Could a federal mandate eventually empower Congress to meddle with state concealed-carry laws? For example, could Congress declare that only may-issue laws are acceptable? Frazer replied:
The proposed reciprocity provision would be part of the Gun Control Act, which limits the attorney general to prescribing regulations that are “necessary” to carrying out the requirements of the law. Imposing requirements on carry permits not only wouldn’t be “necessary,” it would be contrary to the plain language of the reciprocity statute.
Frazer added that under the proposed law:
A Texas concealed handgun licensee could carry in California because California has a permit law on the books. H.R. 822 doesn’t require the “host” state to be shall-issue and doesn’t give the federal government any say-so on that.
In his congressional testimony last year, law professor and Second Amendment scholar David Kopel noted:
H.R. 822 is consistent with the letter and the spirit of the 10th Amendment, and of principles of federalism. The very reason that the 14th Amendment was added to the Constitution by the People was to adjust the state/federal balance, granting Congress the direct power to act against state infringements of important federal rights, such as the right to bear arms and the right to travel.
In an interview, Kopel noted how politicians have tried restricting the Second Amendment without amending pro-rights bills like H.R. 822. He cited Senator Lautenberg’s attempt to outlaw shall-issue carry laws, and others’ attempts to impose federal licensing and registration.
Kopel’s one caveat:
It’s not impossible that federal licensing and registration could be layered on top of interstate reciprocity, but that would only apply to people who wished to use their permits interstate, and only between states without reciprocity agreements.
To avoid such traps, NRA-ILA’s Frazer said:
The way to prevent any of that is for gun owners to be politically active and prevent the election of anti-gun majorities that could take those actions.
While the GOP’s Second Amendment language sounds promising, history should serve to remind that promises are not facts. The GOP platform also states:
The massive federal government is structurally and financially broken. For decades it has been pushed beyond its core functions, increasing spending to unsustainable levels.
During his first six years, George W. Bush had a GOP Congress. The federal budget grew 48% and produced a $1.4 trillion deficit. According to GOP rhetoric, government should have shrunk after 2001. Instead, spending grew from 6% to 8% annually.