By Michael Schwartz
Second Amendment supporters in San Diego County are looking forward to the Trump administration. Although the most problematic gun laws restricting our Second Amendment rights originate in Sacramento, there is optimism in the gunfight at the federal level. And for many good reasons.
President Obama, only days into his administration, wasted little time with efforts to crack down on your ability to own firearms. His goal was obvious: to ban guns. He attacked the Second Amendment using agencies at all levels of government. Over his eight years, Obama used national tragedies to advance his anti-gun rhetoric and political agenda to severely limit our Second Amendment rights. Even before the election, gun owners were so worried Hillary Clinton would win the presidency that gun and ammunition sales skyrocketed.
However, with Donald Trump, we see a historic opportunity to install lasting protections for future and present gun owners. Trump ran the most assertively pro-Second Amendment campaign in memory. His campaign openly declared a dedication to protecting and defending the Second Amendment. Most often, his viewpoint was a pragmatic approach aimed at self-defense, rather than simply protecting a tradition for hunters.
So, what should President Trump do when it comes to gun laws? We have a few suggestions:
1. Support legislation ensuring national reciprocity so people with concealed-carry handgun permits from one state can carry while traveling to other states. Currently, many permit holders must leave their firearm at home when traveling or risk violating other states’ laws. Most states already have reciprocity and it is time for the remaining states to modernize and evolve. It’s common sense to treat a carry permit in the same way we treat a driver’s license. When you drive across state lines, you don’t worry that your driver’s license isn’t honored, but you do respect the rules of the road in the host state. We need the same protection for concealed-carry permits. Concealed-carry permits should be recognized in all 50 states regardless of state of issue. Law-abiding citizens should be able to exercise their constitutional right regardless of which state they reside. The individual right to carry a firearm in defense of life and family should not end at any state line.
2. Rescind a slew of executive actions issued by Obama, including those ordering the Centers for Disease Control to research gun violence, incentivizing doctors to ask their patients about gun ownership, and encouraging states to share medical information with a National Background Check system. Rather than focus on the law-abiding, prosecute the criminals.
3. With the stroke of a pen, Trump could erase Obama’s executive order and allow our military personnel to carry firearms while on duty at military facilities, including recruitment centers. Our domestic military bases and facilities have been the site of terror attacks and mass killings of our active duty military. With today’s increasing terrorism threat, it makes sense that soldiers should remain armed and on alert at our military bases. Getting rid of gun-free zones and making it easier for people to carry will deter criminals and reduce crime.
4. Appoint a Second Amendment-friendly Supreme Court justice to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia, who was the court’s most avid supporter of the Second Amendment. It was Scalia who wrote the 2008 landmark District of Columbia v. Heller ruling recognizing the Second Amendment as a civil right. Judge Neil Gorsuch, Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, appears to be a solid choice in protecting our Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms, although he does not have a record of previous court decisions or statements directly relating to the Second Amendment. Upholding the Second Amendment is not a conservative or a liberal issue. It applies to all citizens. Protecting and restoring Second Amendment rights remains an ongoing process, but we see with Gorsuch the possibility to create lasting protections for future and present gun owners.
5. The Trump administration also has the opportunity to affect future legislation. Congress should revive a number of bills designed to loosen gun laws that have been lingering on the back burner. Overall, we’re hoping that Trump’s election victory will embolden people in various ways to want to promote pro-Second Amendment legislation that will support law-abiding citizens while keeping guns out of the hands of dangerous criminals and the mentally unstable. This election presents a change in tone and an opportunity for everyday citizens to become engaged to a degree that they haven’t before.
Protecting and restoring Second Amendment rights remains an ongoing process. Will Trump follow through with a Second Amendment friendly agenda? We certainly hope so.
Michael Schwartz is executive director of San Diego County Gun Owners, a registered political action committee focused on organizing the gun industry and community and protecting the Constitution’s Second Amendment right to bear arms.
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