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Bad Federal Arguments to Limit Your Rights

October 23, 2011


HB 822 is a bill in congress to establish a national law requiring reciprocity between states for those who carry concealed weapons.   Basically it says that you can carry concealed in a state if you’re licensed, if the state’s citizens can carry, and you have to obey local laws.  The bill also says that a visitor has the same rights to self defense as an unrestricted citizen.

Let me explain this in familiar terms. You can drive in another state if the state allows its own citizens to drive.  You have to be 16 years old to drive if the local driving age is 16.  Maybe the locals have to be 18 to drive alone at night.  So you are allowed to drive at night if you’re 18 or older.  You have to obey the same speed limits as the rest of the citizens.  If everyone has to walk, then you have to walk.  Simple.  We follow rules like this every day.  So why is there so much discussion about “states rights” when it comes to carry licenses?

Some states are extremely restrictive with their weapons permits.  They restrict the time, manner and place where citizens may legally carry.  Some states only grant permits to law enforcement and special political patrons.  Remember that some local politicians get special contributions for dispensing these favors so they sure don’t want to loose that power.  Let’s review how the rule of law used to work as you drove across the United States as late as the 1970s.

“I see from your license and registration that you’re not from around here, and from what I can tell, you’re not related to anyone who lives here either.  Now, you drove through our poor county and we don’t like strangers driving around at night.  We’ve decided you need to pay a fine for driving that fancy car.  Would you like to pay me now, or should we visit my uncle the judge?”

Yes, the arguments against national reciprocity are really as blatant and self serving as a shakedown by a country deputy.   We might be having a similar discussion if the chief of police issued drivers licenses and we were debating whether or not to share our city streets with people from out of state.  Since many gun permits are issued by local law enforcement, each county sheriff and his political organization is saying, “We have our local citizens where we want them and we don’t want you disturbing the system of power we’ve worked hard to establish.”  The politicians yearn for the good old days when citizens knew and kept their proper place.

Defenders of the existing feudal licensing scheme claim that their state has special needs.  (Yes, there are a few “special needs” states in these United States.  They have been taking the short bus for years now.)  So what!  Of course each state tests its drivers in slightly different ways to obtain a license.  Some towns allow right turns at a red traffic light, and others don’t.  We now post traffic signs so the regulations are explicit and not a matter of local knowledge.  Gun laws also differ slightly from state to state, and most of the differences are similarly arbitrary.

It is as if California didn’t allow you to cross the border in your pickup truck because your truck is not on their list of approved vehicles.  At the border they say, “In our state, we only let certain people drive that kind of truck.  Now why would you be needing one?”

Don’t you recognize the same old political excuses?

  • “People will be dying all over the place if we let you drive a truck like that in our state.
  • “We have a long tradition of truck control, and it has served us well.
  • “Only criminals drive that kind of truck and we won’t stand for it here.
  • “Strangers simply don’t understand our system of truck regulation, and we need to keep foreign trucks out of their hands for their own protection.
  • “You wouldn’t want one of our children to get their hands on a truck like this, now would you?
  • “Our local government knows its citizens and determines the trucks that best serve their needs.”

What every you say, Mister Mayor.  Yes sir, Mister Sheriff.   The sad and simple truth is that visitors make the locals look bad by comparison.  Freedom is a heady drink and might upset the political machine.  Well I think the machine should be upset and turned over.  Shame on them; the local politicians are so busy protecting their political machine that they can’t help their citizens protect themselves.

I hope the national reciprocity law passes.  More to the point, it will say quite a bit about the United States if it does not pass.  The cynic will claim that the more things change, the more they stay the same, but many of our current gun laws are like a drive back through the 1970s.  Vote by vote we will see.  We will see if the county political machine is really ready for Hope and Change.  Call your congressman and give the wheels of progress a nudge forward.  Find them here.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. Doug Huffman permalink
    November 3, 2011 2:03 am

    Argument by analogy is a weak syllogism, first the new argument must be made and then its parallelism must be established. Mush better is an argument from first principles, much harder, too, with an unlettered and nearly illiterate audience.

    Clearly the author must be too young to remember the 55 mph national speed limit debate. What might be the analogous regulation of the national right to carry law, and would it not be infringing?

    No, states rights is a fine teergruben for tyrant wannabes. Teergruben is ‘tar pit’ without tar-baby’s racial overtones.

    A law enacted by the stroke of a pen is rescinded by the stroke of another pen (except tax laws).


  2. Jeff Rau permalink
    November 3, 2011 6:27 am

    My concern about HB 822 is that it will probably lead to federal control over concealed handgun permits (CHP). People from my home state of NC with a CHP can now carry in all but 12 states and the District of Columbia. So we are doing quite well without federal involvement.

    That said, if the feds DON’T mess with CHP laws this could be incentive for may issue states to become shall issue. Which IMO would be a good thing.


    • November 3, 2011 6:01 pm

      Jeff, I can’t predict future federal legislation very well. I think we’re better off with this bill than without it.


  3. Willy permalink
    November 3, 2011 8:04 pm

    The difference with driver licenses is that every state has passed a law recognizing licenses from other states and foreign countries as well. That’s why you can drive across the country legally.

    This law does nothing for people in may-issue states or in states with no carry license at all, who are still suffering an infringment of their 2nd Amendment rights. Congress should first work on a law to restore everyone’s rights.


    • November 4, 2011 2:42 am

      “Congress should first work on a law to restore everyone’s rights.” Yes, and I think this law is a step in that direction. 822 is not the last step, but another step.


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