Close the Personal Self-Defense Loophole

It’s time to close the national personal self-defense loophole.

Congress should enact national reciprocity for citizens issued permits to carry concealed firearms by individual states.

An individual who has a state-issued permit to carry a concealed firearm ought to be able to carry in any state in the same way an individual with a driver’s license can drive anywhere in the United States.

Such a law would benefit society as well as individual persons. As John R. Lott, Jr. has pointed out in his study More Guns Less Crime, rates of violent crime drop precipitously in jurisdictions adopting ccw laws.

The states recognize this. Over eighty percent of them have such laws on the books. Members of Congress know this. Just recently, several have indicated the personal possibility of utilizing the benefits of ccw laws. These include Reps. Jason Chaffetz of Utah, Steve Cohen of Tennessee, Morgan Griffith of Virginia, Allen West of Florida, and Renee Ellmers and Heath Shuler of North Carolina.

We continually witness the phenomenon of gun-grabbing politicians and media extremists trying to manipulate the criminal use of firearms by a few into a fulcrum from which to generate public support for limits on the gun rights of all law-abiding citizens. They appear practically to salivate when an individual misuses a gun in a particularly heinous manner. They’re bent on undermining the individual Second Amendment civil right of law-abiding American citizens to keep and bear arms.

The people aren’t buying their junk. Polls show declining support for gun control laws and increasing support for the gun rights of all Americans. Legal purchases of guns and ammunition are at record levels. About 100 million Americans own about 200 million rifles, shotguns and handguns.

What’s missing is a law enabling citizens with state-issued ccw permits to carry guns throughout the United States. It’s time to close this loophole in the right to self-defense.

Congressmen Cliff Stearns of Florida, a Republican, and Heath Shuler of North Carolina, a Democrat, in late February took a good step in this direction. They introduced H.R. 822, the proposed National Right-to-Carry Reciprocity Act of 2011. It would provide that any person with a valid state-issued concealed firearm permit be allowed to carry a concealed firearm in any state that issues concealed firearm permits, or that does not prohibit the carrying of concealed firearms for lawful purposes.

It’s been referred to the House Judiciary Committee, under the chairmanship of Rep. Lamar Smith of Texas, a Republican.

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