with Glocks, and I want to defend my family with an AR-15, the government has no right to preemptively tell me what is “too much” firepower.

Aside from the personal protection which I stated above, the other thing is that there is a tendency within the socialist/communist/progressive movement, and including left-leaning republicans and establishment politicians who seem to care more about their careers and lining their pockets than doing the will of the People who elected them. It seems a number of them are trying to take guns out of the hands of the People. They are using the mainstream media to plant a negative image in the mind, where they blame legal gun owners for the actions of criminals like the Texas church shooter or the Las Vegas shooter. (And since the majority of the mass shooters, and pretty much all of the presidential shooters were liberals, who’s to say that these shooters are not being “groomed” for the role?)

At the same time, they claim to want to have “common sense gun laws.” However, their idea of “common sense” is a registry of gun owners or banning certain guns or the like. But they are focusing on a) a vanishingly small part of the deaths in America, as gun deaths are 1/100th of the number one cause of death in this country; and b) people who are generally not causing gun violence in our country.

Another worrisome issue is the patchwork of gun laws around the country. New York has the (so called) SAFE act, California has their own crazy gun laws, as does Massachusetts. So how will people from states that have more sane gun laws be treated? Am I going to have to worry, when in New York, whether the police are going to arrest me for having a 17 round magazine, even if I am only loading it with 10 rounds? It is already a known fact that police in repressive states will target CCW holders traveling through their states simply because they have a CCW. In the article linked above, the guy’s CCW was from Florida, he was traveling to NJ for Christmas and a wedding, and his firearm was locked in his safe in Florida. But that did not stop a police officer from harassing this family, and violating Amendment IV, against unwarranted search and seizure.

So these forces are using the same tactics as Adolf Hitler did in Nazi Germany, Josef Stalin did in Soviet Russia, Pol Pot did in Cambodia, and the like. They propagandized and demonized gun owners, they implemented a registry of gun owners, then they made gun owners turn them in or went and confiscated them. And we should think the progressive left wants to do this for a different reason…why? They have proven time and time again that they don’t care about the People, so why would we think they are on the up-and-up now? Fool me once, shame on you…Fool me twice, shame on me.

So there are good arguments on both sides, and I am still unsure which side I am on, but I am leaning toward the side that does not give the federal government more power.