A Divided House

There’s a lot of debate within the pro-gun community about whether involving Congress in gun issues like reciprocity is really a wise idea.  Many in the community have expressed skepticism about the idea, and many are downright opposed to setting a precedent for Congress to involve itself.  While Bitter helped politically to support the bill, she’s one of the folks who’s skeptical of the notion that Congress should have a role here, since it might set Congress on a path of interfering with the Second Amendment in ways we don’t appreciate..  I understand those who are skeptical, but generally believe Congress has an obligation to protect the rights of American citizens under the 14th Amendment, and don’t mind it taking a more activist role in this area.

We have decided to present a series of arguments, with Bitter taking the side of the skeptics, and me taking the side of the proponents of federal involvement.  Bitter, after all, is from the South, and distantly related to Jefferson Davis.  And I’ve lived all my life in the area where many of the drafters of the 14th Amendment came from.  Bitter will do the first post, and I will follow.

11 thoughts on “A Divided House”

  1. Looking forward to this. I tend to lean towards Bitter’s position. Regardless of the fact that I’m from NJ and should be asking *CCW? What is that?* in the first place.

  2. So the logic is that congress might someday regulate firearms in a bad way if we start passing pro-gun bills? Oh right, they already passed a million anti-gun bills through congress.

    From a purely legal standpoint, reciprocity for CCW is justified under the 14th amendment and arguably the full faith and credit clause and/or the article VI privileges and immunities clause.

  3. Jim, I think Article IV section one (full faith and credit) is the best approach. Privileges and immunities (Art IV, section 2) reads to me that a visitor from another State is guaranteed only the same privileges and immunities as regular citizens of the HOST State, which wouldn’t do us any good if we were visiting New Jersey. And the 14th Amendment has been so reinterpreted with contradictory theories that I am not confident we can count on it (although Sebastian may have more concrete evidnce of its reliability). But “full faith an credit” should suffice to get the job done and hopefully without giving Congress any unprecedented power to regulate to our harm.
    I look forward to the “intra-nuptial” debate.

  4. Full Faith and Credit does not apply to licensing. It only requires that another state take notice of the fact that you have a license, it doesn’t require them to honor it. Otherwise you could get, say, a marriage license in Massachusetts, but have the ceremony in Texas, even if the couple in question were gay.

    I will actually do a post a bit later on the constitutionality of the Thune Amendment. Even under 14A, it’s questionably constitutional, which I’ll get into in the post rather than here.

  5. I agree with this, but how come my driver’s license is valid in all 50 states? Reciprocity agreements? If so, what would happen if Texas suddenly said “we refuse to recognize out of state driver’s licenses” and started fining all out-of-staters for driving without a license?

    This would be politically disastrous but would it be illegal?

  6. That’s a good example, Jim, and with great respect for Sebastian’s exposition, I should like to offer that Art. IV, Section 1 prescribes full faith and credit not only for the licenses (“records”) but also for the “public acts” (i. e., marriage, driving, and, dare I hope someday, concealed carry), certified by other States upon their citizens. The section also allows Congress to define or limit the “effect” of that recognition, as I believe the federal DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act) did so that other States did not have to recognize Vermonters’ same-sex marriages. In the same manner, it was hoped Sen. Thune’s Amendment would define the full faith and credit required of, say New Jersey, to give to Vermont concealed carriers as they drove through to see the beach. I don’t think the Supreme Court has ruled yet on any of these specifics. But this is the theory that gives me hope for a successful reciprocity standard without allowing Congress to actually dictate CC standards for all States and thus potenially jeopardizing gains already made in mine and others.

  7. I think I have a gap in knowledge of Bitter’s history, because personally… Oklahoma isn’t the South.

    Nevertheless, while I tend toward her reasoning, I appreciate an open and logical discussion. This will be an interesting set of posts.

  8. Full faith and credit does not apply to marriages or drivers licenses. Drivers licenses are recognized through comity, meaning there’s no state the doesn’t recognize the license of another. It would be like if every state recognized every other state’s concealed carry licenses.

    Same thing with marriages. Otherwise someone gay married in Massachusetts would be able to live with the benefits of marriage in any state. States can choose not to recognize another state’s marriage.

  9. My apologies, Sebastian; I sense my persistent reference to Article IV Section One is becoming a bit irritating and I in no way wish to cause such perturbations. I shall of course defer to your admittedly greater knowledge of legal procedure. But if you would permit me to say in my defense, all five of the sources I investigated, including dictionaries, legal and otherwise, led me to choose full faith and credit over comity as the operable legal authority for CC reciprocity because to a one they stated comity was:
    not legally binding;
    applied only to:
    foreign relations between nations and
    between courts of different jurisdictions, whether State-federal or State-State.
    The following site stated that comity did not apply to relations between States regarding State “laws, acts, or decisions,” but that that was the soul jurisdiction of full faith and credit. Since CC permits are a matter of State law, I naturally made that connection.


    Another site (www.findarticle.com) stated that the Founding Fathers created full faith and credit to actually REPLACE comity because the latter “did not sufficiently recognize the States as coequal sovereignties” and that it failed to reconcile State vs State judicial decisions. This site went on to say, and I think you’ll be interested in this, comity, because it is courtesy and not law, cannot be consistently reliable. Hence, the Founders made full faith and credit supreme law binding upon the States, and then gave Congress power to regulate its procedure and effects (in my humble mind a brilliant invention). What that said to me is that Congress is powerless to pass a reciprocity law on concealed carry based on comity, but has enumerated power to do so under Article IV Section 1. Hence my irritating insistance that full faith and credit is the ticket to successful CC reciprocity.
    But I realize what I read on line or in a book may not be what passes judicial muster in reality. And I also trust that you do know what actually works in today’s courts (and am I ever thankful for that – and that you’re on our team!). Therefore, I’ll shutup about FF&C and pray for comity on CC Reciprocity.
    Thanks for the education!

  10. Hey sorry, I mis-copied that second website address. Its http://www.findarticles.com.
    The best way to find that source is to google “comity vs full faith and credit” and look for the link to findarticles.com.

  11. I am of the opinion that our government is three branched with checks and balances for a reason.

    I also do not believe reciprocity will result in any difference regarding future laws. In my opinon, Congress has already meddled in such with the Brady Law and others legislation.

    I think that we’ve just finally waken up and started to use some of their own medicine against them. (ie: tucking in Carry in Nat’l Parks, trying to get reciprocity, etc).

    I think we need to establish more pro-gun legislation. This will force the government to take radical steps to nullify it. And thus, will make a broader, darker line in the sand. Which hopefully, the government will decide never to cross, and we’ll remain a free people.

    We’ve lost battles in all three branches: Executive (numerous executive orders and BATFE), Legislative (Brady, Background checks, etc), and Judicial (Miller BS case, etc.)

    And let’s be honest. The Miller case was total BS. I mean, a Supreme Court case where the defense doesn’t have a lawyer. Come on…

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