During his campaign, Donald Trump made a lot of promises. Many of them would be better dropped and never brought up again, but what he said he would do with regard to gun rights could result in a lot of progress in that area. And it’s here that the millions of Americans who own firearms need to exercise our rights of speech and petition of government bring out greater protections for gun rights.
One bill now before Congress is the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017, submitted by Richard Hudson of North Carolina. This isn’t the first time such a bill has been tried. But we now have a combination of political will and control of both the legislative and executive branches in favor of this measure. At least according to the promises that Trump made to support the treatment of carry licenses the same way that we treat driver’s licenses.
One implication of this bill is pointed out by Adam Winkler, professor of law at UCLA, in a Mother Jones article by Bryan Schatz, titled, “Trump Wants to Allow Concealed Weapons Everywhere—This Bill Would Do That.” According to Winkler, “the real impact of the Hudson bill is not to protect interstate travelers. It’s to require states with restrictive concealed-carry policies to allow their own residents to carry guns.” Indeed. This is exactly one of the functions of the federal government, bringing the states to heel when they violate the rights of their residents. As Schatz reports, the bill before Congress presently would make it possible for people living in California, say, to get a carry license from Utah or other states that grant such documents to non-residents and carry in their home state. If a handful of states insist on making legal carry only available to the campaign donors of local sheriffs or the like, bills like Hudson’s are necessary.
All Trump has to do with regard to concealed carry reciprocity is sign the bill. What he can do to carry out another of his promises—to eliminate gun-free zones in schools—isn’t so clear. Schatz of Mother Jones claims that Hudson’s bill would invalidate the Gun-Free School Zones Act, despite language in the bill specifically stating that if enacted, the law “shall not be construed to supersede or limit the laws of any State that. . . prohibit or restrict the possession of firearms on any State or local government property.” When last I checked, public schools are the property of the local government. Perhaps what Trump or his allies in Congress could do is similar to the what was done decades ago in getting states to honor Martin Luther King, Jr. Day—withhold federal dollars from any state that refuses to eliminate gun-free zones.
Politicians make lots of promises, and anyone who has spent any time observing their subsequent actions knows that they often fail to live up to the obligations that they take on for themselves. We have the backing of groups like the NRA with strong influence over Congress, but we each have to add our own voices early and often to inform our elected representatives that we will insist on our gun rights being respected. Hudson’s reciprocity bill is a good place to start.
The views and opinions expressed in this post are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the position of Guns.com.