Anti-gun U.S. Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) on Tuesday compared the exercise of a Second Amendment-protected right to the driving privilege in an attempt to justify introduction of the so-called “Handgun Licensing Purchaser Act” that would require American citizens to get a license before being allowed to buy a handgun.
The House version was introduced in mid-April by departing Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty (D-Conn.). According to WTEN in Albany, N.Y., Van Hollen asserted that the legislation is needed to reduce violent crime.
“Just like you need a license to drive a car you should get a license to purchase a handgun,” Van Hollen said.
Driving, however, is a privilege, while having a gun is a protected right under the federal constitution and all but six state constitutions.
Coincidentally, Van Hollen’s bill was reported about the same time that the Washington State Department of Licensing data showed a modest turnaround in a decline of concealed pistol licenses over the past five months in the Evergreen State. Last Dec. 1, there were 591,366 active CPLs in the Evergreen State, but by the end of March, that number had plummeted to 580,362, according to Licensing Department data.
But on Tuesday, the DOL reported that the number of CPLs has climbed again, to 581,955, a jump of 1,573 active CPLs.
Why this is significant in Washington is because the state has been somewhat dismissed as politically “blue” because of the liberal Seattle vote. But the state is now facing another gun control initiative, and it might be that gun owners who had allowed their CPL to lapse are renewing, and new applications are being submitted.
Some states require licenses in order to simply purchase a handgun, even though handguns were specifically identified as arms protected by the Second Amendment in the landmark 2008 Supreme Court ruling in District of Columbia v. Heller.
Maryland is among the ten states that require a license to purchase, something that gun owners in other parts of the country would consider an outrage. Connecticut and Illinois also require such permits to purchase.
This is not Van Hollen’s first go-round with this license requirement scheme. According to a press release from his office, he first introduced the legislation back in 2015. This time around, in addition to Esty, he is joined in the effort by other anti-gun Capitol Hill Democrats including Sens. Chris Murphy and Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, Rep. Robin Kelly of Illinois and Alma Adams of North Carolina.