July 22, 2009

Addled Critics Unable to Form Logical Opposition to Thune's Concealed Carry Reciprocity Amendment

The so-called "Thune Amendment" to provide co-equal reciprocity to concealed carry permit holders traveling across state lines will come to a vote today.

The Amendment would allow concealed carry permit holders to carry their guns in the 48 states that allow some form of concealed carry (Illinois and Wisconsin do not allow for concealed carry in any form). Permit holders would still be responsible for knowing and following all applicable laws of the individual states they visit regarding concealed carry.

Opponents of the amendment have gone for the usual hysteria, insisting that such a bill would mean blood flowing in the streets.

That sort of hyperbole and fear-mongering is of course unfounded.

There are legitimate reasons one could cite to oppose the bill, such as concerns over how Alaska and Vermont residents—which are allowed to carry concealed weapons without any sort of a permit—would be accommodated. There are legitimate reasons to question the public safety of allowing people who come from states that provide permits without any training to travel anywhere. There are also questions about whether such a bill tramples on states' rights.

Those questions need to be answered, and I suspect they reasonably can be.

By the protests sounded by many of those opposing this bill aren't based upon any sort of logical thought process. They trumpet only unreasoning fear:

"If you walk down the street in New York ... you can have the solace of knowing that if someone has a gun on them they've gone through a rigorous police background check. After this bill, you can have no such comfort," Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., said Sunday.

Shumer is dishonest. If someone is carrying a gun in New York City, they are either a criminal or politically connected, with very, very few exceptions, and it is only slightly less difficult to carry upstate. Being a well-trained, responsible, law-abiding citizen isn't enough to get a carry permit in New York City, you need political connections, or if you are a normal citizen, you have to demonstrate need—as if a citizen can foretell in advance when someone might attempt to carjack, rob, or rape them. Even then, permitting is an altogether arbitrary process subject to whim as much as process.

New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg was no more logical:

It could be drunks stumbling out of saloons packing heat that leads to another OK Corral. Or a bump on the subway that turns into a quick-draw shootout.

And the cops can't do anything about it until it's too late.

Those are some of the nightmare scenarios an agitated Mayor Bloomberg said could unfold on city streets if the Senate doesn't kill a "terrible piece of legislation."

The controversial measure says that as long as you're legal to pack heat in one state, you're A-OK to carry a concealed gun anywhere you travel in the U.S.

The proposal, an amendment coming up for a vote today, "is just an out-and-out trampling of historic states' rights," Bloomberg said in a reference to New York's tough laws against concealed guns.

"This bill is an anti-police, pro-gun-trafficker bill. This is going to put a lot more guns on the street," Bloomberg said on a conference call with several other mayors who warned their streets could also become war zones.

As Bloomberg should know, carrying a firearm in New York City would still be prohibited even when the Thune Amendment passes; it only apply to state laws, and local prohibitive ordinances such as NYC's would presumably still apply.

As for the Wild West hyperbole of shootouts on every street corner over the slightest offenses, well, that bit of dark fantasy has been debunked no less than 36 times. The same fear-mongering has been made in response to every state that implemented a concealed carry law, and the claims have always fallen flat.

Concealed carry permit holders are far less likely to commit a crime than the general population, and though there are millions of concealed carry permit holders in the United States—there are more than 1.4 million in Florida alone—the best that the anti-gun Violence Policy Center could do to suggest that concealed carry was dangerous was to point out 31 instances where concealed carry permit holders have been accused of violent crimes.

The VPC was so desperate to get even this scant amount of evidence that they were forced to include allegations of wrong-doing in cases that had not been adjudicated, cases that concealed weapons played little or no part in, and at least on case were no weapons at all were used.

Far from showcasing gun violence caused by concealed carry permit holders, the VPC report instead serves to show that carry permit holders as a group are far less violent that those citizens that are not licensed to carry firearms.

38 states allow concealed carry. 28 of them already have reciprocity laws that allow permit holders to carry in various states.

Thune's amendment is an attempt to add some consistency to an often confusing hodgepodge of state-mandated and constantly changing reciprocity agreements, while keeping every individual state restriction and concern in place about how and where guns can be carried within those states. It seeks nothing more or less than extending to law-abiding citizens the opportunity to follow the laws of another jurisdiction.

