The battle of words over the proposed National Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act is being amped up by anti-gunners engaging in the kind of fear mongering they seem to invariably accuse gun rights organizations of practicing.
As if to underscore the effort, on Wednesday, anti-gunners will demonstrate at The Green in Morristown, New Jersey, according to MorristownGreen.com.
The Albany Times Union editorialized against the proposal on April 22, complaining that, “This would effectively reduce handgun control in America to the least common denominator, negating the more stringent rules in states like New York.”
And Lori Yeghiayan Friedman, writing at Newsworks.org, declared that the proposed act “is wrong for Pennsylvania and the country.”
What are these people really afraid of? Criminals already carry concealed guns without permits or licenses. Proponents of national reciprocity challenge concealed carry opponents to explain what is wrong with “leveling the playing field” for law-abiding armed citizens.
The argument that it will lead to more crime was effectively nullified by a study that has been touted by anti-gunners lately. Headlined “Concealed Handgun Licensing and Crime in Four States,” the report was done by Charles D. Phillips, Obioma Nwaiwu, Szu-hsuan Lin, Rachel Edwards, Sara Imanpour and Robert Ohsfeldt for the Department of Health Policy and Management, School of Public Health, Health Science Center, Texas A&M.
Long story short, they noted, “Using county-level data, we found that the density of gun dealers and other contextual variables, rather than changing crime rates, had a significant effect on increases of the rates at which CHLs were issued. We also found no significant effect of CHL increases on changes in crime rates. This research suggests that the rate at which CHLs are issued and crime rates are independent of one another—crime does not drive CHLs; CHLs do not drive crime.”
Translation: More legally armed citizens do not bring about more violent crime.
Still, this doesn’t really explain the almost visceral opposition to recognizing the rights of citizens crossing state lines. If a state-issued driver’s license – which covers a privilege – is recognized across state borders, then why shouldn’t a state-issued concealed carry license – which deals with a civil right – deserve the same consideration?
In the Newsworks.com piece, Friedman asserts, “Concealed carry reciprocity is dangerous.”
“Federal concealed carry reciprocity forces states to reciprocate other states’ concealed carry permit laws — no matter how lax or ineffective,” says Friedman. “Its effect will be to make the least restrictive state’s concealed carry permit criteria the law of the land.”
Gun rights advocates might argue that there is nothing wrong with this, since constitutionally-delineated civil rights should logically face minimal regulation no matter what the jurisdiction. The gun prohibition lobby sees it differently, at least where guns are concerned.
Today, some 15 million people are licensed to carry, according to some estimates, and in a dozen states a person no longer needs a license or permit to carry.
None of this has resulted in a bloodbath, and the FBI Uniform Crime Report data shows an overall decline in violent crime in recent years as gun ownership in general, and concealed carry in particular, have both increased.