Could America be on the brink of a restoration of true Second Amendment rights? Could even states like New York be covered by the article of the Bill of Rights that has been called the palladium of our liberty? Those are two questions in the wake of the election that has handed up Donald Trump as the next president of America and retained the Republicans in control of Congress. One of the major themes of Mr. Trump’s campaign was his call to make the Second Amendment great again.
No sooner had the race been won than one of the leading civil rights organizations in the country, the National Rifle Association, put out a call for Congress and Mr. Trump to pass National Right-to-Carry Reciprocity “as quickly as it can be written and signed.” That kind of legislation would be a step toward making a gun license usable across the country, much the way a driver license is, though the analogy isn’t exact. The New York Sun has long-since endorsed such a measure.
The call by the NRA comes in a video by its executive vice president, Wayne LaPierre, who also called for “an end to the absolute fallacy of gun-free zones” And for “protections that stop the tyrannical erosion of gun rights in states and cities where corrupt leaders use their political power to abuse the rights of American citizens.” He referenced “gun bans, ammo bans, magazine bans, exorbitant fees and taxes, and registration schemes” that undermine the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms.
National legislation is needed because some states and local jurisdictions — not to mention the courts — are still taking a crabbed view of gun rights, even after the Supreme Court’s decision in District of Columbia v. Heller. “The Court’s Heller decision recognized the right of Washington, D.C. citizens to own a firearm in their home for personal protection,” Mr. LaPierre says in the NRA video. “But eight years later, it is still almost impossible to legally buy a firearm in that city.”
No doubt such talk is going to horrify the Democratic Party in this country. The thing to remember is that national right-to-carry reciprocity is but a half-step to a true restoration of Second Amendment freedoms. Some of the versions of reciprocity legislation leave in place local-state restrictions. As we read some of the proposed laws, residents of a state like New York, where the Second Amendment has been blocked, could have fewer freedoms within New York than visiting tourists.
The New York Sun favors a more fundamental approach, known as constitutional carry, which brooks no infringement of the right of the people to keep and bear arms. The closest we have to this in America is the state of Vermont. The Green Mountain State has both the fewest restrictions on guns and, in some recent years, the lowest gun homicide rate in the country. All the more reason to take to heart the NRA’s statement that the time to get going on Second Amendment restoration will be January 20.