Monday, July 6, 2015

More Thoughts on National Reciprocity

This time, nothing at all to do with the SCOTUS decision in Obergefell v. Hodges.

We took the family on an interstate road trip over the weekend. There were long drives, some sightseeing, spending time with extended family we hadn't seen in several years, and — of course — fireworks. Good times.

And yes, there is some truth to this:

During the drive back, though, I noticed something, and had a bit of an epiphany.

What I noticed was that, while hurtling along an interstate highway in California, we were surrounded by other vehicles feet or yards away, traveling at similar velocities (~70 mph) negotiating curves in the road, changing lanes, passing, allowing others to pass, and so forth. Being a holiday weekend, there were a healthy number of license plates from states other than California. I saw other Oregon plates, Washington plates, Colorado plates, a couple from Georgia, Florida, and New Jersey (long drives, those), and a few from the Canadian provinces of British Columbia and Alberta.

Yeah, kinda like that.
Yet, we all took the curves and traffic in stride — with very nearly the precision of a school of fish or a flock of birds moving in sync, and with no communication amongst each other besides the occasional flashing lights known colloquially as "turn signals" — and managed to not hit each other.

The phrase "poetry in motion" came to mind. That might be an exaggeration, but it was still somewhat amazing to observe once I noticed it.

We take it for granted, but it happens every day with shockingly few mishaps given the number of drivers and vehicles on the road at any given time. We don't suddenly become unsafe drivers when we cross an arbitrary line on a map.

That was the observation. Here's the epiphany:

The driving laws among the 50 states (and D.C.) are mostly the same. There are some minor variances — the speed limits on highways, emission requirements on vehicles, the fines and penalties for specific violations, etc. — but for the most part, the act of driving doesn't change when you cross state lines.

Additionally, although we all come from different states, and each state has different training and testing requirements for those who wish to earn their license to operate a motor vehicle on public roads, that license is good in all 50 states (and D.C.) in the Union.

So why is national reciprocity for carrying a concealed firearm such an issue?

Same reciprocity map from last week.
(source: USA Carry)
We hear from the anti-rights crowd how national reciprocity can't work because the laws and training requirements for CCW licenses are different in all 50 states, so there's no consistency, and that lack of consistency could cause problems.

Horse$#!+, I say.

I mean, sure, the gun laws vary a bit — some are "shall issue" while others are "may issue", New Jersey bans hollow point ammunition, several states require magazines that carry 10 or fewer rounds (and New York demands you only put seven rounds in those magazines), and some states require that a concealed firearm remain concealed — but then again, the driving laws of each state/province vary, too. Some states require emissions checks and some set their highway speed limits differently (Oregon's 65 vs. California's 70 vs. Idaho's 75). Some prohibit drivers from using cell phones without hands-free devices, some only prohibit sending text messages while behind the wheel, and others have no rules on the use of cell phones. Yet most days we (as a nation) manage to travel from point A to point B without getting speeding tickets or causing 50-car pile-ups on interstate highways.

And statistically, we have just as many cars in the country as guns, but guns cause far fewer fatalities — accidental or not — than cars. Repeat after me: The tool is not the problem. Misuse of the tool is.

[UPDATED TO ADD:] U.S. Concealed Carry Association published this article addressing events world-wide wherein people used motor vehicles as weapons, with the specific intent to harm or kill as many people as possible. Yet, nobody is questioning whether we should be allowed to own or operate cars, and nobody is protesting Ford or General Motors for manufacturing such "dangerous weapons". [/UPDATE]

The bottom line is this: If we can be trusted to responsibly operate a two-ton, 300-horsepower, mechanically-complex (have you looked under the hood of a modern car lately!?), seven-passenger moving death machine across state lines, it's safe to assume that carrying an operable defensive concealed firearm across state lines will be no big deal.

Write your Congressional representatives. Tell them to support and/or co-sponsor the various concealed carry reciprocity bills currently introduced in Congress. Remind them that the "sky is falling", "road-rage-turned-deadly", "blood in the streets" predictions of the anti-rights crowd over expanding gun rights have never come true, and that if we can be trusted to responsibly drive a motor vehicle safely nationwide with all the varying driving laws, then surely we can be trusted to safely carry a concealed, holstered firearm in any state in the Union.

Stay safe.

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