Photo Credit: Joseph T. Lee, The Lantern & Shield Times LLC, Copyright © December 8, 2017. All rights reserved.

The House of Representatives just passed a bill that would require all states to recognize any state’s concealed carry permit. Democrats and the states they control are up in arms over this bill, which will now go to the Senate. Do they really have anything to worry about?

I’ve had a concealed carry permit for about ten years. I first got one when I was a resident of the state of Ohio. In addition to passing a strict background check, I had to complete a 12-hour training and pass a written and range test.

Prior to that, I hadn’t shot a gun for years. When I was young, I used to shoot at groundhogs with a 22 rifle that only held one round. For years, I had no interest in weapons. What changed that?

A pastor in Illinois, while leading a worship service, was approached by a man who shot the pastor dead. My deacon chairman told me he and another man were going to take training so they could protect me. A retired state policeman had recently taught me how to safely handle and shoot a handgun, so I told my deacon I wanted to take the training, too. About half the class was made up of people from my church.

Carry a weapon is a great responsibility. Among the rules taught in training classes is that you consider not only your target but what is beyond the target that you may hit by shooting. You also consider your target very carefully. You can legally shoot to save your life or that of someone else. (Keep in mind that various state laws vary. I’m not a lawyer and don’t you consider anything I’m writing to be legal advice.) You may also shoot to prevent severe harm. Rape is an example of severe harm.

I don’t carry a gun at all times, much to the dismay of some of my pro-gun friends. But I have maintained a license in each state I’ve lived in over the past 10 years.

Now, how does state recognition work? I currently have a Georgia Weapons Permit. Including my current state, I can carry in a total of 34 states. I also have nonresident permits from Utah and Florida, which enable me to carry in a total of 39 states.

Some states recognize all permits (Virginia, for example); others recognize all resident permits (Michigan, for example); and some recognize no other permits and discourage through cumbersome laws their own residents from getting a permit (Maryland, for example).

If this proposed law is passed by the Senate and signed by the President, then all states would be required to recognize all permits. Now each state would still have its own particular laws on carrying a gun.

This would be similar to the recognition of a driver’s license. My Georgia driver’s license permits me to legally drive in all 50 states. I don’t have to get different driver’s permits to drive in different states.

Now some of the anti-gun states are concerned about people from other states carrying guns in their states. But I want to tell my anti-gun friends in anti-gun states to not worry about me. I really don’t care to visit or spend my money in a place where people are hostile to me. When I was little my parents took me to the 1964 New York World’s Fair. We went to the Empire State Building and took in some other sites. I’ve been to New York City. I’ve done that. I have no desire to make a return visit, and I don’t want to spend my money on anything that I don’t have to from New York City. So, don’t worry about me.

But even if I’m visiting a place and not carrying a gun, I still feel a lot safer in places where people can carry. Criminals don’t know for sure who is carrying a weapon and who isn’t, so the thought that someone may be carrying will hinder them. If I were going to become a robber, I would go to a place where guns aren’t allowed. It would be a lot safer for me. There are statistics that show that places where people can own and carry guns have fewer murders. On the other hand, places, like Chicago, where carrying a weapon is illegal or discouraged, have higher murder rates.

Will this current bill pass? It’s an uphill battle. But if it does, if you’re anti-gun, don’t worry about me. I have no plans to go to Massachusetts, New York, Maryland, California or any other liberal place. I don’t want you to make money off me.

Ashton C. Smith, Copyright © December 8, 2017, The Lantern & Shield Times LLC.

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