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Constitutional Carry

From NRA’s legislative agenda for Iowa in 2011:

“Constitutional Carry”

Building on NRA’s “Constitutional Carry” successes in Alaska and Arizona, NRA is making a strong push for more “Constitutional Carry” states around the country, including Iowa.  The proposed legislation would allow individuals who lawfully possess firearms—meaning individuals who are not federally prohibited from shipping, transporting, possessing, or receiving a firearm—to either open or conceal carry without a permit. The new shall-issue permit system would remain in place, for those who wish to carry concealed in states that recognize Iowa’s permit, but residents who legally qualify would no longer be subject to the permit process to carry concealed in state.

Looks like they will also be pushing a RKBA amendment to the Constitution in Iowa. I like the 2011 agenda, but I was particularly glad to see constitutional carry is now going big time. All it takes is winning in one larger state to get the ball rolling. The language would also seem to indicate that the effort will not be contained to just Iowa. As I said before, in Tennessee, Haslam opened the door to this issue there, it’s just a matter of trying to walk through it.

33 Responses to “Constitutional Carry”

  1. Stew says:

    Now if only there was a chance of this working in New York and New Jersey.

  2. denton says:

    Legislators in Utah have promised to introduce the legislation here. The sessions starts in January, so we will soon see the outcome.

  3. Pete says:

    I would think Wisconsin would be the next target. Iowa seems too soon. Let shall issue proceed without event and then try to pass it, unless they know they can get it done now.

  4. Sebastian says:

    I tend to agree. But that might be the plan. I don’t know.

  5. Dannytheman says:

    We should start a pool of which state goes last? NY, NJ or MD?

  6. Ian Argent says:

    MD. NY and NJ have enough rural areas that the legislature can’t totally ignore. MD has Baltimore, annapolis, and the rest of the state.

  7. Mark Steele says:

    Stew – Amen brother!

  8. Jeff says:

    Gotta have MA and CA in the pool also.

  9. Mr. Twisted says:

    “Building on NRA’s “Constitutional Carry” successes in Alaska and Arizona, NRA is making a strong push for more “Constitutional Carry” states around the country, including Iowa.”

    Ahh yes, the NRA. Doing amazing things. Except for the fact that state groups — such as Iowa Gun Owners, Wyoming Gun Owners, Rocky Mountain Gun Owners, to mention a few — are doing far more than the NRA is, especially on this particular issue. The NRA is waiting in the wings to see if it gains any steam; then they can jump on it if it does and claim all kinds of credit. Awesome.

    Pete said: “Let shall issue proceed without event and then try to pass it, unless they know they can get it done now.”

    Yeah, that’s a fantastic idea. Let’s just wait and see if everyone is okay with stuff like guns because guns are scary and we don’t want to offend anyone. Let’s not get out and push and be on offense for a change; we should just “wait and see.” Without event? What does that even mean?

    Good heavens, do you check to see if it’s too cold/rainy/hot/windy/snowy/sunny to go outside, too? Just go and do it! What is the worst that can happen? It fails? Oh mercy, what ever would we do then???

    Oh that’s right, we would do it again until it passes because we don’t quit and give up every time something fails. Well, speaking for myself and good political activism, that is.

  10. Jeff says:

    Mr Twisted, I’m not going to get in the NRA argument, but I do want to point out that while I agree with: “Oh that’s right, we would do it again until it passes because we don’t quit and give up every time something fails. Well, speaking for myself and good political activism, that is.” I’d like to point out that while that’s good political strategy, it’s most definitely not good legal strategy.

    I forget if I’ve seen this Gura video here, but everyone interested in gun rights litigation needs to watch it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=52_27JeI9YY

  11. Sebastian says:

    It took getting it passed in Arizona to make it viable, and GOA and its various ineffective state groups had nothing to do with it getting passed in Arizona.

  12. Mike From Philly says:

    NRA … come on down to Georgia. We need this kind of help.

  13. Mr. Twisted says:

    Jeff, all due respect, good political strategy *is* good legal strategy. They call them “legislators” for a reason.

    Sebastian, so you’re saying Vermont and Alaska happened after Arizona?

  14. Sebastian says:

    Vermont never restricted carry at all, in its history. It’s a relatively small state with no major cities. Alaska is also a small state with no big cities. We needed a populous state with a large city to show it’s a viable idea, and that the sky doesn’t fall. One you get one legislature to go along, and the sky doesn’t fall, it’s easier to convince other legislatures. There were states that had shall-issue concealed carry prior to 1988 too, but it took Florida making the leap to turn it into a nation wide movement.

  15. Mr. Twisted says:

    Sebastian,

    I do know that about Alaska and Vermont. And I’m not trying to be a jerk (I do read your blog frequently and truly dig it). My point is that there are too many people with the “wait and see” attitude when it comes to this issue.

    The sky is always going to be falling on this one in the eyes of most politicians. Until people get out there and beat them up on it, they will continue to play it safe. If everyone is waiting and seeing, nothing will be accomplished.

