On national reciprocity

The hysterical Left (“Russian! He attended the same party as a Russian!”) may have missed it, but America didn’t just start its glacial shift away from the bizarre agenda of the Democrat Party and the Mainstream Media with the election of Donald Trump.

(Open borders? “Sanctuary” for illegal aliens who’ve raped children? Encouraging schoolboys to use “transgender” bathrooms, to “identify” as girls and compete on the girls’ wrestling team? It all went over great with our focus groups in Greenwich Village and San Francisco! Let’s roll it out nationwide!)

Both houses of Congress had already fallen into Republican hands by 2014, with the majority of the state Legislatures and governors’ mansions following suit. The electorate was clearly just waiting for someone to articulate the agenda promoted by Donald Trump.

But predictably, all too many conservatives — long accustomed to playing defense -– have been caught without much of an offensive game plan.

For instance, with a majority of Americans in a vast majority of states finally “getting it” that well-armed Americans (not the cowardly European prescription to “run, hide, tell”) are our best defense against crime and terrorism (see “Florida sheriff urges citizens to arm themselves in case of attack,” Fox News, June 10), where should patriots first push to roll back the Democrats’ “gun control” tyranny?

Repealing restrictions on the use of suppressors, especially for hunting and at shooting ranges? Or interstate recognition of concealed-carry permits?

The NRA seems to have decided the focus should be on S. 2188, the “National Right to Carry Reciprocity Act” introduced back in 2012 by (surprisingly enough) Democrats Mark Begich of Alaska and Joe Manchin of West Virginia as a companion to a similar House bill approved in 2011.

S. 2188, like H.R. 822, “would allow any person with a valid state-issued concealed firearm permit to carry a concealed handgun in any other state that issues concealed firearm permits, or that does not prohibit the carrying of concealed firearms for lawful purposes,” the NRA summarizes.

“These bills would have no effect on permitless carry laws, currently on the books in Arizona, Alaska, Wyoming and Vermont, that allow concealed carry without a permit,” the NRA added, back in 2012. That list should now be amended to add Idaho, Kansas, Maine, Mississippi, Missouri, New Hampshire, North Dakota (concealed only) and West Virginia, by the way. Arkansas remains in dispute.

“In addition, Vermont residents would be able to take advantage of S. 2188 and H.R. 822 by obtaining a permit from one of the many states that offer non-resident permits,” adds the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action.

Sounds great. But if national reciprocity won’t “impose gun control restrictions of any kind,” what was the reason given for defeating legislation in my own state of Nevada this spring to remove those who legally use marijuana — especially those who use the plant for medical reasons on a doctor’s recommendation — from the list of those prohibited from buying a firearm or obtaining a concealed carry permit?

Who opposed and defeated those proposals?

‘PROHIBITED POSSESSORS’

On April 29 I received an email from the Nevada Firearms Coalition, a Political Action Committee I’ve supported in the past:

“Patriots, as you may have heard, several of the bills that we Strongly Oppose (F) have died. These bills include: SB351 — Eliminated medical marijuana holder as prohibited possessor, which would have voided NICS checks and the pending legislation for national reciprocity (and) SB378 — Eliminated medical marijuana holder as prohibited possessor for CCW, which would have voided NICS checks and the pending legislation for national reciprocity.

“These victories show that our efforts are working,” the “gun-rights” group continued. “Our voices are being heard, and we are making moves in the right direction for our gun rights. . . .”

So even PROPOSED national reciprocity is already leading gun lobbyists to fight successfully to LIMIT the number of people whom Nevada will “allow” to buy firearms, and to whom Nevada counties may issue concealed-carry permits.

Former Bernalillo County Sheriff Darren White explained the problem to the Albuquerque Journal last year:

White is a medical cannabis user and an investor in a new medical marijuana dispensary in Albuquerque, as well as that outfit’s chief administrator and security chief.

But medical marijuana use — regardless of whether it’s permitted by state law — remains illegal under federal law, Thomas J. Cole of the Journal reported, and federal law prohibits users of controlled substances (still including marijuana) from possessing firearms, according to the long-held position of the BATF.

