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NAGR Coming out Against HR822

The National Association for Gun Rights are worried about federal intervention into the issue of concealed carry, going so far as to adopt the utterly ridiculous moniker for this bill, “National CCW Registration Act.” Understand that I don’t belittle anyone who has concerns about the feds getting involved in traditionally state issue of concealed carry. Those concerns are completely legitimate, and prior to McDonald and Heller I shared them. Nonetheless, many of NAGR’s points are ridiculous, and I’ll take on some them to explain my opinion on the matter.

While the idea that all states should recognize a concealed weapons permit is sound public policy, the use of the anti-gun federal bureaucracy to implement it is simply foolish.

Once the Federal Government is in the business of setting the standards for concealed carry permits, it’s only a matter of time before they start using that power to restrict our rights.

This won’t use a federal bureaucracy. There won’t be any Department of Reciprocity Enforcement. It’s just that the federal law offers a defense in court if a state chooses to arrest someone with a firearm, who is licensed by any state to carry it in a state other than their state of residence. NAGR’s concern seems to be that Congress will come along later and set federal standards.

But the devil is truly in the details… and the details are where H.R. 822 gets sticky.

This bill isn’t just about the right to carry for self defense — it’s a battle over the role of government and the ability to restrict our Second Amendment rights.

There are no details. The bill is remarkably simple. If you have a license from any state, you can carry in any other state that issues concealed carry licenses under the same standard for an unrestricted license in that state. The only exception is your state of residence, or states that prohibit the carrying of concealed weapons. For people who live in Vermont, they can go next door to NH and get a non-resident permit, which would allow them to carry in every state except Illinois (which prohibits concealed weapons entirely).

Even worse, once this bill starts moving, anyone can amend the bill with anything … and no legislation can bind a future Congress in any way. And that doesn’t count what Obamacrats in the Department of Justice might dream up as the “regulations” to carry out the legislative “intent.”

That’s an excuse for never passing any pro-gun law. Congress can always turn around and screw us. There’s never any time when that’s not the case. The “Obamacrats” in the Department of Justice don’t have any power to draw up “regulations” that Congress doesn’t give them. HR822 does not grant bureaucrats any rule making authority.

I believe I should be able to carry concealed — without a permit — in all 50 states. That’s what “bear arms” means. Believe me, that’s a long-term policy goal for the National Association for Gun Rights.

That’s wonderful. I agree. But the world we live in is one in which only four states allow carry without a permit. All but one still have a permit option. We might be able to grow that by a few states in a few years, but it’s not going away any time soon. In addition, I view that the courts are highly unlikely to invalidate the requirement of a concealed carry license, provided the licenses aren’t issued in an arbitrary and capricious manner. Because it doesn’t measure up to your ideal is not an excuse for not improving our current reality.

Once gun owners let the Obamacrats start mandating whether states recognize permit reciprocity, they will want to mandate what it takes to get and keep those permits.

No one is allowing “Obamacrats” to mandate anything. The only thing this bill mandates is reciprocity. It establishes no federal standard. Understand that the main source of Congressional power to pass this bill is the 14th Amendment. Court precedent does not allow Congress to take the legislation farther than the courts have been willing to go. The Courts were pretty clear there’s a right to carry, but have been vague about how the bounds of that right are defined. That’s the reason this bill does very little. Establishing federal standards for reciprocity would be a considerably more dubious exercise of the 14th Amendment power. So would creating federal standards by which states issue permits, which it seems NAGR is more concerned about. That would be gun control. Congress can always pass gun control. This bill is not anywhere close to gun control. It would also be a highly dubious exercise of federal power to impose licensing standards on states even under the commerce clause.

Not to mention this legislation would shred the Constitutional Carry provisions that are on the books in Arizona, Alaska, Vermont and Wyoming.

That is absolute nonsense. It’s just not true at all. This bill only covers reciprocity. Arizona, Alaska, and Wyoming still issue permits for reciprocity purposes, even if they do not require it to carry in that state. Vermont does not issue permits, but New Hampshire will issue to residents of Vermont on a shall-issue basis. A Vermonter with a NH permit can carry in every state someone with a Texas permit can under HR822.

