The Bad News About a National CCW Reciprocity Law

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

Tenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States

From time to time I read about proposals for a national law requiring reciprocity of concealed carry permits between the states. The most recent example is the Constitutional Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act, introduced by Senator John Cornyn, R-TX.

Sadly, I have some bad news about this proposal, and about a national CCW reciprocity law in general: It would be unconstitutional under the Tenth Amendment.


Nothing in the US Constitution gives Congress the authority to regulate the issuing or honoring of concealed carry permits issued by the States. In fact, nothing in the Constitution addresses concealed carry permits at all. Therefore, Congress has no authority to order the States to honor permits from other States.

Now, let me say that I am in no way saying we should not be able to carry a concealed weapon. And, I am not saying that my Georgia Weapons Carry License should not be honored in other states. However, the method by which this is accomplished is the issue at hand, and the current proposal doesn’t pass muster.

As an intelligent American, you know this to be true, even if you wish it were not.

There are several camps out there who make arguments that we should support this unconstitutional law. Let’s take a look at one.

The Driver’s License Argument

“The law should force States to honor my carry permit, like it forces them to honor my driver’s license.”

This claim, unfortunately, is based on ignorance. The honoring of drivers’ licenses is the result of an agreement among the States called the Driver Licence Agreement.  Does that sound familiar? It should, because that’s what currently regulates reciprocity of carry permits – agreements between the States.

Why not a law? Because nothing in the Constitution gives Congress authority over licensing drivers, and at one time, we actually paid attention to the Constitution.

Thank God.

Think about it: the Federal government already will retain highway funds from States, unless they institute laws it agrees with, and mandates, like the right speed limits, or the right drinking age. Federal control of drivers’ licenses would open us all to such abuse as we can only imagine.

And if you follow that line of reasoning, you can then cut off the next line of reasoning for federal carry permit reciprocity: “Why don’t we just pass a law (or amendment) giving the feds authority over carry permits?”




That, my friends, leads exactly where you think it leads.

Now, I know this is a big disappointment to a lot of people. Believe me, I wish we could have it, too, but I am not willing to give up my Constitutional rights for something I want, and you shouldn’t be, either.

As always, I welcome your reasoned discussion on this issue.



Coming tomorrow – the answer to CCW reciprocity.

GeorgiaCarry Sues Over School Carry Law

As I reported last year, the Georgia Legislature passed a law, HB 826, which Governor Deal signed, that exempts GWCL holders from prosecution for carrying weapons within school zones.

As one might expect, the idea that HB 286 actually allows what it says it allows was disputed, most notably by the Georgia Attorney General.

And, as one might expect, GeorgiaCarry.Org has filed a lawsuit to force the State to read the words in the law, and enforce the law as written.

More to come, I am sure . . . .

“Guns Everywhere” Plus 3 Months – Where Is All The Blood?

H Harper Station

On July 1, 2014, Georgia law HB60 went into effect.  This law, termed the “Guns Everywhere” law, eased or removed the restrictions for a lawful holder of a Georgia Weapons Carry License, or a recognized reciprocal license from another state, to carry a concealed or open weapon into bars, nightclubs, and, most importantly, government buildings that lacked security devices to keep them out, such as metal detectors.

Above is a recent photo of H. Harper Station, recently rated among the best bars in Atlanta.

Kennesaw city hall

Above is a recent photo of the Kennesaw, Georgia City Hall.

Please note that neither photo has been retouched or edited in any way.

Also please note the distinct lack of blood flowing in the streets around either location.

To those who always claim that the easing of restrictions on lawful carry by law abiding citizens will lead to chaos, I present, instead, the facts. No increase in violence has been observed.

In fact, North Carolina today passes one year of allowing carry in bars, and they have seen the same distinct lack of the chaos predicted by the anti-gun factions.

I predict the same continued normalcy here in Georgia.

Now, will the anti-gunners use this as a learning moment? The next time we seek to improve the safety of every law abiding citizen by decreasing the number of Gun Free Victim Zones around us, will they consider rightly that history shows them to have been wrong, not only now, but many times in the past? After all, it has been over 4 years since we allowed lawful carry into restaurants, and the promised return to the Wild West never materialized then, either.

Time will tell.

School Carry Quietly Enacted in Georgia

Of late, the whole world, it seems, has been all aflurry about the “Guns Everywhere” bill in Georgia, HB60, recently signed by Governor Nathan Deal. This bill allows lawful Georgia Weapons Carry License holders to carry guns in bars, churches (with the permission of the church leadership), and in the unsecured parts of government buildings. The anti-gun factions have been most vocal, claiming as usual that this will lead to Blood In The Streets and a Return To The Wild West.

