And then there were eleven. Missouri’s legislature easily overrode Gov. Jay Nixon’s veto of a constitutional-carry bill that will allow law-abiding citizens to arm themselves without state permits or licensing. The “Show Me” state joins ten others in telling citizens that they do not have to show the state anything in order to exercise their Second Amendment rights:
Missouri lawmakers have overridden a veto of a wide-ranging guns bill that will let more people carry concealed weapons and give them greater legal rights to defend themselves.
The Republican-led Legislature enacted the law Wednesday by a 24-6 Senate vote and a 112-41 vote in the House. Both exceeded the two-thirds majority needed to override the veto of Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon.
In other words, opposition in Missouri turned out to be on the fringe. KSDK’s coverage, however, found two opponents to match up against one supporter, the latter of whom turned out to be an active-duty policeman who injected a little common sense into the debate. Paul Bastean points out that those who intend to do harm against police (or anyone else) weren’t waiting around for constitutional carry to suddenly transform into a threat:
“If you think about it, you have to take a test to drive a car,” argued St. Louis police chief Sam Dotson. “You don’t have to take a test anymore, you don’t have to get any training to own a gun.” True, but these are apples-to-oranges comparisons. People have to get licenses to drive cars because they operate on public roads; if all you ever do is drive on private property, you don’t need a driver’s license at all. There are many choices made by people that go unlicensed by the state with far-reaching ramifications, such as parenting, choice of home, what we consume, and so on.
Besides, there is no constitutional right to drive cars, as the police and DMVs everywhere will remind people when they apply for these licenses. The state offers them as a privilege, a privilege based on demonstrated competence and adherence to the law. The Second Amendment sets the right to keep and bear arms as a right that precedes state authority. Some states choose not to layer any more restrictions on that right, and as Stephen Gutowski notes, it’s a growing movement:
From the nation’s founding through 2002 Vermont was the only state that didn’t require a state-issued permit to carry a firearm. Alaska became the second state to adopt the policy in 2003. Over the last six years another nine states have followed suit, making it the hottest trend in state-level gun policy.
Opponents decry the move away from carry permits as irresponsible and make dire predictions about blood in the streets, but guess what? They said the same thing about allowing carry permits, too. Here in Minnesota, gun-control activists predicted Wild West shootouts and drunken gunfire every weekend, none of which has come to pass in more than a decade of shall-issue carry permit law. Law-abiding citizens take this responsibility seriously. The efforts on controlling violence should focus elsewhere.