Concealed Carry For Congress, But Not For You
In a “more guns” bill that alarmed even pro-gun-rights activists, representative Mo Brooks (R-Ala.) has proposed arming federal legislators to the exclusion of regular citizens. An existing bill, HR 38, to make the firearm-carry permits of normal American citizens valid nationally, has languished in Congress since the election of Donald Trump.
Motivated by the attempted assassination of Republican officials playing baseball in Virginia, the proposed Brooks bill would exempt elected federal officials from controversial and possibly unconstitutional laws banning their right to keep and bear arms in the nation’s capital — and anywhere else in the nation. The general public has suffered under such bans for decades, and has been assaulted and murdered by the tens of thousands annually while unarmed and defenseless.
The U.S. Constitution’s 14th Amendment requires equal treatment under the law, which representative Brooks’ bill would ignore, in arming his own colleagues and omitting the rest of the nation. Similar discriminatory laws have been overturned in the past. According to statements he made during an interview with Jesse Watters on FOX News, “I wouldn’t have to worry about what the laws are,” indicating he would be free to exercise his rights anywhere. The rest of the public would remain under draconian barriers to possessing firearms for self defense, or any other legitimate purpose.
When asked by Watters about arguments from anti-gun-rights activists and democratic legislators who say it would be too dangerous to let legislators be armed, since they might commit crimes or shoot people without cause, Brooks replied that’s “a ludicrous and inconsequential argument.”
Facts back him up, since the battle for gun rights has constantly confronted this line of thought, and the facts never bear it out. Every time a new firearm-carry law comes into effect, imagined fears of upcoming bloodbaths dominate news coverage, but the projected horrors turn out to be delusions that do not occur. Retractions are never seen, contributing to widely recognized journalism-credibility problems.
According to a Beltway lobbyist familiar with the situation, Brooks may have spoken in the heat of the moment, forgetful or unaware that HR 38, the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017 would accomplish the same purpose, without excluding the law-abiding public. That bill, sometimes referred to as Freedom To Carry (FTC), exempts lawful gun owners whose rights to carry are intact, with some conditions, against gun bans that start at state borders. Constitutional Carry is included in that bill.
In effect, congressman Brooks, his staffers, and anyone else in America whose Second Amendment rights are whole could be protected under HR 38. The clamor to enact HR 38 has grown since the baseball assassination attempt.
Because the political capital may not be available to enact two federal firearm-carry bills, one for an elite group and the other for the people, the smart course of action would be to put all energy behind the national Freedom To Carry bill.
Alan Korwin is the author of Gun Laws of America and publisher at Bloomfield Press.