I have stated my positions on Constitutional Carry and National Reciprocity – see my commentary at www.DeanBeersNRA.com/deans-2nd-amendment-blog/unequivocal-support-of-national-reciprocity. You an also see ‘What is my position on National Reciprocity?’ It has always been unequivocal and I firmly believe in Constitutional Carry first, Nationwide Reciprocity second (www.DeanBeersNRA.com/about-dean.html).
Understand, Constitutional Carry and National Reciprocity are legislation with a means to a justified end - I see it as to a couple ends. Until there is a US Supreme Court decision that makes these unnecessary, and finds 'Gun Free Zones' both a violation of our Constitutional Rights and endangering the public - legislation is a consideration. Further, there is always going to be attempts to legislate our Natural and Unalienable Rights away. Finally, these may also be the means to a SCOTUS decision.
How do these tie in with Rights vs. Privileges and licensing? As noted in my book, ‘Beers With Our Founding Fathers’ (www.BeersWithOurFoundingFathers.com) – rights are recognized, but not granted or infringed on by government; whereas privileges are. With that in mind, our Constitution, specifically our Bill of Rights, are unalienable natural rights and are for each individual to decide to exercise or not. Of course, there are limitations – some, in my view, are unreasonable. So long as a person can lawfully exercise a right – not violate any laws in doing so – and bring no harm or infringement of rights to others, there should be no infringement.
Our 2nd Amendment is a Right, Not a Privilege!
As is all it protects – it protects and defends our Constitution because of our Bill of Rights.
In the two recent decades, we have seen a movement in concealed carry from ‘may issue’ at the discretion of the law enforcement authority issuing, to ‘shall issue’ which removes the discretion so long as a person essentially demonstrates they are law abiding and no history of bring harm to themselves or others. Permits are a privilege because it is granted by government and taken by government – whether a driver license or building permit, so long as a person’s actions are within a defined criteria, the permit is granted.
Privileges conflict with our 2nd Amendment and concealed carry. I am strongly in favor of Constitutional Carry as a right. The first comment of opponents is usually, ‘but that grants criminals a right to carry!’ Wrong, it is still unlawful for those with felony records and certain misdemeanors to lawfully possess – own, carry, etc. – a firearm; they would be in violation of existing law, not granted an exception. PS – they already do carry and are breaking the law. Constitutional Carry simply restores a privilege back to a right, and decriminalizes a right for law abiding persons.
Again, so long as a person can lawfully exercise a right – not violate any laws in doing so – and bring no harm to others, there should be no infringement and there exists in the 2nd Amendment the right to carry – open or concealed.
What of National Reciprocity?
First, I believe Constitutional Carry is the very definition of our 2nd Amendment and is therefore to be recognized nationwide, not just on a state by state basis. I also think we need National Reciprocity. Why? Because we do need concealed carry permits. Isn’t this hypocritical of me, you ask? No – because we need to get rid of Gun Free Zones, as one example.
I have long said, Gun Free Zones endanger those in this ‘safe space’ – they are emotional security blankets that do absolutely nothing to deter those ready to commit a crime. They do force persons, even with concealed carry permits, to leave their firearms in a vehicle. This is actually more dangerous than keeping the firearm secured on your person.
Why Concealed Carry Permits?
We have the right, we are treated like it is a privilege.
Concealed Carry Permits come with requirements – fingerprint background checks, usually training – on the state law and / or practical firearms training. Some, in my view, are unreasonable – particularly ‘may issue’ laws. The criteria are inconsistent from state to state. Most states have uniform driver license criteria, a privilege, and are recognized in every state – and often internationally. I do not think we will see Gun Free Zones go away, at least soon enough. In the interim, we need an interim solution to address that, which I believe would be acceptable to reasonable persons.
A Concealed Carry Permit with National Reciprocity would include a fingerprint background check that 1) clears the state and national criminal history; and 2) would flag the person to notify law enforcement of an arrest.
Colorado has such a system for all licensed professions that requires a clear criminal background. The ‘flag’ doesn’t remove the license – but does require the issuing authority to determine if there is a violation of the privilege. If you have a TSA PreCheck this is the same concept. Further, if you step up and obtain practical firearms training, and are qualified quarterly, you should therefore be exempt from Gun Free Zones.
I find this to be a win-win. It is a choice how far a person wants to go – from exercising their rights to being part of a private citizen armed security. This would not grant any more authority to a private citizen than exists. It would elevate our society to a safer level.
If, for example, we recognize Constitutional Carry with National Reciprocity, and a person has a 'advanced' Concealed Carry Permit (i.e. initial training, annual in-service, and quarterly qualifications), they no longer need to leave their firearms in their vehicle when needing to enter a secured check point. This is simplified for purposes of explanation. This would not empower them as, or substitute for, law enforcement or similar. Our rights are protected, we are protected, and we are given choices in how to expand our personal safety.
Why Should Law Abiding Persons Be Criminals?
As we strengthen our resolve to rein in government infringement of our 2nd Amendment Rights, we must also strengthen our resolve to expand our responsible exercise of our unalienable natural rights.
Will you join me in supporting the National Rifle Association – the oldest civil rights organization? The NRA defends all of our rights – not just the 2nd Amendment or those convenient at the time.
Will you support me for the NRA Board of Directors?