My Debate On Gun Rights


Over the last couple of weeks I’ve been debating the issue of legislation pending in Congress that would mandate that concealed gun permits (CCWs) issued in any state be honored by every other state when the license holder is in that state on a temporary basis.

This debate has been taking place in my local newspaper, The Signal, and I’m including below the entire debate for your consideration.

The opening salvo ( Link ), written by a local hardcore leftist named Anthony Breznican, was published on December 14th:

Anthony Breznican: Congressman’s law would endanger law enforcement

I read an article in the Dec. 8 edition of The Signal in which Congressman Steve Knight was boasting about his new bill that will allow concealed carry permits across state lines. Essentially, this law makes the states with the weakest, least restrictive guidelines the law of the land.

That pleases the gun lobby, but it makes our nation more endangered at a time when we have already been horrified by bloodshed from reckless gun proliferation.

Those from other states who might be blocked from carrying a concealed gun in a state like California, which has restrictions on such a license for those with a record of spousal abuse or other criminal behavior, will now be able to enter carrying a loaded weapon with impunity.

Knight’s bill is under heavy criticism from law enforcement. LAPD Chief Charlie Beck calls it a cop-killer, writing in the Los Angeles Times: “In addition to jeopardizing public safety, concealed carry reciprocity would endanger the lives of law enforcement.

“The mere presence of more concealed weapons on California streets would make police work here much more hazardous. What’s more, if LAPD officers stopped someone with a loaded, concealed handgun, that person could claim to live in a state where permits weren’t necessary, and the officers would be unable to confirm whether it was true.”

Beck adds: “Given our intensifying focus on the potential for homegrown terrorism, the last thing we need is to make it easier to carry concealed, loaded firearms across state lines.”

We should heed his words. Beck’s outrage is also shared by the commissioner of the NYPD and by numerous law enforcement groups, including the Fraternal Order of Police, the International Association of Chiefs of Police, and 66 of the largest police and sheriff’s departments in the United States.

The bill from Congressman Knight, R-Palmdale, weakens the public safety laws of individual states at a time when we need stronger gun safety laws. As a former cop himself, Knight should be ashamed of his support of this bill, which so many police organizations say will endanger men and women in blue.

But I’m sure Knight will be offering his “thoughts and prayers” to the eventual victims of his bill.

My first response ( Link ) was published on December 21st:

Brian Baker: Different side of concealed carry permits issue

The Signal published a letter Dec. 15 entitled “Congressman’s law would endanger law enforcement” regarding the legislation pending in Congress that would establish national reciprocity for concealed gun carry permits (CCWs) that are legitimately issued by any state, and that would require that all other states honor such permits.

As is his wont, letter writer Anthony Breznican’s attack on this proposal, and on Steve Knight for supporting it, seems to be relatively free of facts.

Since the liberalization of CCW issuance started about 30 years ago in Florida, and in stark contradiction to all the “Wild West” hysteria of the time and since, wherever CCW issuance requirements have been eased, the rate of violent crime has fallen.

Further, those people who actually have CCWs turn out to be pretty much the most law-abiding people there are. Their participation in criminal activity happens to be far lower than the national average. It’s almost non-existent.

This is no different from drivers’ licenses. When people from other states come here for a visit, they don’t have to get a California license in order to drive a car. Every state recognizes every other state’s licenses for non-residents. I see absolutely no reason why CCW licenses should be treated any differently.

Further, the very issues that would disqualify anyone from being issued a CCW aren’t any different in other states from what they are in this state, since the basic qualifications are based on federal, not state, laws.

Breznican absurdly claims, “Those from other states who might be blocked from carrying a concealed gun in a state like California, which has restrictions on such a license for those with a record of spousal abuse or other criminal behavior, will now be able to enter carrying a loaded weapon with impunity.”

The problem for Breznican is that federal law bars such people from even owning guns, let alone being issued CCWs, so that claim makes no sense except as an inflammatory bit of groundless rhetoric that has no basis in reality.

His claims may be true in the land where unicorns live, but not here in the real world.

My opponent volleyed back on December 22nd ( Link ):

Anthony Breznican: Concealed carry: the debate continues

A fellow reader was flatly wrong about the proposed concealed carry reciprocity bill and the dangers it poses, and he used wordplay to dismiss a serious concern of both police and victims of abuse.

Brian Baker responded in print to my earlier letter, which cited LAPD Chief Charlie Beck’s withering criticism of the bill Congressman Steve Knight, R-Palmdale, has co-sponsored.

The bill allows those with concealed carry permits to cross state lines regardless of whether they would qualify for such a permit in that area.