It doesn’t stop with just concealed carry. They’ll co-opt the bill to expand the national Brady Registration Check system to block military veterans with PTSD or individuals with misdemeanor convictions from even OWNING firearms — much less use them for self defense.

They can always do this. This is like arguing that we shouldn’t build a missile defense system because the Russians might decide to nuke New York. Congress can always pass gun control. The reason they haven’t is because they fear us.

They will use this bill as the foundation to create a federal database of CCW permit holders. And then they can link it everywhere the Feds have database connections — state police, doctors and insurance companies under Obamacare, and Medicaid/Medicare.

The worst that could happen down the line is that an anti-gun Congress tinkers with the requirements for reciprocity to be enforced. You can bet that every gun rights group will oppose that. At worst, you fall back on state reciprocity, since the feds wouldn’t mandate reciprocal licensing for all but the most strict states. Everything else going through Dudley Brown’s active imagination would amount to a new gun control bill that does not involve the subject of reciprocity. Congress could pass a bill forbidding states from allowing concealed carry any time it wanted. That’s not an excuse for doing nothing.

That’s why you and I have to make noise, now!

Please call your Congressman at 202-224-3121 (send an email, too; you can get that link here) and relay the message that gun owners oppose H.R. 822, the Trojan Horse gun control bill. Make clear that you want to keep the Federal Government’s hands off the state-run CCW permit system.

<sarcasm>I think I can speak for gun owners everywhere in sincerely thanking Dudley Brown for giving some of our weak kneed critters the “pro-gun” cover they need to vote against a bill many of them would rather not vote for in the first place.</sarcasm> We are truly our own worst enemies. Who needs the Brady Campaign, VPC, and CSGV when you have NAGR?

23 Responses to “NAGR Coming out Against HR822”

  1. David says:

    I see a lot of promise in this bill and I see a lot of room for federal abuse. Once the feds control/mandate something they’ll never let go or let it alone. You can see this with highway bills, funding, and mandates forced down to the states.

    Just think of what happens if the feds start inserting lines like this into criminal justice funding bills:

    “State not limiting detachable magazines to 10 rounds by X date will not be eligible for criminal justice funding”

    Or forcing fingerprint, training, insurance, and CCW restriction on CCW holders.

    I’d rather the federal government stay out of this and we keep winning state by state in state houses and the courts.

  2. Sebastian says:

    They could do that at any time. It’s not like no one has ever thought about it.

  3. Jeffrey H says:

    Thanks for highlighting this so I know another “gun rights” group to avoid ever sending money to. I will stick with the NRA and the SAF groups which actually expand our gun rights.

  4. Justin Buist says:

    NAGR? They should have sounded that out before sticking with it.

    At least they didn’t go with the National Institute for Gun Rights.

  5. I’ve never understood this position. It assumes as true the view of Federal powers that the Left has always promoted. If you assume that the FedGov can pretty much do whatever it wants, you can worry every day that they will do pretty much whatever they want. Since this bill is based upon the 14th Amendment

    Section 5. The Congress shall have power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.

    and not one more farcical interpretation of the Commerce Clause, I don’t see how you can stretch it to start mandating how states run their CHP systems.

    The 14th Amendment says “people have rights, and those rights are enforceable against the States.” It doesn’t say, “The Feds can force States to deprive the people of their rights.” It doesn’t say that when the Left claims it does, and it doesn’t say that when the NAGR says that either.

  6. Jacob says:

    Dudley is an even bigger bozo than Larry Pratt.

  7. Sebastian says:

    Sean:

    That’s pretty much my assertion. Mandating permit standards, rather than reciprocity standards, is a pretty dubious exercise of federal power, even under current commerce clause doctrine. I should do a further post on this topic.

  8. Dave says:

    I love that last bit “database, Obamacare, medicare/medicaid, trojan horse”… It’s almost like a meta tag dump so it will be picked up on a search engine.

    I wonder if using the same line of thinking … Was the Coburn amendment a trojan horse? How did the Coburn Amendment ending the ban on self defense in National Parks & National Wildlife refuges not also trample “states rights” ?

