Why national concealed carry reciprocity would not work and shouldn’t be tried.

Almost all 2nd-amendment-supporting citizens agree it sure would be nice if we could carry in every state with just one permit. After all, the right to carry is firmly ingrained into our constitution. Carrying a firearm is a right everyone should be able to exercise! So, shouldn’t concealed carry be just as recognized and supported? Shouldn’t we be able to conceal just as freely as we carry openly?

In my opinion, no.

Let me clarify a few things about myself and my opinion. My name is Tommy Jordan. I am a certified firearms instructor in all 50 states for a variety of courses. Specifically relevant to this discussion, I teach a few courses that put me in front of people from all walks of life, every age group, and every racial demographic. Basic Pistol Safety is a main staple course of instruction that I personally think most people should take, but I find they usually obstain from. Then there is Refuse to be a Victim – a class where we instruct men, women, and entire families how to go about their business in a manner that helps them remain aware of their surroundings and teaches how to develop plans for emergencies such as their home being invaded, or a gunman approaching their car, or a burglar attempting to gain entry to adjascent properties. The rules and regulations for each type of incident are different.

I also teach concealed carry for the state of North Carolina, as well as Defensive Pistol, and some advanced Personal Protection courses – both defensive and offensive in nature.

Here are some cold hard facts about people in general I learned in a very short time as an instructor.

The generations of people that grew up with guns as tools are long gone. My grandparents were probably the last generation that grew up using them as everyday tools in their lives – to scare away predators because areas were less people-filled and there were a lot more open spaces between homes and neighborhoods than are present today. They were carried in the car everywhere because a trip to the store might be thirty miles and you wouldn’t be home until after dark and bears and wolves prowled country landscapes like dogs and cats to today in some parts of the country. Children were taught to shoot as a chore, not a hobby, to be able to run the opossums from the hen house or shoot hawks that threatened chickens or rabbits raised for food. Overall, guns were a viewed as a responsibility by almost everyone who picked one up. It never occurred to them that it was a “right” because no one was trying to take it away. Without that impetus driving things, people cared much less about having them. Every family had a few – usually a long rifle, a shotgun, and maybe a pistol or two.

Fast forward to today’s society – I have five shotguns sitting in the rack, two AR-platform rifles, half a dozen .22 rifles, a mix of big-bore hunting rifles, and nine pistols – although I can say honestly that YES, a few of them are good for shooting predators that stalk the chickens, but we’ve only shot one predator in the hen house in two years, so it’s not really that common here. Down the road I have a friend that works for my wife. They have livestock – a few cattle, pigs, and other food animals and yes, they routinely have to go out in the woods late at night and try to thin down the numbers of coyotes that threaten their livelihood.

So let’s agree that even in modern society there is a certain level of “need” when it comes to firearm ownership, and again that pesky old constitution that people keep fighting about that says we have the right to own them.

But none of that has to do with concealed carry, so let’s move on to pistols and the desire to conceal and it’s affect if it were nationalized.

Do I think we need nationally recognized concealed carry? No.
Do I think that every state should have a program by where it’s citizens can have that right, felony convictions notwithstanding? Yes.

So why not nationalize it?

It’s really simple. Most of you have a total misunderstanding of what a concealed carry permit means. You’re under the impression that it means you can go to a gun store and purchase a pistol, put it in your waistband, and go about your merry way.
That is possibly the most ignorant understanding of what concealed carry permits do and probably explains why many of you are in favor of nationalized concealed carry – because you don’t really understand concealed carry.

The laws surrounding concealed carry vary from state to state and sometimes from one municipality to another. The penalties for certain kinds of crimes you vary from state to state. The times and reasons you can and can’t use a firearm for self-defense vary from state to state. The conditions surrounding who you can use a firearm against vary from state to state.

Here are a few examples you probably don’t know the answer to:

If a bail bondsman (think bounty hunter) comes to your home, a home you own with someone else, and the bondsman kicks in your door to apprehend that person at 3 in the morning, after properly announcing himself, can you shoot?

It depends on your state. In some states, they can’t come in at all without permission. In other states they CAN kick in your door and drag someone out, but only if that person is an owner of the property. In other places, they can basically go wherever needed within reason to apprehend suspects guilty of certain crimes as long as they announce themselves. If you pulled a firearm on a bondsman in your home, and shot him, not only could you be sentenced to jail for murder, but he can also (and probably would) return fire and kill or incapicate you instead and YOU would be the criminal.

Do you know the laws regarding bondsmen in your state? You would if you took a concealed carry course for your state.

