A gun control group headed by former Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and her husband, Mark Kelly, have been joined by what the Washington Post described as “a group of law enforcement leaders” to oppose gun law reform bills that have been introduced on Capitol Hill.
But according to a 2016 survey by the National Association of Chiefs of Police (NACOP), these leaders may be out of touch with their colleagues, at least on the subject of measure, national concealed carry reciprocity.
The newspaper quoted a memo from the “Law Enforcement Coalition for Common Sense” (LECCS) that asserts, “[Congress] needs to reject irresponsible calls to mandate the unrestricted concealed carry of firearms and allow free access to dangerous silencers, which present a new menacing threat to our communities and law enforcement professionals. It is clear that guns in dangerous hands make law enforcement officers more vulnerable.”
But the 28th annual NACOP survey last year revealed that 86.4 percent of the nation’s police chiefs and sheriffs who responded “support nationwide recognition of state issued concealed weapon permits.” Only 10.6 percent were opposed and 2.9 percent took a neutral position.
The survey also found that 87.9 percent of respondents agree that “any vetted citizen (should) be able to purchase a firearm for sport or self-defense.”
One other telling revelation was that 76 percent of the respondents think “qualified, law-abiding armed citizens help law enforcement reduce violent criminal activity.”
In 2013, when PoliceOne.com surveyed more than 15,000 law enforcement professionals across the country, an overwhelming majority said casualties would be decreased if armed citizens were present at the beginning of an active shooter incident.
According to the Washington Post, the law enforcement coalition “was put together by Americans for Responsible Solutions,” the Giffords-Kelly gun control lobbying group. That group includes Prince Georges County, Maryland Chief Hank Stawinski, former District of Columbia Chief Charles H. Ramsey, Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez and Seattle Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole.
Stawinski and David Chipman, a retired agent with the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, were quoted by the newspaper opposing the bill that would relax regulations on the ownership of firearm suppressors (“silencers”).
But Second Amendment groups, gun rights activists and countless recreational shooters and even hunters apparently support greater access to suppressors, and they energetically support national concealed carry reciprocity. The gun prohibition lobby has been fighting both issues, claiming that reciprocity will allow “dangerous criminals” to carry guns across state lines, while silencers will make it more difficult for police or private citizens under fire to determine from which direction incoming bullets are flying.
The tendency for “mainstream” media to accept these positions without argument alarms many in the Second Amendment community. John Lott, president of the Crime Prevention Research Center, wrote Tuesday in The Hill that “gun control advocates play the mainstream media for suckers.”
Rights activists are especially wary of police officials who favor restricting concealed carry, because the right to bear arms is enshrined in the federal constitution and many state constitutions. The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to consider cases regarding the carry of firearms outside the home for personal protection, but that could change. Gun rights groups argue that citizens do not leave their self-defense rights at the front door, nor do they leave that right at a state border when they travel.