If readers haven’t been following the pro-freedom news lately, it’s easy to miss that a number of states have passed a unique, welcome, necessary reform: constitutional carry. One gun rights lobbyist in Iowa announced that this was a hot issue this year, even though an Iowa legislative committee had stalled on its passage. Constitutional carry is carrying a lot of weight this year. Yet still the stigma remains that it’s dangerous, foolish to allow law-abiding citizens to carry a firearm, whether open or concealed, and without having to obtain a permit.
Activists have been firing off these arguments for decades, and they have poisoned the general consensus for a while. When I was a kid, I can still remember one particular joke from a new comic who talked about a city in Alaska—the name of which I do not remember. “In this city, everyone carries a gun on their belt.” The audience starts laughing. “Can you imagine walking down the street, and your neighbor greets you with, ‘Hey, how ya doing?'” Then the comedian made the “hold up” gesture with his hand.
“Ha Ha. So funny.” But is it true? Does a reduction in state gun restrictions lead to such, hapless irresponsible conduct?
Later that year, I visited the Museum of Tolerance, based in gun-shy Los Angeles. I remember watching a video about racism in America. In one dramatization, two people of apparently different races started arguing in a restaurant. One of them flew into a rage, took out his gun, and shot the other one dead. The implicit message? “Guns are scary. Concealed carry is dangerous! Angry people will take out their guns and shoot people!” But … Is that what really happens with the reduction in regulations and the removal of the gun permitting process?
Not at all. In fact, when states allow law-abiding citizens to exercise their rights in full, there is actually less crime to contend with. This study certainly debunks the argument that easing firearms requirements to will lead to more bloodshed in the streets. Another set of studies affirms the conclusion that with more guns, there is less crime. Besides, California has some of most restrictive gun laws in the country, yet has witnessed some unprecedented mass shootings recently. Another blue state, Illinois, delayed enacting a concealed carry permit process until a federal court ordered the state to do so. Following the passage of a concealed carry permit process (the state is still “may issue” instead of “shall issue”), the crime rates have declined. Check out this segment to see the differences between Texas (gun rights) and California (gun control).
In spite of national contentions and concerns about the Second Amendment, this year is turning into the year of Carrying Constitutionally, and it couldn’t come at a more momentous, necessary time. In South Dakota, former Congresswoman, now newly-elected governor Kristi Noem turned her state into the 14th one to allow for the full exercise of the Second Amendment without requiring a permit.
Despite some concerns from conservative activists because the liberal Chamber of Commerce elected more of their RINO candidates, Oklahoma just passed constitutional carry. In fact, it was the first bill signed into law by newly-elected governor Kevin Stitt. Surprise, surprise: Kentucky is about to be the 16th state, since a constitutional carry bill, filed in early February, is headed for Governor Matt Bevin’s desk next week. In fact, that bill shot thought the Kentucky State Legislature rather quickly. As of now, Iowa, Alabama, Georgia, Texas, Ohio, and now South Carolina are considering constitutional carry bills, too.
But why are Second Amendment activists fired up now about constructional carry? Vermont has been constitutional carry since its founding. Two centuries passed before Alaska and then Arizona enacted their laws. Why are so many states now seeking to enhance the individual right to keep and bear arms in their response to other states?
Consider what has happened in the last two years. Sure, a populist conservative was elected president in 2016 with a determined promise to enhance gun rights. Supposedly he had a sympathetic Congress to work with. However, by 2017, House Speaker Paul Ryan finally permitted an up-or-down vote on Rep. Richard Hudson’s national reciprocity bill for concealed carry permits, and the legislation stalled in U.S. Senate. Then in 2018, Trump allowed the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms to issue an (unconstitutional) bump stock ban, and the gun-grabbing Democrats took over the House. Now’s the time for expanding gun rights for law-abiding citizens before it’s too late!
Besides the sluggish federal government, what else has stymied constitutional carry up to now?
- Law enforcement agencies have opposed this reform because of concerns about their safety in traffic.
- Police departments fear losing money which they gain from the permitting process.
- Progressives have never wavered in their pursuit of political power. Socialists are increasing in prominence in Washington DC, too (AOC, Green New Deal, Bernie Sanders, etc). For their cause to succeed, they must neuter the right to keep and bear arms. After all, before the Soviet Union, Cuba, and Venezuela went full Commie, their leaders confiscated the guns!
- Corporate interests have discouraged constitutional carry in a number of states because of progressive non-profits. Think about the inordinate interest which “March for Our Lives” has brandished.
In spite of (or with the rise socialist sympathies, because of) these interests, more grassroots Second Amendment advocacy groups and thus the states themselves have stepped up their push for constitutional carry. Even in blue states (Colorado, New Mexico, Illinois), where the state legislatures have eyed red-flag laws and gun registries, interestingly enough, county boards are declaring themselves Second Amendment Sanctuaries. These local boards are directing law enforcement officials to ignore onerous gun control legislation coming from their respective statehouses.
2019 is becoming the year to Carry Constitutionally. If two more states go “full constitutional,” perhaps a new field of Congressman will follow and restore the Second Amendment franchise to all citizens at the federal level.
Arthur Christopher Schaper is a blogger, writer, and commentator on topics both timeless and timely; political, cultural, and eternal. A life-long Southern California resident, Arthur currently lives in Torrance. Follow his blogs at The State of the Union and As He Is, So Are We Ministries.
The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.