Self-de­fense right used to al­low own­ers to carry firearm with­out state per­mit

The Washington Times Weekly - - Politics - BY DAVE BOYER

Amid the ris­ing num­ber of Amer­i­cans li­censed to carry a con­cealed hand­gun, more states are pass­ing laws that don’t re­quire a per­mit to carry firearms, em­brac­ing the view that self-de­fense is a “nat­u­ral born” right.

Missouri be­came the fourth state this year to ap­prove a so-called “con­sti­tu­tional carry” law when Repub­li­can leg­is­la­tors over­rode a veto by Demo­cratic Gov. Jay Nixon on Sept. 15, mak­ing per­mit­less carry le­gal. West Virginia, Mississippi and Idaho also have adopted con­sti­tu­tional carry laws in 2016, bring­ing the to­tal num­ber of such states to 12.

“States that fo­cus on free­dom re­al­ize that if self-de­fense truly is a nat­u­ral-born right, and the Se­cond Amend­ment truly af­firms that nat­u­ral-born right, you shouldn’t have to ask the gov­ern­ment for per­mis­sion to ex­er­cise it,” said Tim Sch­midt, pres­i­dent of the U.S. Con­cealed Carry As­so­ci­a­tion in West Bend, Wis­con­sin. “Kind of like you don’t have to ask the gov­ern­ment to ex­er­cise the First Amend­ment.”

Missouri’s law spec­i­fies 17 places where peo­ple can’t carry guns, in­clud­ing churches, air­ports, sports are­nas, court­houses, liquor stores, schools, hos­pi­tals and polling places on Election Day. It will take ef­fect Jan. 1.

The Missouri chap­ter of Moms De­mand Ac­tion for Gun Sense in Amer­ica, part of Michael Bloomberg’s Every­town for Gun Safety, ob­jected that the leg­is­la­ture’s ac­tion “makes Missouri the first new ‘stand your ground’ state since Trayvon Martin’s death.”

The group said the law “dis­man­tles Missouri’s con­cealed carry per­mit re­quire­ment and lets peo­ple — in­clud­ing some vi­o­lent crim­i­nals, cer­tain re­peat drug of­fend­ers, and peo­ple with no firearms safety train­ing — carry hid­den, loaded hand­guns in pub­lic.”

Rep. Lau­ren Arthur, North Kansas City Demo­crat, called it a “stupid, dan­ger­ous piece of leg­is­la­tion.”

The Na­tional Ri­fle As­so­ci­a­tion said the devel­op­ment in Missouri “will im­prove the abil­ity of law-abid­ing gun own­ers to ex­er­cise their Se­cond Amend­ment rights.”

Mr. Sch­midt, whose for-profit com­pany of­fers train­ing, ed­u­ca­tion and firearms li­a­bil­ity in­sur­ance poli­cies, said Pres­i­dent Obama’s ef­forts at im­pos­ing gun con­trol reg­u­la­tions, com­bined with an uptick in vi­o­lent crime across the U.S., are aid­ing the rise in peo­ple car­ry­ing firearms.

“I cer­tainly think it’s helped,” he said of Mr. Obama’s agenda. “It’s the whole fear thing — ev­ery­body’s afraid he’s go­ing to pass some ac­tion and take the guns away, so they go to the store and buy more.”

The FBI’s lat­est an­nual re­port showed vi­o­lent crime in the U.S. rose about 4 per­cent in 2015, in­clud­ing an 11 per­cent rise in homi­cides.

“I don’t think peo­ple need to read the FBI crime re­port to re­al­ize that crime is a prob­lem,” Mr. Sch­midt said. “Ev­ery­body wants safety and se­cu­rity for their fam­ily. The great­est thing about the in­crease in con­ceal carry leg­is­la­tion is that it’s help­ing peo­ple to re­al­ize that they can be that first line of de­fense for their fam­ily.”

Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nee Don­ald Trump also has brought re­newed at­ten­tion to the is­sue of con­cealed carry; he has a per­mit in New York to carry a hand­gun and has pro­posed an ex­pan­sion of gun rights to make any state’s per­mit ap­pli­ca­ble na­tion­wide.

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