The Guardian’s Lois Beckett has homed-in on one of that that seems to strike the most immediate fear into anti-gun Democrats, the thought of national concealed carry reciprocity.
Advocates say they expect Congress to finally pass a sweeping gun rights law that could dismantle local gun-carrying restrictions in states including New York, New Jersey, Maryland, California and Hawaii.
These changes could come soon. If Congress passes a federal right-to-carry law, it’s “certainly possible” that within a year or two, New York tourists might be able to carry a concealed weapon as they tour the city, said Robert Spitzer, a gun politics expert at SUNY Cortland.
Trump, who himself has a permit to carry a concealed firearm, has already endorsed a new reciprocity law as part of his gun rights platform. Concealed-carry permits from one state “should be valid in all 50 states”, his platform reads, calling the proposal “common sense”.
Gun control groups call national reciprocity “a threat to public safety” and have pledged to fight the legislation, as they have done before. But it’s not clear how successful they may be against a united government, with Republican majorities in the House and Senate and a Republican president.
Gun rights advocates say the law would be a major victory for civil rights. Passing national carry reciprocity is a top priority for the National Rifle Association, one of Trump’s most loyal supporters throughout his campaign.
“We now have a president and Congress who understand that our fundamental right to self-defense does not stop at a state’s borders,” NRA spokeswoman Jennifer Baker said in a statement. “Our members and gun owners across the country look forward to the day when President Trump signs this important legislation into law.”
Adam Winkler, a gun politics expert at the University of California Los Angeles law school, said: “Right now, the NRA has got its way. It’s not clear why it would be looking for major compromises.”
Advocates often compare the issue to driving: if a state driver’s license is valid in all 50 states, a permit to carry a concealed weapon should be, too.
“On its face, it sounds reasonable,” Spitzer, the gun politics expert, said. But the driving metaphor does not take into account the huge variations of different state standards for granting a concealed-carry permit, he said.
In Virginia, a brief online gun safety training course is sufficient to get a permit. Other states require more intensive firearms training courses that include a live-fire shooting exercise.
Anti-gun Democrats who make up the majority of Democrat Party leadership seem to have three major hang-ups with citizens carrying concealed firearms.
- The belief that human beings are not born with a right to armed self defense.
- The belief that the state created and grants the privilege to bear arms when and if it sees fit.
- The belief that more restrictive licensing arrangements ensure that only “qualified people” will receive concealed carry permits under the current schemes in more restrictive “shall issue” states.