White, who headed the state Department of Public Safety before serving eight years as sheriff, says he shouldn’t be forced to give up his gun because he chooses medical marijuana to treat his chronic back and knee pain, the result of injuries suffered as an Albuquerque police officer and while in the Army.

“It’s no different than using a prescription narcotic,” White says, noting that people who lawfully use pain drugs such as Oxycodone can legally possess firearms.

According to United Patients Group, which provides education to physicians and others on the uses of medical cannabis, Nevada state law allows medical marijuana users to have firearms in their homes for protection as long as they aren’t used while under the influence.

A public outcry in Illinois in 2013 caused state policy-makers to kill a proposal that would have required medical marijuana users to give up their firearms, and the Oregon Supreme Court in 2011 upheld the right of a medical cannabis user to obtain a concealed carry permit under state law.

How ridiculous is the federal superstition about marijuana and guns? At Avvo.com, a Seattle-based legal advice Website, Mary Fetzer reported in a piece titled “How Medical Marijuana Users Lost Their Gun Rights” last December:

When S. Rowan Wilson of Nevada attempted to purchase a firearm in 2011, the store’s owner prohibited her from doing so because he knew she had a state-issued medical marijuana card. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court agreed, concluding that such individuals should not have access to guns because the use of illegal drugs can lead to irrational behavior.

Interestingly, Fetzer reports “Wilson doesn’t even USE medical marijuana. She obtained the card to show support for legalization of the drug. The ruling, she says, thus violates not only her Second Amendment right to bear arms but also her First Amendment right to free speech.”

Simple logistic issues also arise: What happens to people who own guns and then get a medical cannabis card? Do they have to turn in their weapons? Can they get them back if they don’t renew their card? Does an individual’s possession of a cannabis card fall under medical privacy laws?

Yes, Massachusetts and California should recognize my Clark County concealed firearms permit, just as they recognize my Nevada driver’s license. But there seems to be a pattern, whenever someone tries to sell us on the great benefits of “national standardization” of anything. Residents of states that already respect our rights -– whether it be to home-school, to practice self-defense, to self-medicate, whatever — always seem to end up being asked to “be reasonable,” to “compromise a little” in order to win approval of the new, “one-size-fits-all” package by lawmakers from Connecticut, Illinois, California (or wherever), who otherwise “won’t go along with the deal.”

But that’s ridiculous. Politicians representing the welfare-state hellholes of Chicago, Los Angeles, Baltimore, Detroit, and Washington, D.C. aren’t going to embrace gun rights in our lifetimes.

Why? They’ll speak of “cultural differences.” But in fact, behind this code talk, today’s holier-than-thou Democrats are no less racist than their forebears who tried to block integration by standing in schoolhouse doors in the South 60 years ago -– what these leftist Democrats really mean is “We can’t trust these Negroes and Latinos with guns! They’re animals!”

But outside those socialist crime capitals, we’ve been making darned good progress — first bypassing balky police chiefs by replacing “may issue” with “shall issue” permit regimes, then restoring “Constitutional carry” with no permit requirement at all — in one state after another.

Is it really a “move in the right direction for our gun rights” to now embrace some kind of national standard for “recognizing permits” -– if it involves keeping all kinds of restrictions on who can own guns, just so as not to make Elizabeth “Fauxcahontas” Warren and Kamala Harris nervous?

I’m also a little nervous, myself, about this part where “Vermont residents would be able to take advantage of S. 2188 and H.R. 822 by obtaining a permit from one of the many states that offer non-resident permits.” Why not just specify in the new law that -– in keeping with the principle that a Vermont driver’s license must be honored in Chicago — the residents of states that are “allowed” to carry a concealed weapon at home without any stinking permit, “shall similarly retain the right to carry their concealed weapons without a permit, in all of the other 49 states”?

How does a law-abiding, armed resident of Vermont or Arizona magically turn into a reckless incompetent who can’t be trusted to responsibly exercise this God-given Constitutional right. just because he or she drives a few miles over the state line into New York or California?

