Speaking at an August 8 town hall in Rocket Center, West Virginia, Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) criticized his state’s recently enacted constitutional carry law, suggesting that relying on the Second Amendment alone as a carry permit will actually increase ambush incidents for police officers.
Constitutional carry, which allows law-abiding West Virginians to carry openly or concealed without a permit, was enacted after the West Virginia legislature overrode Governor Earl Ray Tomblin’s (D) veto of the measure earlier this year. Tomblin vetoed similar legislation last year at the urging of Senator Manchin.
According to the Cumberland Times-News, Manchin told town hall attendees that “gun control should be governed by common sense.” He then criticized constitutional carry, suggesting that more criminals will carry, now that the law does not require a permit. Manchin said, “Before, we always knew who we were chasing — the bad guy — but we knew most of the people didn’t have a gun concealed, and if they did, they were responsible. We don’t know that anymore. So I’m for responsible gun control.”
Manchin is arguing against freedom for law-abiding citizens on the basis of the conduct of criminals. Moreover, he is suggesting that criminals decide whether or not to carry based on concealed carry laws.
Manchin also suggested constitutional carry will lead to more police ambushes.
If Manchin’s assessment was anywhere close to accurate, states with the strictest concealed carry laws would be a testimony to substantial drops in crime. But California has the stringent concealed carry laws, and San Francisco led the country in property crime surge in 2015. Moreover, violent crime surged 20 percent in Los Angeles during the first six months of 2016. And the San Bernardino terror attack took place in California in December 2015.
Also, although the concealed permitting process is laborious in California, a gunman walked onto UCLA’s gun-free campus on June 1 and killed a professor.
The point is clear: criminals will be criminals regardless of the amount of regulation placed upon them. The West Virginia legislature took the regulations off law-abiding citizens to level the playing field.
AWR Hawkins is the Second Amendment columnist for Breitbart News and political analyst for Armed American Radio. Follow him on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.