The proposal has also been denounced by the NYPD commissioner, the Fraternal Order of Police and dozens of the largest police and sheriff’s departments in America.

And for good reason.

I used the example of a spousal abuser, who might be restricted from carrying a hidden weapon in one state, but under this new bill would be allowed to carry one wherever he likes as long as he’s from a state with lax laws.

Mr. Baker correctly notes there is a federal law against spousal abusers getting concealed carry permits. But the fact remains: the federal law is extremely limited and does not cover dating partners, those who abuse family members besides a spouse or child, or even those convicted of stalking.

That’s why many states have passed more stringent restrictions covering these red-flag individuals, but other states have not. The concealed carry reciprocity law Knight supports reduces the national standard to the state with the weakest laws.

For instance, only 35 states specifically ban dating partners who have been convicted of abuse from carrying hidden handguns in public. Only 28 states prohibit convicted stalkers from carrying concealed guns.

There are 12 other states that have absolutely zero restrictions on who carries a hidden gun. There is no concealed carry permit required in those states. No safety training.

No restrictions whatsoever.

The bill Knight co-sponsored would force all states to allow these kinds of permit-free carriers to carry hidden guns across their borders, even to states that have the more stringent rules.

This undermines the individual state laws and the safety of those states’ citizens. It also forces our police to face a tangle of excuses and conflicting laws as they try to enforce California’s permit rules.

Mr. Baker’s exploitation of semantics is a perfect example of this chaos. He zeroed in on the shorthand use of “spousal” to try to dismiss the very real concerns expressed by law enforcement leaders.

That just shows how America’s hodgepodge of lax laws, loopholes, and ultra-narrow restrictions are manipulated by technicalities to empower criminals and exacerbate dangers.

These are facts. These aren’t just opinions. These are the concerns of the police. But they are of no concern to our own congressman, Steve Knight.

Now the latest salvo ( Link ), written by me and published today:

Brian Baker: Still more on concealed carry

The day after my last letter was published regarding Anthony Breznican’s hysterical assertions about reciprocal interstate recognition of CCWs (concealed gun carry licenses) The Signal posted a rebuttal written by him.

The problem for him is that in addition to “misstating” (I’m being kind) the law, as he did in his original letter, in his rebuttal he “misstated” what I had written in my original response.

He wrote: “(Baker) zeroed in on the shorthand use of ‘spousal’ to try to dismiss the very real concerns expressed by law enforcement leaders.”

That’s flat-out false. Actually, I quoted him thusly: “Breznican absurdly claims, ‘Those from other states who might be blocked from carrying a concealed gun in a state like California, which has restrictions on such a license for those with a record of spousal abuse or other criminal behavior, will now be able to enter carrying a loaded weapon with impunity.’”

He’s the one who specifically mentioned “spousal abuse”. That was his argument, not mine. I was quoting his own letter. Everything I wrote was true and correct, and was in direct response to his wild-eyed claims. Just as I wrote, federal law is the superior authority, and those who wouldn’t qualify for basic gun ownership because they’re “prohibited persons” under federal law for having committed some criminal act certainly won’t be qualified to possess CCWs… in any state.

Further, and just as I wrote, the “opinions” of politician/cop “law enforcement leaders” notwithstanding, this is no different from universal reciprocity of drivers’ licenses. Different states also have different licensing requirements for those, too, but every state recognizes every other state’s drivers’ licenses when those residents visit regardless.

Thanks for the opportunity to set the record straight.

I suspect this will be the end of the debate in the pages of The Signal. They’re not going to give us endless ink to go round and round in circles.

More importantly, though, is that this is a great example of what we as conservatives face when arguing issues with American socialists: They blatantly lie about underlying fundamental facts, and when caught out in their lies, continue to refuse to acknowledge facts, to the point of lying about what we ourselves have said, right to our faces.


29 comments on “My Debate On Gun Rights

  1. Kathy says:

    Wow, there are so many things wrong with Breznican’s original statement, it’s hard to know where to start. I’ll sum it up by saying it’s people like him who spread the lies, buy into the rhetoric and refuse to look up the stats for themselves that keep this debate going when it should have been settled ages ago.

    Guys like him refuse to admit that those with CCLs abide by the law – it’s the bad guys who are already carrying around guns illegally and his stance gives them the advantage.

    • BrianR says:

      Absolutely right, Kathy. I couldn’t agree more.

      But then, that would require application of logic, and you can’t be logical and be a leftist. It’s one of the qualities I spoke about in my “FLHHC” column. The five characteristics leftists have to embody to be able to continue to support socialism:

      Human nature, and the

  2. CW says:

    Outstanding rebuttal, Brian! You articulated the gun-rights side quite admirably.