‘LA LA LA LA LA, I CAN’T HEEEEAR YOU’

Meantime, as even the BATF now admits fingerprinting “applicants,” levying a $200 “tax,” and otherwise treating firearm suppressors as though they’re machine guns is time-consuming and ridiculous, the struggle to normalize suppressors is running up against the usual far-left wackiness.

As Paul Bedard of the Washington Examiner reported on June 12:

In a bid to promote legislation to ease the purchase of gun suppressors, several gun groups have been offering special “silencer shoots” to news media to show the potential benefits of quieter shots and reality that they really don’t silent the weapons.

The NRA’s May invitation to the Washington Post read:

“I wanted to reach out to the Post editorial staff and invite any of you to come out to the NRA on Tuesday to meet with NRA-ILA executive director Chris Cox and witness/take part in a ‘silencer’ shoot. . . . This is a chance for anyone on the editorial page to come out and ask some questions and see for themselves what shooting with a ‘silencer’ is really like.”

According to the NRA, the gun-hating Post declined this offer. But the paper proceeded to slam the Hearing Protection Act a mere three days later.

“If there has ever been a more benignly titled legislative proposal than the Hearing Protection Act, now before Congress, we can’t think of it,” the Post sneered. “Who could possibly oppose a measure to help Americans avoid deafness? Well, we might — because this ostensible public health bill is being promoted by the National Rifle Association in an effort to undo federal restrictions on the ownership of gun silencers, one of the oldest and most effective firearms controls on the books.”

“It’s true: Gunshots are loud, generally louder than the 140-decibel limit for ‘impulse noises’ set by federal occupational safety and health authorities,” the Post acknowledges. “Audiologists have found that hunters’ risk of significant high-frequency hearing loss increases by seven percent for every five years they hunt. Yet the sound of gunfire also has benefits, health- and safety-wise. The ‘bang’ can signal to bystanders to take cover or help police to locate a threat.”

But after admitting that “The noise-reduction devices at issue do not eliminate gun noise; they reduce it by 30 decibels or so, making ‘suppressor’ a more accurate term,” The Post’s writers immediately reverted to the inaccurate term favored by gun-grabbers: “Silencers are almost never used in murders and other crimes under the current restrictive law, but certainly they would be used in more crimes if there were more of them in circulation.”

In calling on Congress to “tell the NRA to go away,” the paper suggests hunters can simply wear acoustic earmuffs.

When trying to discern whether the big buck you’ve been trailing is in that thicket up ahead -– or whether you may now be dealing with a treed mountain lion? Yeah, great time to make sure you CAN’T HEAR ANYTHING.

I also dare the Post editors to hike for hours through rough terrain without ever taking off a pair of sweaty acoustic earmuffs.

The NRA complained, asking how editors could condemn silencers without ever seeing them in use. The paper suggested the NRA write a letter. The NRA did, including this sentence: “If the editorial board had accepted NRA’s invitation to a suppressor shoot last week, they would have heard for themselves that the Hearing Protection Act is exactly what its title claims: An act that protects hearing.”

The paper published the letter, but removed that sentence, which would have exposed a fact they obviously found embarrassing.

“This is a great example of fake news and why the mainstream media has a credibility problem with the American public,” commented Jennifer Baker, of the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action.

Vin Suprynowicz was for 20 years an editorial writer and syndicated columnist for the daily Las Vegas Review-Journal. He blogs at www.vinsuprynowicz.com .

A version of this column appears in the July 10 edition of “Firearms News,” on newsstands now.

6 Comments to “On national reciprocity”

  1. MamaLiberty Says:

    Giving the feds even more control is never going to be a good idea. No matter what the reciprocity bill might say today, it can and will be used to abuse gun owners eventually. The situation with cannabis is a perfect example. Unfortunately, far too many gun owners are perfectly comfortable with cannabis and other responsible drug users being deprived of their right to self defense.

