Every once in a while our favorite Brady Board member starts getting onto serious topics that warrant clarification. She seems to think HR822, the National concealed carry Reciprocity bill, is part of a larger strategy. It is, but not the one she thinks. So much like explaining to the vegan, exactly how you plan to butcher the calf, I’ll explain what HR822 is really about. First, her theory:
It’s simple, or maybe not so simple. Things are not always as simple as the NRA and its minions would have us believe. What the gun guys really want is to quash the intent of May Issue states and open up the possibility of residents in those states suing for equal protection by saying “If they get to, why not us?” See the Indiana case mentioned in my previous post. This bill is part of a legal strategy to overturn all permitting processes in the states. The fact that some states have no permitting requirements at all provides them with an excuse to sue under the “equal protection” clause in the constitution – a favorite strategy of the NRA. That way, they get what they really want through the courts.
This is not part of a grand conspiracy to overturn all permitting processes. There is currently no gun rights organization that has a serious litigation strategy that is attempting to target permit requirements for carrying firearms at this point, and HR822 is not part of any such future strategy. The primary, overwhelming purpose of HR822 is to force the states to recognize each other’s permits, so that the right to bear arms and the right to travel are not impermissibly infringed by state laws. The conspiracy really goes no farther than that.
Her speculation on the bill’s true purpose also fundamentally misunderstands the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment. Equal Protection does not mean that states may not have differing laws. Even if the Supreme Court rules that it is permissible to require permits to carry a gun, provided they are issued to the law-abiding in a manner not arbitrary or capricious, that would not create a cause of action under the Equal Protection Clause if some states choose to require it and others do not. It’s an absurd assertion to suggest that because Vermont has chosen not to require licenses, that must be required of every state as a matter of equal protection. There are certainly ways that clause can be implicated in right to keep and bear arms cases, but not in the way she suggests. Whether permitting can be required, and what kind of requirements are permissible, is a scope issue in the Second Amendment, and not an equal protection issue under the 14th Amendment.
But I can speculate as to how HR822 would benefit our Court strategy. Despite what our favorite Brady Board member has been told by folks who clearly ignored the parts of Heller that they wished hadn’t been written, the opinion was pretty transparent in stating that there was a constitutional right to carry arms, in addition to keeping them in the home. It left open the possibility the state may regulate how arms my be borne, including prohibiting the carrying of arms concealed (citing several state cases that said the same), but it’s abundantly clear from the opinion the Court recognized that the Second Amendment protects a right to carry guns for self-defense in some manner, even if not all manners, or in sensitive places.
So given the Courts have recognized the right to carry, and the right to travel, it’s quite a proper exercise of Congress’ 14th Amendment, Section 5 powers to pass legislation to protect both those rights. It sends a clear signal to the federal courts, especially the lower federal courts who have refused to take the Supreme Court’s rulings on the Second Amendment seriously, that the elected branches of government are firmly with the high court on the matter of carrying arms deserving protection of some sort. Since getting the courts to explicitly overturn restrictions on carrying arms is one of our immediately litigative priorities, having Congress weigh in only strengthens that case.
So this is not a massive conspiracy to get rid of permits using HR822 as a springboard. We aren’t thinking that far ahead with the Court strategy right now. This is a pretty transparently obvious effort to get the Courts to reiterate there’s a right to carry arms, and that states are limited in how they may regulate that right, and certainly are prohibited from outright abolishing it, such is the case in Illinois. If it indeed is a right, it’s certainly infringing on the right to be able to exercise it freely in some states and not others. It also certainly has implications on the right to travel.
When we butcher someone else’s sacred calf, we do it slow and methodically, and not with careless or reckless abandon. It’s a pity Japete doesn’t know us better by now.