Of course, Georgia is not the first state to allow carry in these locations, and none of the other states have had any increase in gun usage in these locations. In fact, a study by the Richmond Times Dispatch showed a 5.2 percent decrease in crime involving firearms in bars in the state of Virginia in the first year following enactment of that state’s bar carry law. I would encourage a news outlet in Georgia to investigate HB60’s effects and report on it in July 2015. But, in the meantime, I will continue to breathe normally.

One of the places that “Everywhere” does not include in HB60, however, are schools. School carry was eliminated from the bill early on, because it created so much controversy.

So it comes as a surprise (to me at least) that there was another bill, HB826 (coincidentally sponsored by my State Senator, Lindsey Tippins), signed by Governor Deal yesterday. This bill changes how guns are treated in school zones, and it lists the people who are exempt from being considered in violation of the law. Exemption 6 says:

A person who is licensed in accordance with Code Section 16-11-129 or issued a permit pursuant to Code Section 43-38-10, when he or she is within a school safety zone or on a bus or other transportation furnished by a school or a person who is licensed in accordance with Code Section 16-11-129 or issued a permit pursuant to Code Section 43-38-10 when he or she has any firearm legally kept within a vehicle when such vehicle is parked within a school safety zone or is in transit through a designated school safety zone;

This changes the old law which only exempted GWCL holders who were in a school parking lot picking someone up. Note that GWCL holders are now exempted everywhere “within a school safety zone.” And, just to make it clear, another part of the law says

‘School safety zone’ means in or on any real property or building owned by or leased to any school or postsecondary institution.

So, this law, which goes into effect July 1, legalizes campus carry in Georgia.

Like most people, I was surprised and caught unaware that this was in the offing. But I am glad to see it.

However, I am cautious of how this will be received. I think my feelings are best echoed by Jerry Henry, the Executive Director of, who said in an email to members

What this means for you is that, according to GeorgiaCarry.Org, beginning on July 1 it will be legal to carry a weapon on school grounds.  There is, however, some debate about the new law, with some in law enforcement and schools claiming that the new law must mean something else.  As a result, GeorgiaCarry.Org asks its members to exercise common sense when carrying on school grounds so as to avoid bad publicity with respect to the hypersensitivity likely to be displayed towards a weapon in the school environment.  This will have the added benefit of giving the legislature no good or valid reason to re-criminalize weapons in school when the General Assembly meets again.

Lacking any stupid person flaunting a gun needlessly at some school event, we should be on our way to better protecting our children.

Thank you, Governor Deal, Lindsey Tippins, and the Georgia Legislature!

How Do You Tell Your Kids You Are Carrying?

Ron Larimer over at the When The Balloon Goes Up blog has written a post asking the above question.

I had written a comment on his post, but when I read it before posting it, I realized I was essentially refuting the premise of his post.

What I was going to say is, why are you carrying in a manner that you have to explain anything to your kids?

First, the point of concealed carry is that your gun is concealed. Seriously, if your kids can tell you are carrying a gun, so can everyone else. That’s not concealed.

Second, if your kids know you carry a gun, what’s the big deal? More importantly, if it were a big deal, how do you kids know it’s a big deal? What in their life and experience has taught them that carrying a gun is bad, or needs to be explained?

I’ve helped raise two really good kids, who are now 21 and 16. One neat thing I found raising my kids was that they tended to learn from me. If I made a big deal out of something, then they learned that something was a big deal. If I didn’t make a big deal out of something, they learned it was no big deal.

For example, at our house we keep a big dish of candy on the kitchen island, and everyone is free to partake. It’s always been there, and as a result, my kids don’t make a big deal about candy. That dish can sit around for weeks without being refilled.

On the other hand, we have a neighbor who refuses to keep candy in the house, “so her kids won’t be unhealthy.” So, when the neighbor’s son comes over, the candy dish goes up in the cabinet, because he’s made it into a wasteland before. To him, candy is a big deal.

In a way, it’s been the same way about guns in our home. They have always been a part of our home, and we’ve always taught good safety practices. So it’s never been a big deal. And just as we know candy is a big deal to some people, we know some people make a big deal about guns in the home. But we don’t.

