Shannon Watts, the founder of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, said in a recent interview that she’s “not anti-gun” but that her organization doesn’t support a national concealed-carry reciprocity bill.
“With rights come responsibilities and the NRA is trying to create an America without responsibility,” she told the Daily Camera, noting that her members support “common sense” measures.
When it comes to a national concealed carry reciprocity bill, what can be more common sense than that?
Okay, maybe a national Constitutional Carry standard, one that doesn’t require a permit at all to exercise one’s right to keep and bear arms, but apart from that, what makes more sense than allowing licensed gun owners to carry across state lines without worrying about becoming instant criminals?
See, national reciprocity not only keeps gun owners safe from being ensnared in draconian laws cooked up by anti-gun municipalities, but it makes the country as a whole safer. Fewer gun-free zones equal fewer soft targets for mass killers, criminals, and drug dealers. That’s common sense!
Yet, Watts doesn’t see it that way. She believes that full reciprocity would be a threat to public safety.
“Some states are incredibly strict,” explained Watts. “There’s never been a federal agreement on what that standard should be and the NRA wants it to be the lowest common denominator.”
As an example, she said, somebody could buy a gun in a lenient state and then take it into Times Square, where New York has some of the tightest laws.
That raises an obvious point, what’s wrong with carrying a firearm into Times Square for self-defense? Criminals already carry all over NYC. Would it really be that big of a deal if a law-abiding citizen carried as well? In fact, wouldn’t common sense suggest that we want more responsible citizens carrying in places where the criminal element faces almost zero armed resistance from the public at large?
Even permit holders from the most lenient states are infinitely better than no armed resistance at all. Right?
Watts is correct in saying that rights come with responsibilities. But at the same time, rights are rights. We have a codified right to keep and bear arms — bear as in carry them! That’s not subject to infringement. Yet, one can argue, we’ve already infringed on that right by allowing states to concoct concealed-carry permitting systems in first place.
All these different state-run systems function in a way to turn law-abiding citizens into criminals. With a patchwork of concealed-carry standards that honor some states and don’t honor others, we’re consenting to the notion that one’s legal standing as it pertains to their Constitutionally-protected right to carry is a simple question of geography. Oh, you’re carrying a concealed firearm in Tennessee. That’s okay, Tenessee honors your permit. Oh, you’re carrying in Times Square — oops, you’re a criminal!
If you ask me, our 2A right comes with responsibility — the responsibility to ensure that the government doesn’t infringe upon it. We’ve already dropped the ball to a degree. A national concealed-carry reciprocity bill would be a good start to getting us back on track.