Gun legislation usually attacks guns, be it as a whole or in certain types. But the NRA has taken a new turn in its tactics, going from fighting anti-gun legislation to helping to introduce a pro-gun rights bill, H.R. 822, the National Right-to-Carry Reciprocity Act of 2011. A delegation of Congress members, led by Congressmen Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.) and Heath Shuler (D-N.C.) have put this bill into motion to ensure that guns rights are maintained all across the country, much to the dismay of anti-gun groups.
The National Right-to-Carry Reciprocity Act would give holders of concealed weapons permits the ability to carry their firearms in any state, regardless of that state’s stance on concealed carry. Reciprocity is common already among states with strong pro-gun laws. For instance, a Texas permit is a permit to carry in all but 17 states. (usacarry.com) A Texas CHL holder can carry in any of the other 32 states that honor the Texas license without fear of criminal charges. This is a good thing, since a Texan on vacation or business will want the same level of safety they can have in Texas. From the same source, Illinois bans all carry of handguns, and California only honors the permits it “may issue” (which usually means “will not issue”) to California residents.
What we have is a national minefield for those wanting to carry concealed. Some states honor your permit, some states do not. Right now you can freely exercise your Second Amendment rights in one state while another will mark you a criminal if you try doing it in their borders.
Pro-gun advocates see the foolishness in this. Concealed carry permit holders are widely regarded as some of the safest, most responsible members of society. States typically see a drop in crime after passing concealed carry permit laws. Even still, anti-gun groups are in a frenzy about this bill. Groups like the Brady Campaign and Mayors Against Illegal Guns have lashed out at this bill, with a perplexing argument citing states’ rights. (nraila.org) They say that it is the state’s decision to make gun laws, and the national government has no place in telling them who should be carrying what weapon in their state. Yes, the 10th Amendment does state that any powers not given to the US government are for the state government. But there are two things that these groups are forgetting. First, the Second Amendment, which has been ruled by the Supreme Court as upholding individual gun rights, states that gun rights “shall not be infringed”. So basically the Congress is trying to make sure that no one’s rights are tampered with with this bill. That sounds pretty good. They also seem to fail to understand that it is not a government’s right to take away freedoms, something that a lot of people in tricorn hats fought against in the late 18th century.
If you carry concealed, plan on carrying concealed, or love your gun rights, this should be a bill that you should vehemently support. Anyone who cares about freedom should also support this great bill, as it strips away a great deal of government regulation aimed at keeping responsible citizens from using their rights. Spread the word, let your voice be heard, and keep working on making the United States into “the Land of the Free” once again.