Los Angeles Police Department Chief Charlie Beck warns that national reciprocity for concealed carry will be a disaster in California.
In a May 25 op-ed published by the Los Angeles Times, Beck wrote, “The mere presence of more concealed weapons on California streets would make police work here much more hazardous.”
Beck did not mention, however, that police officers around the nation support gun rights over gun control and specifically support concealed carry for law-abiding citizens.
On January 11, 2017, Breitbart News reported a Pew Research Center survey showing that rank-and-file police officers support protecting citizens’ gun rights over passing more gun control by a margin of 3-to-1. And on July 15, 2016, Breitbart News reported that the Annual National Survey of Police Chiefs showed that 76 percent of chiefs believed armed citizens reduce crime.
Moreover, the survey showed “nearly 87 percent” of police chiefs support national reciprocity of concealed carry permits.
Beck suggested that national reciprocity would create an environment where anyone could carry and police would be powerless to stop them: “If LAPD officers stopped someone with a loaded, concealed handgun, that person could claim to live in a state where permits weren’t necessary, and the officers would be unable to confirm whether it was true.”
Beck based that claim on the fact that U.S. Rep. Richard Hudson’s (R-NC) national reciprocity legislation honors residents from permitless carry states as well as permitting states. But Beck’s claim omits the fact that residents of a permitless state would have to prove their residence via government documentation — i.e., a driver’s license or other valid government ID — before being able to carry legally without a permit.
A permitless concealed carrier visiting California from West Virginia would, in a traffic stop, have to verify his residency in West Virginia via government-issued documentation. To suggest that anyone could claim residency in a permitless carry state and “officers would be unable to confirm whether it is true” is incorrect.
Unbelievably, [Rep. Hudson’s bill] would allow an individual denied a permit in California to cross the border to a more permissive state, obtain a permit there, then return to California — with a new right to carry here.
Evidently the real concern is that national reciprocity will loosen the California’s stranglehold on the Second Amendment. It will mean that law-abiding residents denied a local carry permit because of the “good cause” requirement could acquire one in other states where the right to bear arms is sufficient justification for bearing them.
Arguably, the sky will not fall, the California dream will not implode, and police will not be harmed if national reciprocity is enacted. Instead, the people of California will be freer and law-abiding residents from other states will be freer while in California as well.
AWR Hawkins is the Second Amendment columnist for Breitbart News and host of “Bullets with AWR Hawkins,” a Breitbart News podcast. He is also the political analyst for Armed American Radio. Follow him on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.