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.

 

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