Maybe it’s something in the water, but with the real possibility that Congress may actually debate and pass national concealed carry reciprocity legislation, opponents have ramped up their rhetoric to include statements and assertions that make no sense upon examination.
There is nothing in H.R. 38, the proposed Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017, that would, as asserted by a spokesperson for Americans for Responsible Solutions, “undermine New Mexico’s rigorous training and screening standards for concealed carry licenses.” This appears in an Associated Press report.
This is what the bill says: “This section shall not be construed to supersede or limit the laws of any State…”
The legislation begins with this:
“Notwithstanding any provision of the law of any State or political subdivision thereof (except as provided in subsection (b)) and subject only to the requirements of this section, a person who is not prohibited by Federal law from possessing, transporting, shipping, or receiving a firearm, who is carrying a valid identification document containing a photograph of the person, and who is carrying a valid license or permit which is issued pursuant to the law of a State and which permits the person to carry a concealed firearm or is entitled to carry a concealed firearm in the State in which the person resides, may possess or carry a concealed handgun (other than a machinegun or destructive device) that has been shipped or transported in interstate or foreign commerce, in any State that—
“(1) has a statute under which residents of the State may apply for a license or permit to carry a concealed firearm; or
“(2) does not prohibit the carrying of concealed firearms by residents of the State for lawful purposes.”
In an Op-Ed article appearing in the Philadelphia Inquirer, Charles H. Ramsey, described as “a visiting fellow at Drexel University’s Lindy Institute and a former police commissioner of Philadelphia and Washington, D.C.,” repeatedly uses what might be considered an alarmist description of concealed carry: carrying “hidden, loaded guns in public.”
It is probably just a coincidence that this phrase appears on the Americans for Responsible Solutions website that calls itself “Resist the Gun Lobby.” Ramsey has a link to that website in his article.
This site declares that, “For years now, the Washington gun lobby has been pressuring states to eliminate important safety standards, which would allow people who have never passed a background check or fired a gun in their lives to carry hidden, loaded guns in public crowds as soon as they buy them.” (Type highlighted in original.)
Ramsey also asserts that the proposed reciprocity act is “a dangerous proposal that would force each state to recognize the concealed-carry laws of other states, even those that have far weaker standards.” This is what H.R. 38 says:
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“A person who carries or possesses a concealed handgun in accordance with subsections (a) and (b) may not be arrested or otherwise detained for violation of any law or any rule or regulation of a State or any political subdivision thereof related to the possession, transportation, or carrying of firearms unless there is probable cause to believe that the person is doing so in a manner not provided for by this section. Presentation of facially valid documents as specified in subsection (a) is prima facie evidence that the individual has a license or permit as required by this section.”
Ramsey also asserts, “Right now, lawmakers on Capitol Hill are debating a dangerous proposal that would force each state to recognize the concealed-carry laws of other states, even those that have far weaker standards.”
This appears to be a matter of interpretation.
The proposed legislation, with some 200 co-sponsors, appears to simply require that states recognize the concealed carry permits and licenses issued by other states. Armed citizens must still comply with the laws of the states in which they might be traveling, same as if they are driving in a different state and run afoul of a local traffic law.
Criminals already carry “hidden guns” across state lines, and they do so illegally. What’s wrong with putting honest citizens on the same footing?
There is an unrelated opinion piece appearing in U.S. News and World Report that criticizes the National Rifle Association for some of its recent messaging that doesn’t deal specifically with gun rights issues. Author Patrick Tomlinson, describing himself as “a gun lover,” ripped criticisms of Barack Obama as an anti-gunner by pointing to two pieces of legislation signed by the former president.
“Obama only signed two firearm related bills into law,” Tomlinson writes. “One which allowed concealed carry permit holders to carry on Amtrack (sic) trains, and the other which allowed us to carry within the National Park system. Seriously. Look it up.”
Amtrak regulations dealing with firearms require that all firearms must be checked in stored (not carry-on) baggage and Amtrak must be notified 24 hours in advance.
As for national park carry, so far it appears to be working, same as carry on college campuses, or under state reciprocity agreements.