Elaine Baumgartel, KUNM News
Gah, Elaine. I sat by the radio with my coffee to hear the story but it left me less than informed.
It is likely to be difficult to defend against Constitutional challenge.** No higher court has claimed that citizens have a right to concealed carry; Heller was actually a pretty limited ruling. So far the appellate courts have upheld state laws regulating concealed carry. SCOTUS recently declined to grant certiorari in Peruta v California on CA’s strict and highly restrictive “may issue” system. Congress is skating on thin ice. Its rationale on using an interstate commerce justification to let a Federal law trump state law is bizarre.
The bill would bypass many state requirements, including our own in NM, which mandates 16 hours of training including demonstrated proficiency on the range. According to two law scholars, people could shop for out of state permits from “easy” states and bypass their own state requirements. That is going to alarm both conservatives interested in Federalism and liberals and public safety professionals wanting to keep guns out of the wrong hands. I see Death by Lack of Cloture in the Senate assuming supporters even muster 51 votes.
Although both the NRA and its historical, gun hating opponents make grandiose claims about this bill (either its effects on empowering citizens against bad guys is overhyped or claims are made by opponents that blood will be running in the streets), the results would probably be more subtle. Most crime is home grown, not resulting from mythical hordes of concealed carry killers running between states. That said, there is no scientific evidence that citizen concealed carriers (statistically) make the nation safer and some work, such as by David Hemenway of Harvard, suggests (to paraphrase) that guns are no better than hollering or cell phones in deterring crime. Except, perhaps, to those reasonably well trained and situationally-aware private citizens who actually take self defense training, something that this bill doesn’t think is an important consideration. But if more people are carrying on trips, there are likely to be more guns left in cars or hotel rooms to steal and gun issue researchers know theft is a major conduit for guns to crimes.
Of course, some blue states brought this on themselves by imposing law that treats an honest mistake like a felony, i.e, New Jersey. The real purpose of a consensus concealed carry law would have been to bring states together rather than drive them apart.
I think this is a lousy bill and once again, a contest between the left and right to whip up support from their bases. Meanwhile, public safety and reasonable discussion is secondary in importance.