    Oh wait – that’s right… it was actually NPS & Interior who were doing that so it makes you wonder just how much the loudest complainers about HR822 did to help end the National Parks ban. Probably not much.

    Seriously, if you belong to a “grassroots” RKBA group and they are opposed to HR822 you have to ask what side they’re on. They are either with the Brady campaign or they’re not… Which is it?

    Get your money back if you belong to a group that is opposing national reciprocity.

  9. Carl from Chicago says:

    I’ve long suspected that Dudley Brown is playing with fewer cards than a full deck.

    That said … anyone catch the subcommittee hearings on this bill? Several of the bill’s opponents made references to adding “national standards” language to the bill, such as training standards at the like.

    I suspect such language would not fly (and I would not support the bill if they did), but I figure that when this hits the house floor, such amendments will be offered up.

  10. Jacob says:

    Dudley is trying to make a buck. Rather than do a better job than NRA he’s going the Larry Pratt route of bashing them as a fundraising tool.

  11. Dan says:

    Thanks for the discussion. I was wondering about the NAGR position myself. Y’all help clear it up.

  12. Steve says:

    Let’s win this battle first. Then worry about fighting the next one.

  13. A Critic says:

    “This won’t use a federal bureaucracy.”

    In theory.

    You can’t judge a law based on the proposed text.

    Nor can you judge it based on the enacted text.

    You can begin to judge it once it has been “interpreted”, by the courts and by the other parts of the government that enforce it or define it.

    It would be great practically speaking if this were to go into effect (and stay there) as intended…but it seems unlikely.

    I’d love to be able to visit Massachusetts, Hawaii, etc but I would have to see it before I believe it.

  14. bogie says:

    “There are no details. The bill is remarkably simple. If you have a license from any state, you can carry in any other state that issues concealed carry licenses under the same standard for an unrestricted license in that state. The only exception is your state of residence, or states that prohibit the carrying of concealed weapons. For people who live in Vermont, they can go next door to NH and get a non-resident permit, which would allow them to carry in every state except Illinois (which prohibits concealed weapons entirely).”

    IMHO; there is a problem with the above statement. NH only requires a fee and an application (with a couple of character witness names on it). So, since there is no test requirement, no class requirement, there are a whole lot of states that wouldn’t be reciprical under the law. So, a Vermonter coming and getting a NH license, wouldn’t help them a whole lot.

    Maybe I missed something?

  15. Sebastian says:

    Why wouldn’t it be reciprocal? The law doesn’t establish any minimum standard. A Vermonter can carry just as well on a New Hampshire license as they could on a license from any other state.

  16. Ian Argent says:

    I thought there was a pro-forma invocation of the post-Lopez commerce clause in there as well as the 14th amendment justification. At any rate, all of that litany of horrors could come to pass regardless of hr822

  17. Michael D. Gale says:

    If they are truly basing this upon the enforcement clause of the 14th amendment and requiring states to recognize the right exists even when you cross state lines, then go the distance and force Illinois, Maryland, NJ & NY to provide a shall issue path for carry. Otherwise we have the equivalent of being licensed to drive in some states but not an option recognized in the “Amish” states where you must leave your car at the state line. I do not support this bill because it is a waste of congress’s time. I do not see any reason to believe that it will be allowed to come to a vote in the Senate, signed into law over have the veto overturned.

    Sebastian, over the years you have often used the issue of not wasting political capital as the reason for not supporting something that the NRA does not support. Why not this time?

  18. Sebastian says:

    Then go the distance and force Illinois, Maryland, NJ & NY to provide a shall issue path for carry

    I wouldn’t oppose a bill that did this, certainly. But I can understand why Congress not imposing this on those states is the wise move right now. As I said, the Courts have not yet ruled on how states may define the right. Mandates on the states puts act into more dubious territory, and potentially could be seen as usurping the Court’s prerogatives, even if the Court eventually rules that these states need to be shall-issue.