That hardly sounds like a situation that should earn the shrill hyperbole we're hearing from some politicians and media elitists.

But then, we aren't dealing with rational people.

Update: Why am I surprised that irrational fear wins in a Democrat-controlled Senate? The vote fell two votes shy (58-39) of the 60 needed.

And the victorious dolt speaks:

"Lives have been saved with the defeat of this amendment," Senator Charles E. Schumer, Democrat of New York, a leading opponent of the amendment, said in a statement. "The passage of this amendment would have done more to threaten the safety of New Yorkers than anything since the repeal of the assault weapons ban."

The ten year (1994-2004) "assault weapons" ban did not save one single life.

While 19 guns were banned by name, every single domestic manufacturer had variants of pre-ban guns on the street the day after the "ban" took effect, with no decrease in accurate, power, or rate of fire. Many manufacturers of assault weapons expanded their domestic sales during the ban due to high demand, and there were always plenty of these firearms legally available for sale on gun shop shelves.

The "ban" can fairly be credited with the creation of a new class of handguns, subcompact semi-automatics that packed duty-grade calibers (9mm, ..40S&W, .357 SIG, .45 ACP) into ever-smaller frames, so that far more powerful bullets can be launched from guns not appreciably larger that the low-powered and often ineffective &qout;mousegun" calibers of previous generations. If anything, a good case can be made that by making guns ever smaller and more powerful, the assault weapons ban encouraged people—both law-abiding citizens and violent criminals—to carry firearms more frequently.

How many homicides associated with this new class of weapon do you want credit for, Chuck?

Posted by Confederate Yankee at July 22, 2009 11:50 AM

If my TX CCW permit isn't entitled to apply to other states via "Full faith and credit" then neither is a Massachusetts gay marraige license.

Posted by: SDN at July 22, 2009 01:14 PM

It's amazing. The same Senate that can muster 58 votes for gun rights is about to confirm a gun grabber for the Supreme Court.

Posted by: Ken Hahn at July 22, 2009 02:02 PM

Alaska and Vermont should just have to show a valid DL.

Posted by: tjbbpgobIII at July 22, 2009 03:57 PM

Well, after all, it's not like someone with a Florida driver's license is entitled to drive in New York or Illinois. I mean, just because a state issues a license of some sort, why should any other state recognize it? Since we're not following the Constitution any longer, why should we pay any attention to that "full faith and credit" nonsense?

Oh, and those badges and identification that New York issues to their law enforcement officers? Don't bring that stuff to my state. You're just another citizen when you're away from home, and that means NO WEAPONS. You'll have to be just as defenseless as the rest of us.

After all Mayor Bloomberg and Chuck Schumer have spoken. And they should know, because their bodyguards are armed, which proves just how much people can't be trusted with guns.

Can you spell "hypocrite"?

Posted by: Just Sayin' at July 22, 2009 07:39 PM

If someone is carrying a gun in New York City, they are either a criminal or politically connected, with very, very few exceptions,....

But you repeat yourself!

Posted by: Don Meaker at July 22, 2009 08:59 PM

I don't know. The laws concerning concealed carry in the states are so disparate, I don't think I'd want them to all be recognized via federal law. After all, there's a similar debate raging over marriage licenses.

IMHO, the Thune amendment would have been a violation of the 10th Amendment.

I am open to be persuaded otherwise...


Posted by: Cicero at July 22, 2009 09:12 PM

Schumer is a bought and paid for asset of Sarah Brady and the rest of the anti-Constitution crowd, so don't expect any rational statements from him on the subject.

Even in Alaska and Vermont, it takes more than just showing a valid DL to obtain a handgun. By the Brady Act, an attempt at a background check is required. As soon as the check is complete, the sale can be completed. If Vermont and Alaska have an instant check system (like credit card companies do), there should be no delay. Even if the background check is not completed, the sales goes through at the end of three days.

That is one of the details of the Brady Act that the gun grabbers tend to gloss over, there is no requirement that a background check be passed. Just that the attempt is made. In states that have rigorous licensing requirements, such as Massachusetts or New York, a POS background check isn't required, since the background check done at the time of the licencing fulfills the requirements of the Brady Act.

Posted by: Mark at July 22, 2009 09:56 PM

FL doesn't allow you to carry in a bar.

Posted by: Purple Avenger at July 23, 2009 04:37 AM

How did NC Sen. Kay Hagan vote?

