Politics of Guns: ‘Prosecutors Against Gun Violence’ attacks Senator Cornyn’s National Right-To-Carry Reciprocity Bill

U.S. Senator John Cornyn’s (R-TX) Constitutional Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2015 (S. 498, and its sister bill H.R. 923) is a new piece of legislation in Congress that would allow persons who are “entitled and not prohibited from carrying a concealed firearm in his or her state of residence….to carry a concealed handgun….in any state in accordance with the restrictions of that state.”

Yet, as usual, gun control advocates are ruthlessly fighting this common-sense bill.

A few days ago, Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer and Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., on behalf of the majority of members of Prosecutors Against Gun Violence (PAGV), released a statement condemning the Constitutional Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act, claiming that it would “undermine important local safeguards.”

As background, Mr. Feuer infamously authored California’s “microstamping” handgun ban amendment (2008’s AB 1471) to the laws underpinning the California Department of Justice Roster of Handguns Certified for Sale.

But Senator Cornyn’s CCCRA is not extreme legislation. It is, in fact, highly practical. It clears up confusion for individual carry license holders who wish to travel between states without having to apply for a carry license in each one.

As to PAGV’s claim that the CCCRA would “undermine important local safeguards,” they are simply misleading the public. The CCCRA would still require carry licensees to honor all local requirements in the state wherein they carry. CCCRA would simply allow an individual who had been approved to exercise their fundamental, individual Second Amendment right to carry a handgun in one state to do as much in other states.

PAGV might want to uphold gun control laws couched as “local safeguards” — much as the City of Chicago tried and failed to do in McDonald v. Chicago — but let’s not forget that we are discussing the fundamental rights of individuals to keep and bear arms.

Even if the CCCRA were to pre-empt some infringing local laws, that would be a social benefit. Our government cannot have an interest in infringing the People’s civil rights simply because they are inconvenient to the prevailing political views of a given area. If such were permissible, one could imagine how fractured important liberty interests would be — and rights wouldn’t really be rights at all.

And State and local restrictions on law-abiding individuals’ Second Amendment rights are subject to at least heightened scrutiny. The Fourteenth Amendment places rights protected under the federal Constitution high above state statutes. So any “local safeguards” would need — at the very least — an evidentiary basis to survive judicial review.

Reducing violence is a laudable objective and PAGV certainly has a First Amendment right to opine on matters of policy. But unsupported claims of “safety” and “security” are not reasons enough to jettison the rights protected under the Second and Fourteenth Amendments.

Prosecutors like Feuer and Vance (and organizations like PAVG) should be directing their efforts towards prosecuting violent criminals rather than attacking measures that promote justice and liberty among the law-abiding American public.

Gun owners that wish to support the CCCRA can Take Action by sending a letter of support for the measure here.

Evan Gillespie is a member of the Firearms Policy Coalition News and Take Action teams.