CCW activists react to ’60 Minutes’ segment on proposed Reciprocity Act

Concealed carry activists are reacting harshly to a “60 Minutes” segment on proposed federal CCW legislation. (Screen capture, YouTube, CBS)

Concealed carry activists have reacted vigorously, and negatively, to a CBS “60 Minutes” segment broadcast Sunday evening that took a critical look at the proposed national Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act that passed the House of Representatives in December, but is gathering dust in the Senate.

The story has garnered more than 360 comments from viewers, and many if not most are decidedly against CBS’s presentation, and supportive of gun rights.

In an online follow-up segment, correspondent Steve Kroft hinted to Congressman Richard Hudson, sponsor of the Reciprocity legislation, that his “60 Minutes” colleagues might not be trustworthy with concealed carry.

“Look, I work at 60 Minutes in New York,” Kroft said, “and I know that if you armed everybody on the floor, and allowed them to carry a concealed weapon it would only be a couple of months before somebody was shot…That’s New York City.”

Kroft really didn’t answer a question about whether he “grew up with guns.” Instead, he recalled, “I certainly went hunting with my father and grandfather when I was a boy.” That is not the same thing. It’s like suggesting you are pro-gun by saying you have a friend who is an NRA member.

The widely-watched 20-minute segment featured the pro-and-con of the proposed reciprocity legislation, and allowed opponents to once again assert that people in larger cities might not be safe if there were visiting armed citizens in their midst.

There was one stunning moment when Kroft alluded to the Second Amendment by observing, “The central tenet of Concealed Carry Reciprocity is that the Second Amendment gives people the right to carry guns anywhere they want but that idea is more aspiration than factual.”

And who did he ask to say whether there is such a right? Robyn Thomas, the executive director of the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, a gun control lobbying group.

“Absolutely not,” Thomas insisted. “In fact, the Supreme Court has ruled on the Second Amendment in 2008. And what the Supreme Court said is that you have a right to have a handgun in your home for self-defense. And it absolutely does not include a right to carry a loaded, concealed weapon in public. And right up until the Supreme Court says it is your right, that is a fallacy that they’re pushing, in the hopes that it will become the truth. But it simply isn’t the truth as of right now.”

But does the Heller ruling really say that? The entire ruling and dissents may be read here.

Both Hudson and Tim Schmidt, founder and CEO of the United States Concealed Carry Association, who carried themselves well during the segment, reminded Kroft that firearms possession is a right protected by the Constitution. Where the anti-gunners who participated in the segment are concerned, their interest seemed to have been in narrowing the exercise of that right.

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If the “60 Minutes” segment did anything, it served as a reminder that the debate over Second Amendment rights is no closer to being resolved than it was 50 years ago, when the Gun Control Act of 1968 was passed following the assassinations of the Rev. Martin Luther King and Sen. Robert F. Kennedy.

If the Senate approves the legislation – and that may be a tough sell in an election year – there will almost certainly be lawsuits filed by several anti-gun states.