    State control is no better in the long run, of course, since any new administration can impose new and more restrictive “laws” any time they wish. If the people “elect” them, they are not apt to be too worried about what happens to gun owners – or whatever other segment of the population that winds up the target of government oppression.

    And comparison of a natioal “permit” to the driver’s “license” is not really relevant. Even though the one world plutocrats seriously want to eliminate the independence of individual transportation, that doesn’t threaten them nearly as much as the very idea of those independent, self reliant people running around ARMED. And there is no doubt in my mind that those plutocrats control the federal government in spite of Trump or anyone else.

    So, I’m very afraid that national reciprocity is a very bad idea, no matter how good it sounds on the surface. Withdrawing all consent to the bogus “authority” of the non-voluntary governments at all levels is the answer, but it may take a civil war for most people to understand that.

  2. R. Hartman Says:

    @Mama

    Amen to that. However, finding the balance between real liberty and what most people consider liberty (even while it’s oppression) to make a reader connect the dots with his/her own reality is becoming more and more difficult.

    I mean, the whole notion of a driver’s license representing government permission to drive a car is legitimate to the vast majority of people, while the whole idea is ludicrous. It’s not the government’s business whether someone is apt at operating a vehicle or not. The only legitimate stakeholder here is the insurance company who has an interest in keeping premiums low, apart from the driver of course who has the biggest stake in making sure (s)he can drive safely.

    Most people balk at this reality, however, to the point where they wish for your loved ones to be run over by a license-less driver. Unwittingly implying that people with a license never have accidents. But at that point they usually leave the discussion, out of arguments and what not…

    So the driver’s license is a fine example of the double standards applied to various permits, but at the same time those permits are illegitimate themselves and should not exist, certainly not in their current form.

    The pre-programmed Pavlov responses to common sense and consistent reasoning is one of the reasons I’ve given up writing…

  3. MamaLiberty Says:

    Indeed, Mr. Hartman. I was not clear. What I was getting at is exactly the majority acceptance of the driver’s “license” as a legitimate function of government to “protect” everyone, with many having a strenuous objecting to any sort of gun carry – with or without a “permit” – as inadequate protection from those who might do harm with guns. And that includes far too many people who own and carry guns themselves!

    The general acceptance of the effectiveness of any pre-emptive “law” is the foundation problem – even though pre-emption of actual aggressive crime has never been even remotely possible. Most people just can’t seem to get over that belief, any more than they can the conviction that the government has the authority to attempt it.

    “The pre-programmed Pavlov responses to common sense and consistent reasoning is one of the reasons I’ve given up writing…”

    Me too, for the most part. 🙁 But sometimes I just can’t help myself. I am occasionally compelled to proclaim that the answer is to question that “authority,” to resist it, and to convince everyone possible to join me. All of the other questions, concerns and problems continue if that bogus authority goes unchallenged.

    I know… tilting at windmills and all that.

  4. Kevin Says:

    “I also dare the Post editors to hike for hours through rough terrain without ever taking off a pair of sweaty acoustic earmuffs.”

    Ha. I dare the Post editors to hike for hours anywhere, anytime, with anything heavier than a fit-bit.

    Otherwise I think the NRA may be over extending itself here. The carry supporting states have been doing pretty well in setting up the current reciprocity among themselves. California and New Jersey are not going to change their enforcement even if there is a federal law.

  5. Rick Miller Says:

    Uphold the constitution you corrupt federal government. If a state can restrict your right to bear arms they can restrict all of your other constitutional rights. I can believe the American people are so gullible, so Graber like.

  6. R R Schoettker Says:

    “Why not just specify in the new law that -– in keeping with the principle that a Vermont driver’s license must be honored in Chicago — the residents of states that are “allowed” to carry a concealed weapon at home without any stinking permit, “shall similarly retain the right to carry their concealed weapons without a permit, in all of the other 49 states”?

    Exactly! In fact, in my interpretation of Article four, section two; if people in Vermont can carry concealed, then that right is extended by the constitution to ALL citizens in the several states.

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