When we drive from one state to the next, we do not become apprehensive when we approach a new state’s borders, fearing that all of a sudden we are no longer legally able to drive simply because the state that is on our driver’s license does not match the name of the state we just crossed into. Why, then, should we have this fear about being prepared for self defense?
In the United States, there are millions of lawabiding citizens that have applied for and received concealed carry permits, allowing them to conceal a handgun on their person (1). Each state generally has different rules regarding who is eligible and prohibitions that must be followed, e.g. in North Carolina, it recently became legal for those with concealed weapon permits to bring their firearms into establishments that serve alcoholic beverages (though the carrier must not imbibe any alcohol)(2). One of the other quirks that certain states have is referred to as “reciprocity.”
Some states require that for a state to recognize the CCW permits from another state, the latter state must recognize CCW permits from the former state. This results in the map of CCW reciprocity to be spotty, rather than contiguous. And then, there are states that simply don’t issue CCW permits at all, or are a “may issue” rather than “shall issue” state (if all the paperwork is right and the applicant is not disqualified for any reason, he or she may still fail to receive the permit due to the whim of the officials).
Proponents of selfdefense see another option in making the laws work for the citizen who values his life, the life of his loved ones, and his community’s safety – Constitutional Carry. A few states have forgone all the vagaries of making CCW laws work with other states and simply followed the Constitution – a regrettably rare approach these days. Arizona, Alaska, Vermont, and others allow “unrestricted” concealed carry – the Second Amendment being the key justification. “The right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed” – that means that keeping and bearing the firearm on your person shall not be restricted in any way.
Now, some may say that violent criminals shouldn’t have such a right – but we already accept that those who choose to break the social contract and hence break laws of our society do not get to reap the benefits of our society and Constitutional rights. This line of thinking is completely in sync with the Founding Fathers’ intentions: as Thomas Jefferson said, “I prefer dangerous freedom over peaceful slavery.” That is, we are liberal in granting rights, even rights that allow every citizen to carry a deadly weapon, which is perhaps dangerous at times, but it is much preferred to the alternative of tyranny that prohibits any person the opportunity to defend him or herself legally – for as we know, those who break the law do not care if they broke another law to equip themselves.
Featured Image- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Concealed_carry_in_the_United_States#/media/File:US_State_Concealed_Carry.png