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.