Posted by: Joe Hooker at July 23, 2009 08:48 AM

Check the Wikipedia article on the NYC Sullivan Act. Among those listed as concealed carry license holders is ... Chuck Schumer!

"In New York City, the licensing authority is the police department, which rarely issues carry licenses to anyone except retired police officers. In addition, New Yorkers who have political influence, wealth, or celebrity appear to be issued licenses more liberally.[1] The New York Post, the New York Sun, and other newspapers have obtained the list of licensees through Freedom of Information Law requests and have published several articles showing that the wealthy, famous, and politically connected have been issued carry licenses by the city police department."

Posted by: Joe Hooker at July 23, 2009 10:54 AM

I'd rather not visit any state that allows a brain-dead leftist such as Chuckie Schumer or Diane Fineswine to carry firearms. Texas has CHL reciprocity with 26 other states, and two others allow carry without a permit. That covers all the places I might care to go.

Posted by: Gringo Malo at July 23, 2009 03:45 PM

"How did NC Sen. Kay Hagan vote?"

She voted Yea.

A breakdown of the vote.

YEAs ---58
Alexander (R-TN) Barrasso (R-WY) Baucus (D-MT) Bayh (D-IN) Begich (D-AK) Bennet (D-CO) Bennett (R-UT) Bond (R-MO) Brownback (R-KS) Bunning (R-KY) Burr (R-NC) Casey (D-PA) Chambliss (R-GA) Coburn (R-OK) Cochran (R-MS) Collins (R-ME) Conrad (D-ND) Corker (R-TN) Cornyn (R-TX) Crapo (R-ID) DeMint (R-SC) Dorgan (D-ND) Ensign (R-NV) Enzi (R-WY) Feingold (D-WI) Graham (R-SC) Grassley (R-IA) Gregg (R-NH) Hagan (D-NC) Hatch (R-UT) Hutchison (R-TX) Inhofe (R-OK) Isakson (R-GA) Johanns (R-NE) Johnson (D-SD) Kyl (R-AZ) Landrieu (D-LA) Lincoln (D-AR) Martinez (R-FL) McCain (R-AZ) McConnell (R-KY) Murkowski (R-AK) Nelson (D-NE) Pryor (D-AR) Reid (D-NV) Risch (R-ID) Roberts (R-KS) Sessions (R-AL) Shelby (R-AL) Snowe (R-ME) Tester (D-MT) Thune (R-SD) Udall (D-CO0 Udall (D-NM) Vitter (R-LA) Warner (D-VA) Webb (D-VA) Wicker (R-MS)

NAYs ---39
Akaka (D-HI) Bingaman (D-NM) Boxer (D-CA) Brown (D-OH) Burris (D-IL) Cantwell (D-WA) Cardin (D-MD) Carper (D-DE) Dodd (D-CT) Durbin (D-IL) Feinstein (D-CA) Franken (D-MN) Gillibrand (D-NY) Harkin (D-IA) Inouye (D-HI) Kaufman (D-DE) Kerry (D-MA) Klobuchar (D-MN) Kohl (D-WI) Lautenberg (D-NJ) Leahy (D-VT) Levin (D-MI) Lieberman (ID-CT) Lugar (R-IN) McCaskill (D-MO) Menendez (D-NJ) Merkley (D-OR) Murray (D-WA) Nelson (D-FL) Reed (D-RI) Rockefeller (D-WV) Sanders (I-VT) Schumer (D-NY) Shaheen (D-NH) Specter (D-PA) Stabenow (D-MI) Voinovich (R-OH) Whitehouse (D-RI) Wyden (D-OR)

Not Voting - 3
Byrd (D-WV) Kennedy (D-MA) Mikulski (D-MD)

Posted by: Matt at July 24, 2009 01:49 AM

The VPC was so desperate to get even this scant amount of evidence that they were forced to include allegations of wrong-doing in cases that had not been adjudicated, cases that concealed weapons played little or no part in, and at least on case were no weapons at all were used.

They also include at least one case where the only evidence the shooter had a CCW was a second-hand unconfirmed say-so of a friend of the shooters. And they include several cases where it's obvious no CCW should have ever been issued, that the screening authority had clearly failed in their job of background check.

Posted by: Tully at July 28, 2009 12:13 PM