Diary

VA. AG Mark Herring opened a can of whoop ass with gun owners nationwide. Let's take him on!

When it comes to issuing licenses for concealed gun permits, nobody wants to make a mistake that could result in someone’s death, purposeful or otherwise.

Then again, when it comes to issuing state’s drivers’ licenses nobody wants to be the one who issues a driver’s license to someone who is irresponsible or who has a history of drug use and, high on drugs,  runs over and maims or kills another person.

And when a state or court grants custody of a child to a parent or guardian, nobody wants to see that decision result in the eventual abuse or death of an innocent child.

It has always been true that decisions have consequences, some fatal. But because bad things sometimes happen to good people, standing alone this fact does not give the state or anyone else the right to take away lawful rights of citizens. We live in an ordered society, not necessarily a safe or peaceful one.

This is common sense. It is also constitution law.

Some rights are so basic and so vital to our way of life and our republic that they have been deemed by the Supreme Court of the United States as fundamental. The court looks at the issue this way: If the right so basic to our nation’s scheme of ordered liberty, deeply rooted in this nation’s history and tradition, it is likely a fundamental right, like our unalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

The right to speak, assemble, practice one’s religion, be free of unreasonable searches and seizures, to name a few, as well as the right to keep and bear arms, which is at issue here, are some of those basic, fundamental rights.

These can be regulated; they can’t be outright banned or rendered so impractical to exercise by regulation that they devolve into meaningless platitudes.

With regard to the recent decision of Virginia state attorney general Mark Herring to, by decree, abolish his state’s laws governing “reciprocity” — that is the practice by which one state recognizes another state’s gun laws, and in this particular case, recognizes another state’s licenses regarding concealed carry permits — I would suggest the AG of VA not only went off the constitutional reservation, but he has opened a can of whoop ass with lawful gun owners nationwide. It’s a long overdue fight.

The pending battle is a lot bigger than he thinks, though. And it must be understood very clearly. Because I propose here that a constitutional challenge to so-called “reciprocity” laws all over the United States be mounted.

I will make my rationale for such a statement by way example before stating it outright. If a person has a driver’s license in Massachusetts and he moves to Virginia, he or she must obtain a Virginia driver’s license. That’s a state’s right. And the state might not issue one at all. However, if a person is traveling through the State of Virginia or visiting a friend or relative, the state may not prevent that person from entering or leaving because he or she holds a license from another state.

The very idea that states can refuse to recognize federally protected rights, supplemented by state licensing action, as is routinely done with reciprocity gun laws, is absurd and will “maintain and promote” what the Supreme Court said in a different context, “instability and uncertainty” among the citizenry.

“An ordinary drive into a neighboring State to visit family or friends risks causing severe hardship” the court said. This quote is taken from the Court’s same-sex marriage case, Obergefell v. Hodges. I’m going to remove the words “same-sex marriage” from the decision of the court and substitute the words “lawful concealed carry permits.”It’s not the particular license I am referring to hear, but rather the broader constitutional principle of full faith and credit, which is Article IV Section 1.

That clause reads: “Full faith and credit shall be given in each state to the public acts, records, and judicial proceedings of every other state. And the Congress may by general laws prescribe the manner in which such acts, records, and proceedings shall be proved, and the effect thereof.”

Continuing, the court said in Obergfell: “In light of the fact that many States already allow lawful concealed carry permits —and hundreds of thousands of these  lawful concealed carry permits already have occurred — the disruption caused by the recognition bans is significant and ever-growing. As counsel for the respondents acknowledged at argument, if States are [permitted] by the Constitution to issue lawful concealed carry permits. . . the justifications for refusing to recognize those lawful concealed carry permits. . .  elsewhere are undermined”

You see, It’s not a question of whether individual states may draft laws and regulations to issue concealed carry permits; it’s already settled that they can; it’s a state’s right; rather it’s a question whether the states, after issuing, can bar licensed owners from traveling to and from different states. I suggest that that’s an issue the court and/or congress can and should address, because it’s a constitutional right to own and the state may only infringe upon that right by lawful, reasonable regulations, like the issuance of conceal and carry laws for its own citizens.

The Supreme Court in McDonald v. Chicago has already held that the Second Amendment applies to every state, that the right to own a firearm for self-defense is a fundamental right that may be regulated by each state for its own citizens. As for individuals who possess awful concealed carry permits I would suggest, it’s not up to one state to decide whether it wishes to adopt a reciprocity law with another state for an American citizen to travel through or visit someone in that state under the protection of the permit issued by another state.

Shaneen Allen was arrested and sentenced to three years in jail because she inadvertently carried her lawfully licensed handgun into the state of New Jersey. This never should have happened.