Just as it isn’t a big deal for me to have a spare tire in the car, or a fire extinguisher on the deck with the charcoal grill, or a backpack in the trunk of the car with provisions to get us home, my kids know it’s not a big deal for me to carry a gun. The world is an uncertain place.

Growing up, my kids knew we had guns in the house. They came to the range with me, and came to competitions with me. It was part of our life. Interestingly, though, when the time came to teach them how to defend our home, part of that was showing them where the pistol safe was. And I found out that neither of them knew where it was, until then.  It’s not that I made a big deal of hiding it, I just never made a big deal of having it in the first place.

Likewise, when neighbor kids came over, my kids never made a big deal about having guns in the house, either, because it wasn’t a big deal. I had no explaining to parents, no apologizing.

So, I contend  that, if your attitude toward gun ownership and carry is right, you won’t have anything to explain. And that makes it a lot easier.

The Real Power of Concealed Carry

Concealed Weapons PermitRecently, with all the increased media fever following the Newtown school shooting, the issue of concealed carry has been beaten back and forth like a really bad tennis match. More like a match between Venus Williams and Stephen Hawking. The left, thinking every concealed carry longs to get involved in a shootout, asks “What good is one lone good guy with a gun against a bad guy?”

Sadly, they are missing the point. The true power of concealed carry is that it puts doubt in the minds of potential criminals. If there is the possibility that the criminal will face opposition, they will go elsewhere.

You see, most of the lunatics who carry out these mass shootings are not only mentally ill, they are cowards. We know this because when they are confronted by real opposition they either kill themselves or surrender immediately. It’s also been shown that they pick their targets based on the knowledge that they will be unopposed.

But, if there is a chance there will be armed opposition, they choose to go elsewhere.

How do we know? Consider this case from my home town, Kennesaw, Georgia. Famously, every head of household in Kennesaw is required by city ordinance to possess a gun, and, as a result, the burglary and violent crime rates here are among the lowest in the nation. There are no mall shootings, no theater shootings. Why? Because the odds are pretty good that someone – many someones – will be present who are carrying concealed guns. And the bad guys just don’t like the odds, and they take their business

But specifically, there was an incident at a local Waffle House in 2010 where two patrons were open carrying, late at night. As it turns out, some thugs were looking to rob the restaurant, and sent in a scout first, who saw the two men sitting with guns.


Meanwhile, conscientious Cobb County Police Officer D. Lowe had noticed suspicious cars sitting behind the restaurant in the dark and decided to investigate.  He caught men with masks and rifles who had been preparing to rob the Waffle House.  The criminals informed the police that they had changed their mind upon discovering armed customer and were waiting for Matt and J.P. to leave.  Ironically, the police car was pulling in to the parking lot just as Matt and J.P. were driving away.  In other words, had Matt and J.P. not been armed, the robbery probably would have occurred before the police intervened.

And, if this is what’s visible and known, then what’s invisible, concealed, and not known? In that case, the bad guys, the coward nut jobs, don’t want to know. They go somewhere else.

And that is the real power of concealed carry.

Gun Free Victim Zones

Once again, America comes face to face with the reality of what can happen inside a Gun Free Victim Zone. The widely publicized theater shootings in Aurora, Colorado needs no link from here.

A large focus of the discussion since has been to try to get anti-gun people to see that prohibiting firearms in any situation does not guarantee anyone’s safety.

The counter argument I have dealt with more than once is this: what could one lone armed individual do against someone with the kind of firepower that the Colorado shooter brought to bear?

My answer is and remains that the reaction of one lone gunner cannot be predicted, except perhaps in cases like this. But, the value of allowing lawfully armed civilians free roam is that potential criminals then do not know what kind of resistance they will encounter if they attack. They may encounter several people who are carrying, willing to resist.

This applies just about everywhere, from the movies to college campuses.

I took my family to see Dark Knight Rising on Saturday. The theater our family uses does not have a firearms prohibition policy. In fact, I’ve had a gun discussion with one of the off duty police they hire.

As always, I carried a pistol concealed, along with a spare magazine. I found myself watching others at the theater, looking for tells, signs that I wasn’t alone. I saw more than a few who were concerned that their shirt tales were down over their waist, and a lot of us were scanning the crowd. (I probably tipped my hand, too, but that’s not so bad.) I was very likely not alone.

There will always be evil people in the world. I might not be able to stop them, but, by knowing I might be there, maybe I can persuade them to go elsewhere. So, those of you who choose to go where guns are prohibited, you are on your own, relying on a sign on the door, and police who are ten minutes away, for protection. Good luck.