Thursday, March 10, 2005

Concealed Carry Reciprocity (and a sick day)

Here at the Ten Ring, Yosemite Sam (Bill) and I are sick. I picked up some horrendous cold or flu. I've been sick for a few days and then I gave it to him. What can I say, I like to share. We both stayed home from work today. We are thinking of not attending our bullseye league match tonight. We can miss work, but shooting, never--except maybe today.

I won't be putting up a long essay today because I haven't been checking news and I haven't had ideas percolating for awhile (too sick). I did see a brief post on Say Uncle that cheered me up a little. According to Gun Owners of America (GOA), Representative John Hostettler (R-IN) will soon introduce a bill that, if passed, would allow concealed carry reciprocity throughout the nation.

Hostettler's bill, Secure Access to Firearms Enhancement (SAFE) Act, would allow anyone with a concealed carry license to carry a firearm in any other state. And, a person from a state like Alaska and Vermont that doesn't have a permitting system can carry legally as well. (NOTE: Alaska has a permitting system, but allows permitless concealed carry, so I am not sure how it will work for a state with a dual law.)

Congress Critters from gun control-loving states will resist SAFE. They and their citizens want to believe "blood in the streets" myths about concealed carry. It hasn't happened in any state that went "shall issue" (permitting authority must issue a permit if certain objective criteria are met) or in states with no permits. Look for them to rally against SAFE with cries of "Dodge City," "Wild West," and "Vigilantes."

Personally, I don't think Hostettler's bill will pass as written unless it's slipped into a large must-pass bill and anti-gunnies are asleep. It's possible it might pass with watered-down language. Such language could have an unintended consequence for gunnies in that states that are considering permitless carry will have an excuse to not promulgate it, as GOA points out.

I would like it to pass as written and plan to contact my Representative and Senators. I would support it even with watered-down language depending on what is put in. Reciprocity is important. I live in New Hampshire, a very small state bordered by other small states. I can't travel or even go to work without going through very anti-gun Massachusetts. My right to self-defense doesn't end when I step over an imaginary border.

I could get out-of-state licenses for Maine, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and states. Why should I have to go to the not inconsiderable effort and expense to do so? Massachusetts's out-of-state license is easier to get than an in-state one, but still requires a lot of paperwork, is good for only one year, and costs $100.00. My New Hampshire license should be recognized by any other state since contracts, drivers' licenses, marriage licenses are all recognized throughout the nation.

There is one exception in my brief list. If a gay woman gets legally married to another woman in Massachusetts, other states won't recognize the marriage. I'm not going to get into a discussion of rights and wrongs of gay marriages. But, many liberals are pushing for states to recognize a legal gay marriage. Yet they would be aghast at recognition of a right to carry a concealed firearm.

Watch the legal and political machinations gay groups use to gain nation-wide recognition of gay marriages. We might be able to apply those to nation-wide reciprocity should SAFE fail.

Don't forget to support SAFE next time you contact your Congress Critter.

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