It is Bill of Rights Day, celebrating this date in 1791 when, according to a history found on Wikipedia, “specific guarantees of personal freedoms and rights, clear limitations on the government’s power in judicial and other proceedings, and explicit declarations that all powers not specifically delegated to Congress by the Constitution are reserved for the states or the people.”
Perhaps the most disputed of these amendments is the Second, which has been defined twice in the past ten years by two Supreme Court rulings – District of Columbia v. Heller and McDonald v. City of Chicago – as protective of an individual right not related to service in a militia. Perhaps not surprisingly, many people in the gun prohibition movement stubbornly refused to accept this, same as many liberals still cannot accept the results of the 2016 presidential election.
The debate has taken on fresh interest because of House passage several days ago of the National Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act, a bill that would require states to recognize the concealed carry permits and licenses issued by all other states. It’s something of a “full faith and credit” issue, like a driver’s license.
When Democrat House Leader Nancy Pelosi criticized the legislation, making some questionable claims about what it does and doesn’t do, the Washington Post Fact Checker took issue and gave her Three Pinocchios, which is tantamount to scorning her for fibbing.
Seventeen attorneys general have written a letter to Congress opposing the legislation. Among them is Washington’s Bob Ferguson, who spoke Thursday night in Seattle at a remembrance for the Sandy Hook victims. He used the opportunity to call for a ban on so-called “assault weapons.”
“We would not mandate that one State honor another’s fishing, liquor, or hunting permits, yet the proposed legislation applies that same flawed approach to the far more serious issue of who may carry a concealed firearm,” say the anti-gun chief law enforcement officers in their letter.
That had some other things to say, as well:
“The result of the proposed legislation would be a proliferation of potentially dangerous or irresponsible non-residents with concealed weapons in the States, cities, and towns across America that have made local judgments that certain regulations on the carrying of such weapons are necessary to protect public safety. Furthermore, the House bill would override some state laws that prohibit carrying concealed weapons in bars, schools, shopping malls, movie theatres, subways, or parks. States would not be able to enforce those restrictions; nor would local law enforcement officers reacting to specific risks to the public in such locations, which have tragically been the site of mass shootings in recent years.”
But that’s not accurate, according to specific language in H.R. 38, sponsored by Rep. Richard Hudson and more than 200 of his House colleagues. Here’s what the language says:
“This section shall not be construed to supersede or limit the laws of any State that—
“(1) permit private persons or entities to prohibit or restrict the possession of concealed firearms on their property; or
“(2) prohibit or restrict the possession of firearms on any State or local government property, installation, building, base, or park.”
So, the question for Second Amendment activists today is what have you done for gun rights lately?
- Have you contacted your state’s two U.S. Senators about the reciprocity legislation?
- Have you approached your state legislative representatives to protect and strengthen state and local gun laws? (Do you even know who those lawmakers are?)
- Have you joined, or donated to a gun rights organization, such as the Second Amendment Foundation, National Rifle Association or Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms?
- Have you written a letter to the editor of the local newspaper?
- Have you introduced someone to recreational shooting and firearms safety?
There are lots of things activists can do. State legislatures get busy in January. For example, in Washington State, activists are planning a rally at the Capitol on Jan. 12. The timing will be good considering the legislative agenda announced earlier this week by the Alliance for Gun Responsibility, a well-financed Seattle-based gun prohibition lobbying group. Part of the package is a bill to dismantle the state preemption law, as reported here.