The right to discreetly bear arms
should not require government-issued permission slips.
It's time for "Freedom To Carry" to replace "Right To Carry"
[BREAKING NEWS: Arizona enacts Freedom To Carry, 4/16/10]
Will "Freedom To Carry" replace "Right To Carry"?
With state legislative sessions starting nationwide, the right to bear arms is front and center in people's minds and some state legislatures. Arizona has quickly moved a Constitutional Carry bill through both House and Senate committees, with broad support from the public, state organizations and the NRA. We'll know if it is enacted probably by April.
The so-called "right-to-carry permit" requires government interference, paperwork, applications, approvals, taxes called "fees," mandatory classes, written tests, shooting tests, plastic-coated permission slips, fingerprinting, photographs, entries into criminal databases and expiration dates for your "rights." That has definitely moved the right to bear arms significantly ahead. Is it time to go further and reach "Freedom To Carry"?
So-called "right to carry," even with all its baggage, has served us well, insofar as it has destroyed the myth that if good people have guns they'll run around indiscriminately killing each other. It quenched the paranoia that possession of a gun turns you into a homicidal maniac. It put to death the lie that an armed public will look like Dodge City. It ended the nonsense that a concealed weapon will entice you to shoot fellow motorists at stop lights. It wiped out the silliness that innocent armed people in restaurants will shoot slow waiters. Arizona enacted so-called guns in bars (actually, discreetly carried arms in liquor-licensed restaurants with no drinking allowed) in 2009, and all the waiters are still breathing. Right-to-carry showed up the anti-rights gun haters and their compliant media co-conspirators as a pack of lying, deceitful, terrified, irrational, egregious, elitist, hoplophobic enemies of civil rights.
Under Freedom To Carry, sometimes called Vermont carry or Alaska-style carry, basically, the government stays out of your face as you exercise your fundamental human and civil right to own and carry property. Arms, by the way, are the only enumerated objects in the Constitution or Bill of Rights that you are guaranteed the right to possess.
Alaska enacted Freedom To Carry in 2003 and alls well. Texas enacted Freedom To Carry "light" in 2007 as the Motorist Protection Act: there is no government interference with discreetly having a gun anywhere in your premises or your vehicle (including any sort of motor home), and from your premises to your vehicle, an excellent start (you still need a license while out and about on foot, so they're taking it one step at a time, so to speak). Having a firearm, if you're doing nothing wrong, is not a crime. And should not be a crime. What a concept. A woman should be able to put a handgun in her handbag and go about her day without fear of arrest. Montana enacted Freedom To Carry in 1991 for 99.4% of the state (outside city limits).
Under the infringement of so-called "reciprocity" schemes (an odious feature of "right-to-carry" plans), your human and civil rights as an American have been reduced to a list of government-approved states for licensees only, when you leave your home state. The 98% of the public that refuses to jump through the hoops, be taxed, get on the criminal database and get "rights" papers is left out in the cold when they travel under the current "reciprocity" model. Enormous police effort that could be going directly toward reducing crime is instead being diverted into registering, regulating and tracking the innocent.
The biggest argument against government-free Constitutional Carry is that it does away with the required training for a carry license. Training is good, we all agree. But are too many trainers now lined up at this government-made trough to feed? Are they afraid they won't be able to make money like regular entrepreneurs, if government doesn't force people to attend their classes? Do they fit the classic definition of a cartel, a business created and protected by government mandates, with the threat of arrest for anyone who operates outside the constraints?
There is also a fear that if people bear arms without the enforced classes, the dumb idiots will kill people out of stupidity -- sort of like the argument the anti-rights people make about guns in general. That's false of course, since less than 2% of the public gets a license and hence the required class -- but half the public has guns. The 50% of the people who have guns without the king's permission slips seem to get along just fine without being forced to take a class under penalty of arrest.
Here however is the silver lining of Constitutional Carry. With your rights restored, and training provided on a voluntary basis, trainers will be free to offer classes to the general public the way General Mills sells cereal. Everyone should have some. You want some of this? You can expect a burst of advertising and promotion for gun-safety and marksmanship classes once everyone is freed from government constraints. Family classes, discount days, coupons, two-fers, novice-to-advanced programs -- all the exposure you'd expect for any consumer product will start to emerge, as competition (not mandates) drive the market.
The departure of government from the firearms-training market leaves a vacuum that can and should be filled by ambitious entrepreneurs who see the potential. When people's rights are restored, their undertsanding of the need for competent instruction will bloom, and savvy marketers will help them along.
Instead of focusing on a tiny fraction of the public who bows for the permission slip, and leaving everyone else in darkness, we can finally move to school-based education. No student should be able to graduate without a healthy understanding of firearms, their social utility, and a demonstrated ability to safely discharge a firearm at a target. Use the Arizona high-school marksmanship bill as a basis, it's a sizzler: http://www.gunlaws.com/HighSchoolMarksmanship.htm
It is so totally American, and replacing the current state of TV-fueled gun ignorance with enlightenment and understanding, accidents will drop, safety will improve, national readiness will skyrocket, and the fear that there won't be enough training opportunities will fall apart as the stale BS it is.
If you do one thing this season, push for Constitutional Carry in your state. Draft a bill. Introduce a bill. Use our approach in Arizona and seek to simply repeal the unconstitutional obnoxious offensive ban against your civil rights. You're an American. You can do this.
Call -- don't write -- your local gun-rights chapter, even if you're not a member, you fool. Tell them you would support Freedom To Carry in your state. Tell them you would join (or donate) if they draft a Constitutional Carry law. Get this ball rolling.
P.S. Some "government-authorized CCW instructors" are campaigning against Constitutional Carry. They've sent out mass emails urging people to defeat the Vermont-style Freedom-To-Carry bill now in the Arizona legislature.
They're making the same tired arguments anti-rights activists make about guns in general -- if everyone has a gun they'll shoot each other, you're not smart enough to handle a gun safely unless you're required to take mandatory classes (which they happen to teach), etc.
Of course, half the state has guns and they're just fine without the rigamarole and permits and government mandates. We knew when the permit system first passed in 1994 that we were creating a "gun-instructor lobby" that would be beholden to their government masters, and would come back to haunt us.
It's a shame and a disgrace when firearms instructors, who should be at the forefront of protecting our rights, standing four-square for freedom, instead lobby for government intrusion on your rights, which just happens to help fill their rice bowls. They've been compromised and co-opted by government elites who should never have been in this arena in the first place. A pox on them all.
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