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A Divided House: The Case Against Federal Intervention

Someone call Hell because Bitter doesn’t agree with the NRA on something! Clearly, it must be frozen. Now that we have that out of the way, on to the substance.

First and foremost, my background is probably the biggest driver of my skepticism of opening the doors of federal concealed carry regulations. I grew up in Oklahoma (rural, suburban and urban areas) where the attitudes toward guns is so overwhelmingly pro-gun that there was nary a question about the legitimacy of ownership and carry. I didn’t even realize there was a debate on guns until I moved to Massachusetts for college and inquired at the local range about buying one. I stuck around in Massachusetts for a few years post college and remained active with the issue before moving to Virginia to work in DC. Needless to say, I’ve seen the best and the worst. Hence, my skepticism.

I realize that the benefit of the Thune Amendment would have been huge for many folks. It would mean we could go do simple errands in New Jersey without worrying about stopping by the house to drop off guns. It means Sebastian could treat me to a Broadway show in New York City on my birthday whiled armed. I don’t deny that it would be a great thing, even for my household and many people I know.

What happens when the Pelosi-run House is able to round up the votes to add a few restrictions on the language so as to protect the largest states? It wouldn’t be much at first, as they would need to placate Blue Dogs & at least some of the GOP. NRA would be forced to expend at least as much political capital in defeating any restriction-laced bills in order as they did trying to pass it in the first place. Though these restrictions would likely be minor at first, and not terribly offensive to most, it’s very likely to do harm to gun owners in Vermont and Alaska first. They may need to mandate permits or add restrictions they don’t currently have on the books.

You can see where the slippery slope argument kicks in. But even if we didn’t go down the road of a worst-case scenario of a federally-run license scheme based on a system like New Jersey or Massachusetts, it would still be a negative on thousands of gun owners. It wouldn’t take too many tweaks to make that hundreds of thousands, or perhaps millions. In other words, is it a trade off we want to make? Having lived in one of the worst-case scenarios, I lean toward no.

Of course, wait for Sebastian’s rebuttal because you know there is more to argue on the practical, political, and legal levels here. It’s not a cut-and-dry issue, something I think is clear to us all after the last few weeks of discussion.

12 Responses to “A Divided House: The Case Against Federal Intervention”

  1. DirtCrashr says:

    My concern is in the process when and where the House and the Senate play games. It’s all political fodder, posturing, and theater to them — as evidenced by the behavior of some supposedly pro-gun Democrats who got the OK-sign and voted “Yes” on it when they knew that their Management safely held the results to be a “No.”

    These guys show time and again that they are wholly owned subsidiaries of their Party – or whoever will finance and extend their candidacy (Spector).

  2. Chris says:

    I think this arguement is summed up as:

    “A government big enough to give you everything you want is a government big enough to take from you everything you have.”

    And the argument has validity, although, if restrictions, on say, Alaska, or Vermont (or Montana or Tennessee or *gasp* the Republic of Texas) were imposed from the federal level I think that it would really start to generate a lot of grassroots level attention.

    Already in Alaska we’ve got statements like this one.
    http://armaborealis.blogspot.com/2009/07/interesting.html

  3. Little Steve says:

    You make a lot of good points. For me, though, it’s acknowledging a license and not setting new regulations. If it gets repealed, or part of it gets repealed, worst case scenario is we’re back to status quo.

    Is it letting the government get its nose under the tent flap? If we get an anti-gun majority the Schumer’s and Lautenberg’s can get to vote with them … it won’t matter in the least if we have this law or not. They’ll put in force every punitive law they can get away with. This would be just one more law they’d have to peal back to do us damage.

    • Bitter says:

      This post didn’t cover everything. This “debate” will be a multi-post back and forth styled after the conversations we’ve had on this topic over the last couple of years. This was an introduction to a) my general view, and b) one of the many concerns about it.

  4. Weer'd Beard says:

    What range did you shoot at in Mass?

  5. Bitter says:

    Lots of them. At least Braintree, Smith & Wesson, North Leominster, Holyoke, Harvard, Boston Gun Range, Hanson, Northampton, Worcester, Hopkinton, and Westfield. I only joined North Leominster & only shot regularly at S&W.

  6. Jeff says:

    FWIW, *other* than may issue permits, the carry laws in MA are excellent. The only prohibited places are gov’t buildings with metal detectors and schools. Everything else is tresspass standard.

    That said, I share your concerns with increasing federal power. Also, I loved Joe Huffman’s response to his senator when she used that as a copout for her non-support.

  7. Bitter says:

    You mean other than the fact that if the Police Chief doesn’t like red and you wear a red shirt when you turn in your application, you can be denied while your neighbor down the street across a barely noticed city border is approved without question?

    I agree, in general the places you can carry are pretty good, and it’s nice to be able to take it to Boston. Of course, the fact that you are required to have a discretionary LTC to even own some rifles and all handguns in your home is a problem. And that’s just the beginning…

  8. Jeff says:

    Oh, I’m not saying that MA’s gun laws aren’t a travesty. Just pointing out that once you get the LTC, our carry laws are better than many states with more recent shall issue carry laws.

    I certainly miss PA. (I grew up not far from you.) Check out our attempt to fix MA at http://www.massgunlawreform.com.

  9. RAH says:

    Bitter has a point and so does Sebastian. I agree with both of them. This CCW national reciprocity is not a big priority for me. Federal law allows transport of guns just not on you. Many states have reciprocity and if it becomes all state reciprocity there is no need for federal intervention. State to state reciprocity was evolving to become the norm. I just think the less federal laws the better.

    Actually our slide toward a national government happened as a result of the civil war and not necessarily a good thing for freedom.

    CA made weed a legal drug and people can grow their own. Federal gov’t under the heavy hand of the GOP and Democrats refuse to acknowledge that and will prosecute Californians. There are some eggrgious issues that the federal can overide but CCW is not a right but a priviledge.

    I am not aware of a federal law that made driving licenses a natiowide law. I am not against national reciprocity but do not see the need.

    I am sure that as a resident of one the few may issue states that I still would not be able to carry concealed in MD if I got a Utah CCW since I would have to abide by MD law and I am a legal resident of that state those laws have precedence.

    That is like getting an out of state driving license to avoid the MD law on driving licenses. Seems like cheating. I know people that have done that but it is usually to avoid a suspension by getting a license in another state.

    I would like the peace of mind to carry concealed or open without any license or having to research when I go across state lines. I can travel across 3-4 state lines in a 3-4 hr drive. MD , PA, WC, VA and DE.

    Currently I use the federal law to transport to be safe, so I guess a federal law to allow CCW is no different and can do that. If so make it one set of regs for all the states.

  10. Arnie says:

    I concur with RAH. Seems like our lives become more regulated at the national level with each passing war or other calamity. Since the War Between the States, the States’ ability to protect their citizens from national intrusion into their private lives and pocketbooks has diminished with every new crisis – now its global “warming” (?) and health care. Reciprocity may indeed be an enumerated power of the general government, but I hesitate to motivate it to exercise that power. I dread we may just end up feeding the beast!

  11. N.U.G.U.N. says:

    I am just of the opinion that we’ll get those any ways. Nothing to stop Pelosi and her crew from passing many of those on a Federal level right now. Besides us voters.

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