    The Alan Gura video is a perfect example: he is talking about legal strategy as opposed to political strategy. Well, guess what? Constitutional Carry — for those of us outside of Vermont — isn’t an issue of litigation. It is a matter of getting a bill passed into law. The only way to do that is to have politicians that are willing to get out of their safe place and work toward making it happen.

  16. Jeff says:

    I think you missed my point. When dealing with the legislature if you try something and it doesn’t stick, you try again next session. If you try something in the courts and fail, you’re stuck with it forever.

    My comment wasn’t really directed at you. I just often see people saying similar things about lawsuits, where it’s terrible strategy.

  17. Jeff says:

    Back to the original point. There are cases where good political strategy for the NRA vs good political strategy for a state group are different. The NRA has to be careful where it spends it’s political capital. A high profile failure in one state affects their ability to get things done in another state.

    I’m not saying the NRA is perfect, just that most of the bashing is pretty one sided. While it may look to the smaller groups that NRA only swoops in for credit in fights that are already won, the difference between that and only jumping in to winnable fights and pushing some of them over the edge is pretty subtle.

    If people who have issues with NRA framed their arguments with an awareness of this, I’d be a lot more likely to listen. “Here’s something the NRA got wrong and how we can make it better” is a lot more productive than “the evil NRA is good for nothing”.

  18. Sebastian says:

    I don’t think it’s so much of a wait and see as it is just being hard to do. Arizona wasn’t the first place Constitutional Carry was tried after Alaska. It was tried and failed in a few states, if I recall, the one I’m remembering the clearest is Wyoming. In Arizona, the stars just kind of lined up, and suddenly the votes were there. From what I’ve heard talking to NRA’s lobbyist in Arizona, it sounds like Governor Brewer had a lot to do with making that happen. But even in Arizona, that victory didn’t come cheap.

  19. Dave Y says:

    It’s actually more accurate to call it “French Carry”. Each of the so called ‘constitutional carry’ laws already passed and introduced contain a provision – ‘must surrender’.

    Every professional contact with law enforcement allows the LEO so seize the weapon – whether you’re asking for directions, getting a warning for going too fast, questioned about open carry, or any other manner of innocuous encounters. Why is this bad?

    LEOs can seize a weapon from an otherwise law abiding citizen under established Terry (v. Ohio) rules already. This ruling provides a 2 part test.
    1: Armed
    AND
    2: Dangerous

    Armed meets one element, but if you’re going about your lawful business you are not dangerous. With few exceptions this works. It provides a reasonable balance between officer safety, and the vastly more important citizen safety.

    Now, another problem with French Carry is that by adding this “must surrender” language, the individual officers as well as the departments are protected from criminal and civil liability in the event you are killed while being disarmed.

    Officers are covered by a “general” grant of sovereign immunity; that is their actions are presumed lawful and you cannot sue them or hold them accountable for say a ‘battery’ charge for forcing compliance during an arrest. However, by adding the “must surrender” language to French Carry, the officers are protected from any mistakes, negligence or even malicious acts during or incident to disarming a citizen encountered with a gun, period.

    This is bad on many levels. Do NOT support it.

  20. Ian Argent says:

    Vermont doesn’t have a “constitutional carry” law, as far as I know – what they have is a ruling by their courts that it would be an infringement to prevent.

    Terry is Terry, and won’t be changing. It covers more than just firearms.

  21. Dave Y says:

    Exactly, the Terry ruling is perfectly fine and there’s no need to go to the “French Carry” model enacted by Alaska & Arizona.

  22. Ian Argent says:

    Recognizes reality. If he wants to, Officer Dudley Do-right is going to sieze your weapon and you have to go to court to get it back. Do you want him to tack on a bogus charge of “eyeballing an officer with insufficient respect” to “justify” it?

  23. NukemJim says:

    “We should start a pool of which state goes last? NY, NJ or MD?”

    And the winner is Illinois.

    Please remember Illinois is the ONLY state that has no provision for a law abiding citizen* who is not a LEO to carry AND you can be arrested for having a single emtpy.22 brass in your possesion if you are in Chicago.

    NukemJim

    * Yes I know Chicago Aldermen can carry under state law, but I specified “law abiding” citizen :) )

    By the way gues where I live? :(

  24. “Alaska is also a small state with no big cities.”

    Hey! We’ve got Anchorage… :-P A thriving metropolis! We just got not only one but TWO super-Targets!

    As to those who caution about Constitutional Carry, yes, I’ll agree that the duty to inform officers that you’re carrying is kind of stupid. I doubt criminals who are thinking about killing cops are so thoughtful. However, it hardly ever comes up. How many times have you had any contact with a LEO for any reason just going about your daily business? Being able to carry without a permit is awesome. Take the 90% solution and tweak it in the future. Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.

