In the closing days of the presidential campaign, Donald Trump issued a position paper on concealed carry weapons and other gun rights issues — and now the issue is blowing up.
Even those who were rabid anti-Trumpers during the election have found something to get excited about now. Like, really really excited.
Trump said in part:
“The right of self-defense doesn’t stop at the end of your driveway. That’s why I have a concealed carry permit and why tens of millions of Americans do too.”
Now that paper is getting a lot of attention for what the then-candidate said next:
“That permit should be valid in all 50 states. A driver’s license works in every state, so its common sense that a concealed carry permit should work in every state.”
What the president-elect said is that states should grant licensed concealed carry weapons permit holders the ability to carry their guns in the same way licensed drivers can drive in each state.
Currently, each state has different laws for concealed carry. For instance, New York and California have tightened restrictions to such an extent that there’s almost a lock out of such permits, while Connecticut’s law is much more liberal.
The National Rifle Association map shows which states are most restrictive:
In the map above, the blue states have fairly permissive laws surrounding concealed carry, while the red states are categorized by the NRA as “rights restricted” states.
The Trump proposal has met its share of opposition. The left leaning UK paper The Guardian reports that reciprocal concealed carry means that tourists could be carrying while shopping and visiting in states with more restrictive gun laws:
“If Congress passes a federal right-to-carry law, it’s ‘certainly possible’ that within a year or two, New York tourists might be able to carry a concealed weapon as they tour the city, said Robert Spitzer, a gun politics expert at SUNY Cortland.”
Tourists who have brought their guns with them in the past have been arrested for that very thing in New York. Some have faced years in prison for carrying the gun they think nothing of carrying in their home states.
Here are three such cases:
- Former Marine Elizabeth Elderli told police about her hand guns in her back pack as she visited the 9/11 Memorial. She now faces years in prison.
- Fifty-two year old Elizabeth Griffith of Florida was arrested when she tried to board a ferry to Ellis Island. She faces 10 years in prison.
- Ryan Jerome, a 28-year-old Marine, was arrested and charged after trying to check his Indiana-registered handgun at the Empire State Building. His case made the news and resulted in his charge being reduced to a misdemeanor, but he still has a criminal record.
But Trump maintains that the case for guns is much stronger than for cars because it’s a right embodied in the U.S. Constitution:
“If we can do that for driving – which is a privilege, not a right – then surely we can do that for concealed carry, which is a right, not a privilege.”
Discussion of Trump’s position on concealed carry has seen a resurgence largely thanks to radio host Howard Stern who just said that he’s all for it:
“When you think about it, somebody is a legal and responsible gun owner – let’s say in Massachusetts – why when he crosses the border is he suddenly an outlaw?”
For Stern, the issue is about common sense:
For people striving for smaller government, such as Grover Norquist, it’s about freedom:
“Jolly Joseph” said he’d cry tears of joy if Trump gets it done:
A national reciprocity law has been considered for many years, and The National Rifle Association says it’s a priority:
“This law has been NRA’s number one legislative agenda item for several years. And with the election of Donald Trump as president, as well as pro-gun majorities in both houses of the U.S. Congress, the prospects for such a law have never looked better.”
With a Republican controlled Senate, House, and White House, this Second Amendment dream could become reality.