Sunday, March 20, 2011

National Concealed Carry Reciprocity

HR.822, the National Right-to-Carry Reciprocity Bill, has been reintroduced with the hope that the new Congress will be more enthusiastic about passing it following the McDonald Supreme Court decision regarding gun rights. HR.822 provides that anyone who has a valid firearm carry permit can use that permit in any other state that issues concealed weapon permits. Anyone carrying a concealed firearm would be required to comply with rules and restrictions of the state he is visiting (magazine limits, gun-free areas, etc). This bill also covers The District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and other US territories.

Congress is empowered and charged by the US Constitution to enforce the Constitution and all amendments, including the Second. Therefore, this bill is not an overreach of federal power.

I support this legislation, although I believe it does not go far enough to protect the rights of traveling gun owners. Following is why and how I believe this bill should be improved:

The Constitution requires all public officials at the local, state, and national level to swear an oath to the US Constitution. It seems to me that this obligates all those same officials to acknowledge, and remove restrictions from, the right of all responsible Americans to own and carry arms without infringement. Therefore, all local, state, and federal restrictions on the responsible and reasonable use of firearms are invalid.

Many states have preemption laws which retain to the legislature all authority to regulate the ownership and use of firearms. This restricts local governments and state bureaucrats from creating their own laws, rules and policies regarding firearms and wisely ensures uniformity of gun laws throughout that state. So, a gun owner need not worry about unknowingly violating an arbitrary gun law simply because he crosses an invisible political boundary. I argue that the Second Amendment is the nation's preemption law. It clearly states that "the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed." Therefore, I believe that HR.822 should be amended to reaffirm the Second Amendment's prohibition on infringing gun rights and to establish uniform uninfringed concealed and open carry of arms throughout the nation and its territories.

In addition, I am disappointed that HR.822 is worded to allow or permit a constitutionally-protected right. It was the opinion of the founders that rights are endowed by our Creator -- not something government allows! We, the people who established the Constitution and the government it describes, should never allow the government to presume that it has authority to allow anything! HR.822 should be reworded to remove restrictions on those rights rather than to allow an already guaranteed right.

Nevertheless, even if HR.822 is not so amended, I urge Congress and the acting president to ensure that it becomes law immediately.

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