    Cheers,
    Chris

  25. Dave Y says:

    Chris,

    It’s not the “duty to inform” at issue, it’s the languange that enables seizing any firearms in the statute. It’s in both AK & AZ law, and when it was introduced in VA, it was there too. Of course, our state assembly is far too “elite” to consider such legislation seriously… :-/

    As for “it hasn’t been a problem” – You can never rely on human nature to show its best side when dealing with laws. You have to consider “what is the worst possible way that the State can use this against me” for every law passed because eventually that is how almost all laws end up being enforced.

  26. Ian Argent says:

    At the point at which a police officer is going to sieze the firearm, a legal duty to inform or surrender is beside the point. The officer will leverage Terry, and you’re without a gun.

    I happen to think that duty to inform is a stupid law for other reasons (namely, a false sense of security for LEOs), but given the logic of Terry, it’s not unconstitutional.
    As was said upthread, don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good. We won’ get there from here without stops in between.

  27. Dave Y says:

    Don’t get sidetracked on Terry. Terry is a 2 prong test, French Carry has no test, it is enabled in the statute that the officer can disarm you for any reason for any professional contact.

    This is WELL and FAR beyond Terry.

    Don’t lose sight of the fact that French Carry basically trades liberty for the illusion of security. That is neither perfect nor good.

    Strike the must surrender language from the French Carry laws and it’s not so bad.

  28. Ian Argent says:

    My response was that any officer who wants to disarm you is going to do so under Terry and let you talk to the judge later. Removal of the language will have no practical effect.

    It’d be nice to not have it, but it’s hardly critical.

  29. Sebastian says:

    You know, we’re talking about finally eliminating having to ask the government permission before exercising a constitutional right, and we still have folks who are unhappy.

    I’m convinced a sizable number of gun owners just want, maybe even need, something to be pissed off at.

  30. Ian Argent says:

    At least, those on the internet. You should see some of the hand-waving freakoutery over the proposal for the Handgun Purchase Card from Fred Madden in NJ. At the very worse, it’s an incrementally better situation than we have now for anyone who doesn’t get all their handguns in an FTF transaction; but you’d think the sky was falling.

  31. Matthew Carberry says:

    But, but… NO COMPROMISE!!eleventy!!

    =/

    Astonishing how so far that technique hasn’t accomplished -anything- in increasing gun rights.

    Rather it’s realistic strategic and tactical incrementalism that keeps pushing the line toward the same goal.

    If “surrender” goes away it will be through the same method, not pissing and moaning about all or nothing demands

  32. Mr. Twisted says:

    “Rather it’s realistic strategic and tactical incrementalism that keeps pushing the line toward the same goal.”

    Really? Do me a favor and Google gun laws in, say, 1934 and compare them today and then claim that “tactical incrementalism” has worked.

    Good grief. It’s thinking along those lines that gets people like John McCain into office. If you want a whole crap-load of RINO’s running the country, then by all means, keep going down that “strategic” road.

    Let’s see, does anyone remember the Assault Weapons ban from 1994? And how the NRA *still* hates “military-style weapons”? (If you doubt me, try to run a tactical 3-gun match on an NRA-owned range and see what happens. You can do it as long as you rename them something “less scary.”)

    Sebastian, while I do agree that people will, by and large, bitch if their ice-cream is too cold (i.e. at anything and everything), the simple fact is that we have been going in the decidedly wrong direction on nearly all things Constitutional for decades now. Why should we suddenly jump for joy just because of two rulings in our favor?

    It’s not about “pissing and moaning.” It’s about not settling for people like John McCain and Mike Castle running our country. It’s called principle. What is so humorous to me is that “gun people,” who if you meet face to face would talk a huge game about their personal lives and how they would shoot someone dead that came through their front door uninvited. Yet, in the bigger picture and how they vote, apparently their cajones are suddenly MIA and they think compromise is somehow “tactical.”

  33. Matthew Carberry says:

    ““Rather it’s realistic strategic and tactical incrementalism that keeps pushing the line toward the same goal.”

    Really? Do me a favor and Google gun laws in, say, 1934 and compare them today and then claim that “tactical incrementalism” has worked.

    Good grief. It’s thinking along those lines that gets people like John McCain into office. If you want a whole crap-load of RINO’s running the country, then by all means, keep going down that “strategic” road.”

    Ummm, I see strategic and tactical incrementalism working -for the other side- for decades while the pro-gun side didn’t have anything -resembling- a strategy.

    If anything you just proved my point. We got here not all at once by the anti’s yelling NO COMPROMISE!!!! for the total ban they are on record as wanting. No, instead they carefully chose their battles and timing, taking advantage of public opinion and events to work toward their end goal in increments.

    Turnabout is fair play, we’re actually headed for -better- than post-Reconstruction (much less 1934) gun laws (less racism/arbitrary enforcement) due to, to give credit where credit is due, Gura et al’s master plan.

    The move has been toward more restriction for a long time. “No compromise” hasn’t stopped it anywhere.

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