Yesterday, H.R. 822, the “National Right-to-Carry Reciprocity Act of 2011,” introduced by Representative Cliff Stearns (R-FL), passed a House Judiciary Committee vote, and thus now goes to the House floor. The bill’s prospects there look bright, given the fact that even if 27 of its 245 co-sponsors failed to vote for it, that would still leave it with bipartisan majority support.
This, as one might imagine, has put the anti-self-defense lobby in a state of hysterical outrage. The Brady Campaign, for example, has renamed it the “Packing Heat on Your Street Act” (named, perhaps, by the same not very gifted intern who renamed full capacity magazines “assault clips,” or the even more ludicrous “Big Bullet-Blasting Boxes”), and has been shrieking (and lying) about it for weeks.
In Brady Campaign Acting President Dennis “What People?” Henigan’s latest Huffington Post column, he brings up the “states’ rights” (since states have powers, rather than rights, a more accurate term would be “state sovereignty“) argument:
In fact, the version adopted by the House Judiciary majority last week would allow non-resident concealed carriers to pack heat in states where they were previously ineligible even to possess a gun. So much for states’ rights. Under H.R. 822, the Congress would prevent states from enforcing the restrictions they have deemed necessary for public safety against out-of-state gun carriers.
Likewise, the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence (CSGV), generally loudly supportive of an all-powerful federal government, now seems happy to beat the “states’ rights” drum:
NRA getting defensive about its dangerous bill that would eliminate states’ rights to regulate guns in public.
Then again, CSGV seems a bit conflicted on the “states’s rights”/federal power issue, judging by this comment:
What’s interesting about this bill is it’s generated quite a bit of discussion as to whether there should be a minimum federal standard (in terms of background check requirements) to carry a concealed handgun.
The Brady Campaign proudly advertised its own opposition to state sovereignty, when waxing hysterical about various states’ passage of their respective versions of the Firearms Freedom Act, whereby guns, ammunition and shooting accessories not moving in interstate commerce would not be subject to federal gun laws.
Senator Barbara Boxer, much like CSGV, blithely jumps back and forth between support for “states’ rights,” with regard to concealed carry laws, and absolute federal authority on the issue. In 2009, arguing against an amendment by Senator John Thune (R-SD) that would have had much the same effect as this year’s H.R. 822, Boxer had this to say:
This debate is not about the right to own a gun. That has been settled by the Supreme Court in the Heller case. It is about allowing States to determine their own laws. And I totally get why some more rural States with fewer people would have different laws on conceal and carry than a State of 38 million people, my home State of California. Leave us alone. Leave us alone. You want to have conceal and carry with very few requirements, fine.
Early this year, though, she introduced S. 176, the “Common Sense Concealed Firearms Permit Act of 2011,” which would basically impose California’s draconian “may issue (but probably won’t)” concealed carry laws, on every state. “Leave us alone,” indeed.
This is not to say that there are not legitimate state-sovereignty objections to H.R. 822. Chief among those would be that in asserting the bill’s claim of Constitutional authority, it perpetuates the rampant abuse of the interstate commerce clause (H.R. 2900, on the other hand, cites the Second Amendment as its Constitutional authority for federal protection of the right to carry a defensive firearm)–the same clause, by the way, that the federal government cites as providing the legitimacy for trampling the Firearms Freedom Act laws passed in several states.
As it happens, though, there is nothing inconsistent in supporting both state sovereignty and federal enforcement of the “bear” in “right to keep and bear arms”. In District of Columbia v. Heller, the Supreme Court made Constitutional protection of the individual’s right to keep and bear arms a settled point of Constitutional law. In McDonald v. City of Chicago, the court confirmed that the Fourteenth Amendment incorporates the rights protected by the Second Amendment against state and local governments.
Yes–there’s hypocrisy in this debate, but not on the part of those who advocate both the Tenth Amendment and federal enforcement of the Second Amendment.
- The Brady Campaign against state sovereignty
- Sen. Boxer would expand California-style ‘gun-control’ nationwide
- HR 822 vs. HR 2900