While the Obama-led federal government appears indifferent, if not averse, to the Constitution, various state governments across the country are embracing the founding document anew.
We’ve seen this via the 10th Amendment movement and the state-led opposition to Obamacare. And recently, Arizona’s Republican Governor Jan Brewer has shown another way back to the Constitution by signing a law which views the 2nd Amendment’s constitutional right to keep and bear arms as a concealed-carry permit within the borders of her state.
While Obama treats the Constitution as a body of negative rights which justify federal expansion and intrusion into our lives, Arizona has just passed a law based on the premise Ted Nugent once expressed when he said: “The 2nd Amendment is my conceal-carry permit.”
This new law allows Arizonans who are at least 21 years old and who have no felonies on their record to carry a concealed handgun on their person without a permit.
Since 1994, Arizonans who wanted to carry a concealed handgun had to apply for a state-issued permit and pass “a one-day course which [covered] everything from when state law allows the use of deadly force to proving the ability to handle and fire [a] gun.” But Brewer realized this approach was nonsensical because Arizonans have always been able carry a gun that is not concealed without any type of permit process whatsoever.
Simply put, Brewer had the common sense to ask why people who carry guns in a holster that’s visible are allowed to do so without regulation while those who carry a gun that’s hidden under a sports coat have to get the government’s permission first? Brewer’s spokesman, Paul Senseman, said: “If you carry a weapon and it’s exposed, it’s totally legal, [but] if your T-shirt hangs over it, [or] you’ve got a coat over the top of it, you’re carrying it illegally.”
And the clear language of the 2nd Amendment certainly stands in Brewer’s favor: “A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”
Thus, upon signing the legislation on April 16, Brewer made clear her conviction that the 2nd Amendment is, in and of itself, a sufficient conceal-carry permit. She said that the new law revives overlooked liberties: “This legislation not only protects the Second Amendment rights of Arizona citizens, but restores those rights as well.”
The usual anti-gun rhetoric has been spewed about how this law is only going to make Arizona a more dangerous state. John Thomas, lobbyist for the Arizona Association of Chiefs of Police, spoke against the legislation before it became law, saying: “[It] will take Arizona back to the Wild West… with no consideration of officer safety.”
Does Thomas really think criminals have been waiting for this law to be passed so they can now carry weapons to do things like rob people and shoot at police officers?
On the contrary, this law was needed because criminals will carry guns regardless of what the rules are, while law-abiding citizens will go to work or the gas station or a restaurant unarmed, in order to keep from violating the law. Such a scenario clearly gives the advantage to the criminal.
The legislation Brewer signed changes that. Now the criminal in Arizona intent on robbing law-abiding citizens while they pump gasoline into their cars or walk out of Wal-Mart could very well come away from the exchange with a 10mm round in the chest instead of the victim’s wallet in hand. And the criminal won’t even see it coming because Arizonans are under no obligation to carry the gun in a way that makes it visible to the naked eye.
Ironically, the passage of this legislation coincided with the anniversary of the shootings on the Virginia Tech campus back in 2007. And this was not lost on Arizona state Sen. Russell Pearce (R-Mesa) who recently stated his firm belief that many of the students killed at Virginia Tech may have been saved if not for “government restrictions” that went against the 2nd Amendment and therefore reduced the students’ ability to defend themselves.
While the Tea Parties, the 10th Amendment movement, and the fight against Obamacare march on, it’s great to see how Brewer and Arizona’s legislators have taken a firm stand on what many believe to be the most important amendment of all: for it’s the only amendment which our Founders posited as “being necessary to the security of a free state.”
Perhaps other governors will follow Brewer’s lead, so that one day soon more of us will be able to say: “The 2nd Amendment is my conceal carry permit.”