For the last couple of decades, the world of concealed carry has been filled with news about changes in permitting, registration, laws, and reciprocity. The latter is the most common point of media interest, as CCW laws between states have gone from a bewildering nationwide patchwork quilt to a rather more comfortable system of mutual reciprocity. Currently, the right permit will get your right to CCW recognized in 30-plus states, which makes travel and vacationing a lot easier for those of us in the concealed carry life.
Things are changing yet again. Up till now, CCW laws and reciprocity were established as agreements between the several states. Now, however, there’s a move toward nationwide recognition of CCW permits, possibly mandated by the federal government. This is happening on several fronts; there’s proposed legislation in place to make nationwide concealed carry a reality, while other folks are arguing that recent Supreme Court decisions have already opened that door. This is by necessity a complex issue, and there are many things to consider.
First, let’s address some basics. As it stands, there are a number of different pieces of legislation in play, in both the House and the Senate, advocating for various forms of nationwide recognition. While they are mostly aimed in the same direction: nationwide recognition of concealed carry permits by states which do not prohibit concealed carry, they vary widely in the particulars. ID requirements, and how the firearm may be transported. These are mostly superficial, but they do muddy the waters. Any federal legislation is going to have to stem from one bill, passing both the Senate and the House and potentially avoiding a presidential veto.
That’s a lot of folks to bring into agreement on an issue. And herding those cats is legendarily difficult.
And as those of you who follow the links have noticed, none of this legislation (mostly introduced in the first half of 2015) seems to have gotten very far in Congress. And from a brutally realpolitik point of view, that’s not surprising. While a majority of Americans do seem to support both the 2nd Amendment and concealed carry, it’s a contentious issue that leaves a lot of folks wary or uncomfortable. Winning them over and showing them the positives of gun ownership is going to take a lot of work, and we all need to pitch in if we want to see our rights preserved.
However, that takes us away from the concealed carry question-at-hand. Things got even more complicated recently with possibly the most contentious Presidential candidate in the race voicing his support for both the 2nd Amendment and a comprehensive nationwide CCW permit. This is a sweeping change from what we’ve heard from either mainstream party before, and one that bears consideration. While I support the 2nd Amendment wholeheartedly, I’ll close with some thoughts about a federally mandated nationwide CCW permit: thus far, CCW reciprocity has been a state to state movement with grassroots support. By letting the feds mandate a nationwide permit, we not only remove the rights of the states but invest the power to regulate concealed carry in Washington, D.C. As the political winds shift, this may come back to haunt us, and thus any such legislation should be very carefully considered.
As always, these are just my thoughts and I welcome input from the assembled. So until then, shoot straight and stay safe out there.