Your daughter is playing in her room with another child, one whom you KNOW is abused at home. Further, you know the parent has been brought up on charges of child abuse before but hasn’t been convicted. The child has come to your home because they were scared and they’ve been playing with your children after school. It’s five in the afternoon. The irate parent comes to your door demanding that you bring their child outside or they’re coming inside to get them. When you say “no” and close the door – they start to kick the door in. What are your legal options? Can you shoot someone breaking into your home if their dependent is in your home?

It depends on your state. In North Carolina, there is absolutely no legal manner for you to keep a parent from a child whatsoever. If you tried to forcefully keep a parent from their son or daughter, they could quite legally drive a truck through your front door if no other method was possible to gain entry, jump out like a psycho from Mad Max, shoot your dog in the process for attacking them, proceed to the bedroom and “rescue” their child. Anything you do to get in the way changes your role to criminal in this scenario, and the use of deadly force can be granted to the other person.

Would that ever happen? Who knows, but if you had taken the concealed carry course, you would know the ramifications of simple decisions like that and might have counseled your children as to whom can and can not come over without talking to you first.

You see a mugger smash a lady in the side of the head with something. You’re not sure what it was. While you stand there startled for one second, they reach down and grab her purse, and run off across the parking lot. Can you use deadly force to stop the fleeing criminal? Do you have a right to detain them until police arrive? How much force can you use? Are you allowed to pull a gun to do it?

Like everything mentioned above – it depends on your state.

Are you getting the picture yet?

A huge overwhelming majority of the entire reason for states to require a class before issuing a concealed carry permit is because not only is a person with a CCH permit more likely to purchase firearms than someone without, but they are also more likely to use one. The states therefore require certain levels of legal education with respect to when you can and can’t shoot, what you can and can’t carry, where you can and can’t carry, when you can and can’t carry, and the fines and penalties if you break these laws. The class really shouldn’t be called  a concealed carry class. It should be more accurately titled – Legal Rights and Responsibilities of carrying and discharging a firearm.

What might be a Class 2 misdemeanor in North Carolina, requiring 1-10 days of probation could be a felony in Kansas. You can’t federalie the right to carry effectively and fairly without also federalizing criminality in all 50 states under a common set of laws. First and foremost our country is designed for states to have their own rights determined by the governing body of that state whenever possible.

The commonwealth of Virginia has a law commonly referred to as “restaurant carry.” In Virginia it is perfectly legal to conceal a firearm in a restaurant or a bar, as long as you’re not consuming alcohol yourself. In North Carolina that was legal… in 1975. Then it was illegal for about twenty years. As of October 31, 2013 it’s legal again in NC.

In NC, you had a duty to retreat or attempt to retreat from a situation before you resorted to killing another human being to end a confrontation, even if that was occuring in your own house. As of 2013 that law was changed. If someone breaks into your home or is attempting to break into your home, you can shoot first. No one will ask questions later – the new changes to laws presumes an imminent fear of death or great bodily harm if someone is trying to get into your home or is already inside that shouldn’t be there.

What if it’s 3 in the morning and the doors were locked? Seems clear-cut right?

How about if it was 3 in the afternoon on a bright sunny day and you had the front door open? Does that change the law? Do you know for sure?

You really should know that kind of information BEFORE it becomes an imperative that affects the rest of your life. Further, you are required to know the information for the state you’re in, not the state you’re license was issued in. What I can do in North Carolina might not work in the District of Columbia. Even more important to know is that what you can do in North Carolina last year, you might not can do this year. Do you make it a  habit to know every state’s laws?  Don’t worry. I know the answer. You don’t.

I teach it for a living and even I have a hard time keeping the reciprocity and restaurant-carry laws straight when I travel. I find myself resorting to index cards I keep in the truck so I can be sure what laws to follow depending on what state I’m in that week.

I firmly support the concept that everyone should have the right to carry and own firearms. I just also realize that unless we want to let Washington DC politicians overrule individual state’s rights when it comes to where people can carry, when they can carry, and what they can carry, then the matter should best be left to the states to decide for themselves.




3 thoughts on “Why national concealed carry reciprocity would not work and shouldn’t be tried.

  1. It seems you are confusing Constitutional Carry with a nationwide permit or reciprocity. They are not the same thing. Most of us don’t travel between more than a few states in a given period.

    As for the perceived dangers of permitless, i.e. Constitutional Carry, I note the absence of blood in the streets of Phoenix and Tucson.

  2. Do you know how irritating it is to keep getting notified that someone has replied to my comment here but I don’t even SEE my comment??

    • That’s a stupid Facebook glitch that’s been going on for YEARS and they still won’t fix it. It’s something in their API.
      The trick is to just reload the page itself – the article, not the crazy long facebook link you clicked on in order to get here.
      Then you’ll see the FB comment after your previous FB comment.

      Notice that when you click one of those links, NONE of the FB comments appear, yet if you reload just the page itself, they all work fine. Stupid issue that’s been going on since at least 2012.

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