    It’s so funny that liberals get their panties all in a twist about CC reciprocity, supposedly because they’re soooo concerned about crime, and yet they support so many other policies that actually do make our societies more violent and dangerous. I lived in SoCal for about 9 years. I can clearly recall seeing the “Crime Stoppers” alerts in the paper, and it did not escape my notice that so many of the wanted criminals were predominantly Hispanic or black. So I would love to know what Mr. Breznican’s opinion is with respect to stopping the flood of illegal immigration from Mexico, being that he is soooo worried about crime. And I would love to know what Mr. Breznican’s opinion is about the relationship between the Left’s failed “War on Poverty” and rampant crime in the black community, since he’s soooo worried about violence. What is Mr. Breznican’s opinion about building adequate prison space to protect the citizens of California, or giving the death penalty to dangerous criminals? Knowing his position on these issues might help me to understand whether his concerns about CC reciprocity are sincere or if he’s just another knee-jerk liberal who hates the Second Amendment because that’s what liberals do.

    • BrianR says:

      Thanks, CW.

      Excellent points all!

      And I can tell you from personal experience, having debated that moron many times in the comment threads on a variety of exactly those topics, that his positions are exactly as you’d guess they would be: SOP leftist hypocrisy personified.

  3. Bill Taylor says:

    You can’t really discuss anything with a raving liberal. When presented with facts they will start shouting, from that they move on to screaming. It’s as bad as listening to The View on tv.

  4. captbogus2 says:

    BB, in my opinion the Concealed Gun Carry Permit …IS IN ITSELF.. an infringement on the Second Amendment as it requires you to OBTAIN PERMISSION to exercise your Second Amendment Right to keep And Bear arms.
    Anyone who applauds this permit to carry is supporting government intervention into a guaranteed Constitutional Right.

    • BrianR says:

      In general I agree with you, Buck, but two things to consider.

      First of all, we have to deal with the reality of the world around us, whether we like it or not, and in most states permits are the reality.

      But there’s one aspect that actually negates that argument. If people are entitled to carry in some manner, either concealed or open, then a CCW is NOT a constitutional infringement, as far as I see it. It’s only an infringement if open carry is banned and permits are required to carry concealed, and permit issuance isn’t mandatory, like in the sorry state I live in. In that case, it makes it almost impossible to carry — “bear” the guns — at all. That’s an actual “infringement”.

      • captbogus2 says:

        I agree but ‘open carry’ invites a “Show me your permit to carry.” which results in a night in an unpleasant place and an “i’m sorry” in front of a judge….maybe.

      • BrianR says:

        Actually, it doesn’t. In most, if not all, jurisdictions, open carry doesn’t require a permit.

  5. On the matter of gun rights, I think that any person who has been convicted of a non-violent crime should have their right to own a firearm restored to them. A violent crime committed with a gun should cause that right for a person who engaged in it should lose that right.

    • BrianR says:

      Many non-violent crimes of a misdemeanor nature don’t disqualify gun ownership. The use of a gun in any crime bars gun ownership. That’s the current state of the law.

  6. Brian R, this is something I did not know. Thank you for explaining this to me.

  7. Brian R, another thing: I will do the best I can to be civil in my wording of any comments I make on your posts. However, I will ask that you try to be patient with me. Some issues I can be passionate about, however, I will do the best I can to govern my words accordingly.

    • BrianR says:

      Jeffrey, thank you. That’s all I ask. I actually enjoy debating people with whom I don’t agree, as long as we all remain civil. It helps me sharpen my skills, if nothing else, and I’m open to persuasion if a clear case can be made that I’m wrong on something. It’s actually been known to happen!

  8. Brian R, if you don’t mind my asking, what got you interested in political matters? Hearing about what goes on in the news or has the interest been a lifelong thing?

    • BrianR says:


      When I was in college in 1967, what later became the Gun Control Act of 1968 was a hot political issue. I wrote a couple of letters against gun control that got published in my college newspaper, “The Terrapin” (U of MD). An activist was born.

      So that’s been a bit over a half century.

  9. Are you familiar with Alex Jones in much detail?

  10. Brian R, it is probably better that way. He talks about gun control in some You Tube videos. However, he is off his rocker in other areas.

  11. Brian R, he does debate Piers Morgan on gun control. However, this is an area that I actually agree with him on. Other areas, it just depends on the context.

  12. No, I agree with Alex Jones. I should have been more specific.

  13. Alex Jones loses all credibility with his 9/11 conspiracy theories. However, if seen in context, he does say some things that are valid.

  14. Brian R, I try to be open to all opinions on the issues, regardless of the source of information or ideological slant. However, I am also skeptical of many things.

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