What is more important right now? Whether we ban assault weapons and high capacity magazines, make universal background checks the law, eliminate straw purchases, concentrate on improving investigations into and sharing of mental health data, create a registry of firearms or other gun control legislation being proposed, there is an even more pressing problem to be reckoned with. It is what do we do with about 8 million cowboys and cowgirls walking around American streets with either a concealed weapon or one in a holster at their side?
I did a post in 2011 that questioned whether or not these people should be allowed to openly take their weapons all around town, even the whole country, if the National Rifle Assn. (NRA) has its way. In Arizona, with the country’s loosest gun laws, they can even take a gun into a bar, and the state might soon be arming teachers in schools. Right now I am fine with having a firearm at home for protection but that is where it should stay. Many of these carriers have no real weapons training and I don’t want them protecting me anyway. Leave the gun at home.
When I wrote the earlier post, the U.S. House had OKed a bill to allow concealed guns to cross state lines. That means someone from Arizona, where all you basically need to buy a gun is a warm body, this person could carry his or her weapon into states like California, New York and Illinois where they have much tougher gun laws. Thankfully this legislative idiocy has been tabled for the time being but always in the back of the minds of the gun nuts. But there is other news for changing the concealed carry laws in the future that might involve the Supreme Court.
Although one year old, The Young Turks attack concealed carry laws:
Forbes did a recent piece with concern over the fact that new verdicts from Federal Appeals courts could be harmful to the gun industry. “In Denver, the court decided that concealed-carry firearms aren’t protected by the Second Amendment,” the magazine reported. In opposition, “…in Chicago, the court reached a different decision. It declined to reconsider a ruling that found that state’s ban on concealed carry unconstitutional.” And in a New York federal appeals court, the fact that concealed carry applicants must prove “proper cause” to carry was upheld.
Two out of three sounds like momentum for gun control advocates and although this issue isn’t on the White House’s agenda, there are many who feel reevaluating this right, along with state laws re. self-defense use of guns when challenged is ripe for the picking. The question that is never asked in polls on gun violence is: “Do you favor banning concealed weapons for anyone but law enforcement and authorized users?” As an example, in a reaction to teachers carrying guns, the New Yorker found the idea “confounding.”
Concealed carry weapons including small, compact pistols and revolvers produce big money for gun manufacturers. And women have become a prime market for these firearms in one of the industry’s fastest growing segments. Some even come with pink grips. So companies like Sturm, Ruger and Smith & Wesson aren’t likely to give in to curtailment of the concealed carry laws without a fight, no doubt led by wacky Wayne LaPierre and his NRA gun worshippers. Of course those cowboys and cowgirls will certainly have their say in the matter.
Forbes predicts these contradictory appeal decisions (above) would make it more likely that the Supreme Court would have to settle the matter. Two earlier SCOTUS cases come to mind immediately. In 2008 the “District of Columbia v. Heller, upheld many 19th century prohibitions on concealed weapons, but also acknowledged that the Second Amendment protects a right to own guns.” Then in 2010, “McDonald v. Chicago, established that state and local laws should also recognize the right to own firearms.” But the Supremes also put a fly in the ointment.
McDonald v. Chicago stated that there is a right for gun owners to have a weapon in their home for protection, which leaves open the premise that the high Court just might place restraints on the concealed carry law. It is possible that eventually concealed carry permits may be available in all states. To give you an idea of the popularity, the 8 million concealed carriers are almost twice the NRA membership which is 4.5 million. It would be interesting to know what percent of these faux vigilantes are trained. Regardless, I want them all off the streets.