When our Founding Fathers wrote the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution, they could not have been clearer: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”
They understood that we have a God-given right to defend ourselves, our families, and others, at all times, and that it is the government’s duty to protect that right, not to take it away. They understood that an armed and ready populace would serve as a check against government tyranny. The Second Amendment therefore exists to ensure our safety and to safeguard all of our God-given natural rights.
Why, then, is there not a national concealed carry law, applicable across all 50 states, on the books? Sure, all 50 states have passed their own laws allowing residents to carry concealed weapons in public. Currently, 33 states have “shall issue” concealed carry laws, which means that state authorities grant concealed carry permits in most cases; nine states have “may issue” laws, which grant state authorities a lot of leeway in determining whether or not to issue permits; and eight states do not require a permit to carry in public.
However, there is currently no federal law in effect granting permit-holders reciprocity in all 50 states. Instead, there is a patchwork system in effect. Most states recognize concealed carry permits granted in multiple other states; however, only a few, like Indiana and Ohio, recognize permits granted everywhere. Furthermore, there is not a single state whose own permits are recognized everywhere. If a Michigan resident makes the short trip to Illinois, for example, then their permit suddenly becomes invalid. Michigan’s permits are only recognized in 39 states, and Illinois is not one of them.
Part of the reason why this patchwork system exists is because each state has its own requirements that an applicant must meet before a permit is granted, such as accuracy training and firearm safety courses. If a state chooses not to recognize permits granted in another state, it is likely because it disapproves of that particular state’s permit requirements out of a concern for public safety.
However, having a system where a concealed carry permit can be valid in one state and invalid in a neighboring state is the real danger to public safety. Wayne LaPierre, the Executive Vice President of the National Rifle Association, said in a video released this November that “the individual right to carry a firearm in defense of our lives and our families does not, and should not, end at any state line.” He is absolutely right.
The solution to ending the confusing concealed carry patchwork system is for Congress to pass a national concealed carry law establishing uniform permit requirements across all 50 states. That way, those who wish to exercise their right to keep and bear arms will not have to question whether or not their permit is valid every time they cross a state line. They won’t have to worry about the legal consequences of protecting themselves in an emergency, which can happen anywhere without warning.
President-elect Donald Trump, who decisively defeated Hillary Clinton and her anti-Second Amendment agenda on Election Day, has a concealed carry permit in New York. He has made a national concealed carry law a centerpiece of his plan to uphold the Second Amendment. In his official Second Amendment policy paper, he writes, “The right of self-defense doesn’t stop at the end of your driveway. That’s why I have a concealed carry permit and why tens of millions of Americans do too. That permit should be valid in all 50 states. A driver’s license works in every state, so it’s common sense that a concealed carry permit should work in every state. If we can do that for driving – which is a privilege, not a right – then surely we can do that for concealed carry, which is a right, not a privilege.”
The Second Amendment doesn’t just apply to a few states; it applies to our entire country. Concealed carry permits should be valid in all 50 states, as it is the constitutional right of every American to be able to keep and bear arms. With President-elect Trump leading the charge, passage of a national concealed carry law is within our grasp.