Our Bill of Rights is, as the name would suggest, a list of rights that exist for all American citizens and not a list of privileges. The right to a free press is not a right that requires a permit from the government. The right to remain free from unlawful searches and seizures places the burden upon the government to show cause as to why they should be allowed to violate our privacy. And yes, our right to keep and bear arms is a right that ought not to require government approval to exercise.
Sadly, however, the right that protects all the others is the only right that requires a level of government approval for each citizen to exercise- a notion that is deeply ironic as the Second Amendment is the only right that explicitly underscores that the right to keep and bear arms “shall not be infringed.”
The right to keep arms is important; the right to bear arms, however, is equally important. What good is a right if one is prohibited from actually using it?
This is the line of inescapable logic that compels Second Amendment protectors to crusade for open and concealed carry laws. Our constitutional rights cannot be expected to end at our front door.
In recognition of this fact, all fifty states have adopted laws that allow for some concealed carrying of firearms. Notably, however, some were dragged kicking-and-screaming into the age of enlightenment and places like Chicago, Washington, D.C., and New York allow only “may issue” permits which permits the government to decide who is and who is not worthy of the practical application of their Second Amendment rights.
Recently, the lawmakers of West Virginia voted to approve a law that does not require a permit to carry a concealed weapon. The law grants a $50 tax credit to any who undergo a firearms training course and citizens 18 to 21 years of age still require a permit.
The bill, however, was vetoed by the state’s Democrat governor, Earl Tomblin.
Refusing to back-down from the veto, West Virginia’s House voted 64-33 to override the veto and the Senate soon followed suit, voting 23-11 to override the veto. The bill will now become law in 90 days.
Currently, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Kansas, Maine, Vermont, and Wyoming all enjoy constitutional carry- the right to carry a firearm concealed without a permit.
Chris W. Cox, executive director of the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action, praised the move, saying,
“Self-defense is a fundamental right that must be respected. Law-abiding West Virginians are now free to choose the method of self-defense that best suits their needs. The NRA and our five million members are pleased that the legislature voted in support of West Virginians’ Second Amendment freedoms.”
Alan Gottlieb of the Second Amendment Foundation echoed the sentiments, saying,
“This is a big win- Not just for gun rights but for the freedom movement in the battle against billionaire elitist gun prohibitionists like Michael Bloomberg. West Virginia just told him he can’t buy away our Second Amendment rights.”
Predictably, the man who sought to continue to restrict Second Amendment liberties for residents of his state was not pleased.
“It’s unfortunate that the concerns of officers from every law enforcement branch in the state, including the West Virginia State Police and university campus police officers, have been ignored by today’s action,” Governor Tomblin said.
To believe Tomblin’s position, one must first believe that criminals obey the law- a logical paradox if there ever was one.
Police are not endangered by guns; police are endangered by criminals. Criminals can and do carry weapons regardless of laws and by augmenting the protections afforded to citizens, more can carry firearms and serve as a deterrent to such criminal acts.
This is not about public safety; it is about politics and control. Thankfully, West Virginia hosts enough principled lawmakers to prioritize the rights of their constituents over the temper tantrums of politicians.