Is It Time for Federal Reciprocity of Concealed Carry Permits?

Like a lot of people down here in Texas, I keep a gun close at hand. This usually means one in my vehicle and one on my person. I’ve kept one in my vehicle for nearly two decades and one on my person since 1998, when I got my first concealed carry permit. It’s hard to beat the protection that my concealed carry permit affords my family and friends, even if they aren’t armed. The fact that I am armed means they are safer when with me whether they realize it or not; and everything from annual FBI crime numbers to state-by-state statistics prove this to be so.

However, when I drive outside the borders of Texas, I have to be careful. In many other states, I cannot keep a loaded gun in the car, and, in some states, I cannot even have my handgun on my person (although I have a Texas license to do so). As a matter of fact, there is such a lack of uniformity amongst the states with concealed carry permits that I cannot even carry my handgun in every state that offers concealed permits to its citizens. This means that when I drive into certain states that offer concealed carry licenses to their citizens but don’t recognize the Texas license as valid within their borders, I actually have to unload my gun and lock it in my trunk to be legal.

Have you ever stopped to ask yourself this hard question — how many criminals give their victims time to open the trunk, grab and load their guns before continuing to attack them? Don’t think too hard on that one. You know the answer is “none.”

To remedy this illogical scenario, the NRA pushed a federal concealed carry law which seemed to gather a lot of steam early, only to have support among congressmen and congresswomen wane. I think it’s high time we put our voices and our energy behind this effort and let congress know we want to see such a law passed pronto.

There are at least two strong justifications for national reciprocity. The first springs from the Second Amendment itself, where we read that the right to keep and bear arms “shall not be infringed.” With these words, our Founders were hedging in a natural right and thus placing it off limits from federal or state government interference. Moreover, as Justice Antonin Scalia rightly concluded in the Heller case, our Founders did not want a city government — such as San Francisco, Chicago, or D.C. — to infringe upon it either. No government constructed by man has the right to deny us the rights that are ours by way of birth.

In other words, laws or policies that infringe upon our natural rights are wrong whether those laws or policies emanate from the President, the Congress, the court system, a state government, or the San Francisco City Council. Our Founders gave no government a veto over natural rights. This is why Ted Nugent is quick and accurate in saying he “has a concealed carry permit called the Second Amendment.”

Government-issued laws that limit our right to keep and bear arms are infringements on natural law itself. Like the Supreme Court said in the Heller decision, natural rights are preserved by the Constitution, and the right to self-defense is a natural right. It’s our right as humans, not something the government granted us out of its good grace.

And because laws that restrict natural rights are in violation of natural law, they are unethical. What could be more unethical than to ban the possession of a weapon that a woman could use to fend off a would-be rapist when it is a given that the rapist, who possesses a criminal mind, will certainly also be in possession of a criminal weapon?

Now approach the problem from a completely different angle — the fact that some states recognize the concealed carry licenses of certain states but not of others is confounded stupidity. Think about this: Oregon issues concealed carry licenses to citizens in its state and recognizes the concealed carry licenses of states that border Oregon, but if I drive to Oregon, I cannot conceal and carry my handgun because they do not recognize the Texas license. The silly thing about this is that a central part of the Oregon licensing process is an FBI criminal background check and this is also a central part of the Texas licensing process. A federal bureau ultimately decides who does and who doesn’t get a concealed carry license in both states, yet the states share no reciprocity regarding the licenses themselves. This is simply too arbitrary to be rational, and it is a perfect example of the illogical, liberal mind.

In an ideal world, if you are old enough to buy a handgun, you should be permitted to carry it; regardless of your city or state residence.

This point is essential: other state-granted licenses — marriage licenses, drivers’ licenses and such — are recognized by every state regardless of their origin. The Constitution’s “full faith and credit” clause mandates that. So why should Massachusetts invite gay couples to go there to marry, confident that other states will have to honor those marriages, when I can’t take my handgun into Massachusetts with my Texas license?

Consider the example of the woman fending off rapist once more, but add something else into the mix: she has a concealed carry license from state “A” which is not recognized in state “B,” although both states depend upon the FBI for ultimate validation of their licenses. Think of her at a red light, listening to the radio in her car, thinking about how nice it will feel to get to the hotel and relax when suddenly her passenger’s door is jerked open, a thug jumps in who says he has a gun, and orders her to pull over and undress. She has no recourse, because her gun is locked in the trunk. In an instant, the unethical laws concerning concealed carry reciprocity contribute to immorality because a given state has mandated that the woman remain defenseless.

The inherent weaknesses of concealed carry laws that aren’t uniform are the same weaknesses that are characteristic of every part of the liberal agenda. The promise made to us is “peace and safety,” yet liberals lack the power to bring about either while denying us the one thing that could do both: the freedom to exercise our natural rights.

As a conservative, I hold state’s rights in the highest regard and believe that federal intrusion on state issues has only diminished the level of real self-government in this country (we saw this clearly with abortion in Roe vs. Wade). In truth, I abhor federal intrusion. But in the case of concealed carry licenses, it is already a federal issue; for it is ultimately the federal government, not the states, that decides who will and who will not receive a permit through the work of the FBI.

Therefore, why not push them to go all the way and mandate uniformity in reciprocity that accords with the tenets of the 2nd Amendment? Were this to happen, the woman at the stoplight would still make it back to the hotel for a relaxing night and a call home to say goodnight to her children, even if she had to kill an attacker to do it.