Reply to -- Some Modest Proposals Regarding the Texas Concealed Carry Law

By Bruce A. Clark (Written 8/10/96)

Actually, the experience in Florida and elsewhere shows that only a small percentage of the population will get concealed carry permits and carry guns. But as long as criminals do not know who is and who isn't carrying, that small percentage provides a deterrence that protects us all. This isn't as ridiculous as you make it seem. Just as the patchwork of firearm laws within a state puts a burden of confusion and loss of rights on people as they travel around, the various individual state CCW (concealed carry of weapons) laws (and lack thereof) regarding a right guaranteed in the Constitution which is supposed to protect all of us, puts a burden on interstate travelers. It came out during the attacks on foreign tourists in Florida that criminals were targeting foreigners because they knew that those tourists would not be armed. The same thing could happen in your circumstances, with criminals targeting people in rental cars. Perhaps it has happened already.

Many states passing CCW laws added reciprocity provisions, but coordinating such things between states is such a headache that it is practically impossible to legally travel while carrying a loaded firearm. That is the reason behind the effort to enact in the US Congress a federal law mandating that every state will recognize a CCW permit issued by any other state. Travelers would then not have to face the choice of feeling safe or obeying the law. Of course, this would mean that a state without a CCW law for its own citizens would allow out-of-state visitors to legally carry firearms while not allowing its own residents to do the same. But residents who cared to could get a non-resident permit in one of the states which provide for that and then carry legally in their own states, until their home states saw fit to cease making their residents second class citizens, and pass a suitable CCW law.

It's not the function of concealed carry laws to shed light on this issue. The laws covering this are solidly in place and are generally pretty clear: you are allowed to shoot when you or another is under the imminent threat of death or serious harm. (There will be variations on this from state to state, but they will be defined for each locale and available for people to learn about.)

While I am not an attorney, I would say that you are probably correct. However, as was shown in the Weaver and Koresh incidents, you might have a devil of a time proving it, the way the government covers up for the wrong-doing of its agents.

You're being silly. Are you having fun?

Who's "good" and who's "bad" is not the issue. Is someone in imminent danger or not? (Of course, a criminal in imminent danger from police trying to legally arrest him is in an entirely different situation. CCW laws are there so law-abiding people can protect themselves, not crooks.)

This is not the place to get into the complex issues that set off the L.A. riots. But the fact is that those who relied on the police and national guard to protect them and their businesses and livelihoods lost out, while those who saw to their own defense could, and from what I hear did, prevent destruction. Unfortunately for many who were threatened with damage in the riots, they wanted to protect themselves and their property but found that they couldn't. They discovered too late that California has a waiting period to purchase firearms. By the time they could purchase the means to protect themselves, their property was in ashes.

I was browsing in a bookstore a while back and happened upon Charlton Heston's autobiography. While perusing it, I read an anecdote where he told of an entertainment industry friend who called him during the riots and was quite fearful. The person asked him "You shoot, don't you?" (Quotations are approximate.) Heston replied that he did. The friend stated that he wanted to by a gun to protect himself, but that he couldn't because of the waiting period. Then he asked Heston if he might borrow a shotgun for a while. Heston declined, and said "If I remember correctly, you voted for the people who passed that waiting period law, didn't you?"