    Remember that people are going to be carrying on this bill, and putting their necks out if they get caught. You want to make sure the law is on solid ground if gun owners are going to end up facing criminal charges in court, and claiming this bill as a defense against those charges. This is nearly certain to happen.

    I do not support this bill because it is a waste of congress’s time. I do not see any reason to believe that it will be allowed to come to a vote in the Senate, signed into law over have the veto overturned.

    Even if it doesn’t pass, having the vote lets us know who our real friends are outside of the 2012 elections. My Senator, Bob Casey, is up in 2012, and I’d really like to see him have to put up a vote on this bill. Even if the bill never gets a vote, it still lets us sort friend from enemy in the House.

    Sebastian, over the years you have often used the issue of not wasting political capital as the reason for not supporting something that the NRA does not support. Why not this time?

    Mostly for the reasons I illustrated above. For a lot of strategic reasons, this is a good bill to push. Because I recognize some things are a waste of capital, does not mean all things are. Even if there is no vote in the Senate, it’s worthwhile to see if Senators like Bob Casey are willing to push Reid to have a vote. It’s worth seeing if Reid himself obstructs it, whereas he did not last time this issue came up for a vote, leaving Chuck Schumer to have to scramble to line up his ducks to defeat it.

  19. Chas says:

    All the anti-gun rights groups oppose HR822. None of them are supporting it on the basis of it being a foot in the door. So, the groups who would benefit from it being benefit don’t see it as a benefit.
    This what Bloomberg’s MAIG has at the top of their website, “Coalition Launches Campaign Against National Concealed Carry Reciprocity”. Defeating HR822 is MAIG’s priority #1.
    Bloomberg will be a red-faced fool if people from 48 other states can walk around New York City with concealed handguns, since he and his city prohibit the law-abiding from carrying. Even an upstate carry license says right on it that it’s invalid in NYC. New York City is so extremely restrictive that it even trumps the New York State-issued license.
    HR822 would go a long way towards normalizing the exercise of a constitutional right. We need it. It will be a bad day for criminals in New York City when it does pass – they might have to get jobs. When crime no longer pays, Bloomberg will have to explain why crime is down, despite his opposition to the law that brought it down. He’s going to fight tooth and nail to oppose HR822 because he’s wrong on the gun issue, and his pretending that he’s not wrong will no longer be possible when HR822 is law.
    HR822 will make Bloomberg look exactly like the anti-gun rights fool he is. That makes supporting it a very clear choice for me.

  20. Ian Argent says:

    To everyone losing their cool over this: what, pay tell, stops Congress from passing each of these parade of horribles as a requirement to the execution of a 4473?
    Seriously, this bill doesn’t even prevent states from issuing non-resident permits.

    Next year we work on mandatory shall-issue; this year’s fight is mandatory reciprocity.

  21. bogie says:

    “Why wouldn’t it be reciprocal? The law doesn’t establish any minimum standard. A Vermonter can carry just as well on a New Hampshire license as they could on a license from any other state.”

    Becasue of this clause “you can carry in any other state that issues concealed carry licenses under the same standard for an unrestricted license in that state”. Or at least he way I interpret it.

    To be reciprical with say, Mass., one’s license has to have been issued under the same requirements as MA. has. MA requires a class, by a MA recognized expert and fingerprinting. My NH license is not issued under the same conditions, so would not be recognized as equivelant. Maybe I am interpreting the requirement wrong.

  22. Sebastian says:

    Some states allow restrictions on a license to carry like “While working,” if you were an armored car driver or, “Only while carrying large sums of cash,” if you were a business person.

    What that clause means is that your out of state license is to be treated under the same standard as an unrestricted license. It’s to prevent hostile jurisdictions from suggesting that the law gives them the power to arbitrarily decide a reciprocal license is more limited.

  23. Ian Argent says:

    Which is why I will be terribly jealous of you when this passes, Sebastian. NJ “least-restricted” permit is anywhere not the grounds of an educational institution, and and possibly a courthouse. The last may be court policy rather than law, though courthouses are legitimately “sensitive areas” given that the ones in NJ force cops to disarm and have effective secure perimeter and convenient storage facilities.

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