What’s the difference between getting a driver’s license and getting a license to carry a firearm? Well, for starters, while the safety standards, education, and training that's required to get a driver’s license are more or less the same across the nation, the bar for getting a carry license varies widely.
Some states require applicants for a carry permit to complete a training course. Some of these training courses are decent, others are jokes. But some states don't even require a half-baked course. Pay a few bucks, there you go. In fact, it’s been recently revealed that four out of ten people who carry guns have received little to no training.
Wait. Let’s say that again.
Almost half of American gun owners have not received proper training. It's entirely possible that they don't know how to safely use their gun and - without any evidence to support their claims - we'd be wrong to automatically assume that they are responsible gun owners.
This is just one example of why it's so difficult to stay on top of gun violence in America. The laws and standards for firearms are so patchwork across the nation that it's impossible to plug all the holes.
You can go to any gun show in pretty much any red state, like Indiana, and just buy firearms and ammo person to person with no paper trail whatsoever. Men just walk around with rifles with for sale signs on them. You meet them in the parking lot, close your straw purchase with cash, all done, no worries.
A friend of mine uses a great analogy to describe America’s gun laws. It's like you live in an apartment building, and your sloppy neighbor doesn't care about hygiene and lets cockroaches breed in his place. No matter how clean you keep your own places, the cockroaches always spill over into yours.
That's the deal in Chicago. But no matter how badly it's demonized, it's got nothing on gun homicides in places like New Orleans, Mississippi, and Texas, where gun laws are weaker.
New York is a better example of how gun laws should actually work. That's because the surrounding states and regions have equivalent levels of gun regulations. And although there are still shootings, they aren't even close to the level of Chicago, or anywhere else for that matter.
Having said that, there still exists the Iron Pipeline, where guns are run up from places like Georgia, where you can use a small crowbar to break into a bait shop that also gets to carry firearms, steal them, and drive them up here to sell them to the gangs for top dollar because they can't find them anywhere else.
That’s how New York lost police officer Brian Moore in a highly publicized shooting not long ago. The store the firearm was stolen from didn't even have to give that detailed a list of the weapons that were taken in their claim. That's insane.
Oh, and the fine for trafficking guns? The same as transporting chickens over the state lines. Nobody is scared off from doing it and there is no federal law against trafficking firearms.
It’s not that gun laws don’t work, it’s that weak, toothless gun laws don’t work. All over this nation, weak gun laws are undermining the strong ones, and the NRA and other gun lobbies are working ceaselessly to strip all gun laws down to nothing.
And this all brings us to the next step for the NRA: Concealed Carry Reciprocity (CCR).
Should the CCR bill become law, it will allow anyone from any state that's been issued a carry permit to go anywhere else in the country with their gun legally, regardless of existing gun laws, and regardless of their training or lack thereof.
Perhaps this is a good time to mention that some states, like Arizona, have ruled that men with a history of domestic abuse can legally buy firearms. Unsurprisingly, gun murders of women by their partners and ex-partners has seen a sudden and considerable spike in frequency.
Other states allow the mentally ill to buy guns while at the same time denying them the proper care they need. Other states allow you to buy a gun regardless of a criminal record, or association with white supremacy hate groups.
In a nation of bad gun laws undermining the good ones, Concealed Carry Reciprocity would be the ultimate bad law that supersedes the good. If the CCR becomes law, nobody will be safe from untrained or malicious gun owners, no matter where they live.
As safe as New York is right now, that will immediately change for the worst, considering the pure volume of visitors from around the country it gets.
Good gun laws keep people safe. Bad ones, like the CCR, not only won’t keep you safe, but will increase gun violence.
It takes us to stop gun violence, and that means it takes us to stop bad gun laws.
We all need to act. Right now.
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