Forum, Aug. 6: Shortsighted Gun Legislation

Saturday, August 05, 2017
Shortsighted Gun Legislation

You may not be aware of H.R.38, the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017, which was recently introduced into Congress. This bill amends the federal criminal code to allow a gun owner of one state to carry a concealed handgun into, or possess a concealed handgun in another state regardless of that state’s statutes.

This is extremely shortsighted, and definitely disregards a state’s fundamental rights; the state of New York is different from the state of Montana. Although this legislation is supported by the National Rifle Association, their assertion of more guns equals less crime is totally unsubstantiated. Bob Williamson, in a recent Forum letter, cited the work of Stanford Law Professor John J. Donahue, who estimated violent crime to be approximately 15 percent higher in states that allow for concealed carry.

The NRA is fond of saying that “the only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.” Recently, Republican Rep. Steve Scalise was severely wounded while practicing for a congressional baseball game, along with three other individuals, by a deranged shooter. The Capitol police took out the shooter. Some members of Congress were suggesting that this is an example of why more individuals should carry a firearm. The question in my mind is how do police distinguish between a “good guy” with a legitimate permit to carry a firearm from the bad guy? In the ensuing mayhem, will the police (or the “good guy with the gun”) inadvertently injure or kill innocent bystanders? Not all states require certification that the individual knows how to handle a firearm — that surely is a formula for disaster.

Not all states have universal background checks. How skilled are those who carry a concealed firearm? There are many questions raised, with so few answers.

If you live in Vermont, ask Rep. Peter Welch to vote against this legislation. If you live in New Hampshire, ask Ann McLane Kuster, and send copies to Sens. Bernie Sanders and Pat Leahy in Vermont, Maggie Hassan and Jean Shaheen in New Hampshire.

Paul Manganiello