‘Constitutional Carry’ part of the bigger ‘2A sanctuary movement’


When Kentucky became the 16th state to allow permitless carry of firearms — what generically is called “Constitutional Carry” by proponents — it joined ranks not only with other states that recognize the common sense approach of trusting armed citizens, but with a much broader and growing “Second Amendment sanctuary” movement.

Kentucky was the third state just this year to see Constitutional Carry signed into law. As noted by the National Rifle Association at the time, Kentucky joined Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Idaho, Kansas, Maine, Mississippi, Missouri, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Vermont, West Virginia and Wyoming.

What Kansas has in common with the two other states that returned to carry without a permit is that all the governors are Republicans. Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin had promised to sign the legislation and he kept his word, much to the angst of anti-gunners who would have had the public thinking the world was coming to an end.

Matt Bevin

Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin, seen here in a screen snip during a speech at the NRA convention, signed “constitutional carry” legislation.

States where Democrats are in the governor’s office are seeing a gun control push with increasingly restrictive laws. All this does is reinforce the notion that Democrats are the “party of gun control,” which dismisses the fact that there are some Democrats who are more strident about the Second Amendment than some of their GOP counterparts.

At the time of this writing, lawmakers in South Carolina were also considering “Constitutional Carry” legislation.

But carry without a permit or license is not the only phenomenon in progress. And therein lies a tale that just might take on epic proportions over the next few months.

Second Amendment Sanctuary

In the months since voters in Washington State passed gun control Initiative 1639, something remarkable has been happening, and it is spreading.

The initiative was largely bankrolled by about a dozen wealthy Seattle-area elitists, who got some help from billionaire Michael Bloomberg’s Everytown for Gun Safety political action fund. Rich anti-gunners have weaponized their wealth in an effort to essentially buy the right to keep and bear arms, say critics who cannot come anywhere close to matching the money that billionaires spend like pocket change.

Loren Culp

Republic Police Chief Loren Culp, who defied a new Washington State gun control law, has written a book about his experiences. (Photo courtesy Loren Culp)

The Evergreen State movement began with small town Police Chief Loren Culp in Republic, the county seat of rural Ferry County. But his action struck a nerve with county sheriffs in some 20 counties, and as this was being written, the seventh in a string of county commissions—this one in Pend Oreille County—that adopted resolutions (see inset) urging non-enforcement of I-1639. These county commissions and the sheriffs involved in this “resistance” believe parts of the initiative are unenforceable and unconstitutional.

Pend County letter

Pend Oreille County letter

Jump south and east to New Mexico, where according to KRQE News, 27 of the state’s 33 counties are “pushing back” against the gun control fever that has risen under Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham. She recently signed a so-called “universal background check” bill that ostensibly was written to keep guns out of the wrong hands. A majority of the state’s county sheriffs opposed the gun control law.

Good luck with that, say critics, who point to Washington and California as hotbeds of living proof that such background check requirements don’t work. Indeed, as recently pointed out by the Second Amendment Foundation and Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, using data from the Seattle Police Department, since 2014 when that state’s restrictive background check law was passed by initiative, the number of murders committed annually in the Jet City has climbed.

And It’s Spreading

Gun control, say critics, is like a cancer that is spreading across the landscape.

But the cure appears to be spreading as well, even in some unlikely places. As noted by the Wall Street Journal and The Trace, officials in more than 100 mainly rural counties across several states have announced they will not enforce state gun laws. That number includes more than 60 counties in Illinois, the last state in the country to adopt a concealed carry law, and only because the state was forced into it by federal lawsuits filed by SAF and NRA.

Demonstrating how serious Illinois lawmakers take this resistance movement, State Rep. Terra Costa Howard, a Democrat, introduced legislation to prohibit local governments “from passing any ordinance restricting enforcement of any state gun law,” IlNews reported.

Another nine of those counties are in Colorado, where some sheriffs have been resisting gun laws for a couple of years.

Which Side Is Right?

Illinois isn’t the only state with frustrated public officials. Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, who is not so preoccupied with running for the presidency that he’s set aside his anti-gun-rights attitude, and Attorney General Bob Ferguson, who hopes to succeed Inslee in the governor’s office, recently sent letters to the county sheriffs and the state’s 200-plus gun dealers.

Their “appeal” was more like a letter of coercion, insisting that lawmen enforce the I-1639 provisions, which they supported, and that gun dealers obey the law.

But their desperation doesn’t come close to the fanaticism of an unidentified woman whose texting during a hearing in Connecticut caused her to be thrown out of the room. An image of her text raced across the Internet and the message read: “If I had a gun, I’d blow away (State Sen. Rob) Sampson and a large group of NRA.”

Sampson, a Republican, serves on the state Senate Judiciary Committee and he is a supporter of gun rights.

The woman was reportedly questioned by police, who released her without charges.

On the other side of the argument there are certainly some gun rights activists who have acted boorishly, but suggesting that you would kill a state senator and members of a rights organization seems a bit over the top.

Run Some Numbers

Break out a pocket calculator and run a few numbers.

By some estimates there are more than 350 million guns in private ownership in the United States. Annually, guns are used in roughly 10,000 to 14,000 homicides, depending upon whose numbers you believe. The FBI Uniform Crime Report is on the low end and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are on the high side.

The CDC estimates on the number of people injured with firearms annually ranges anywhere from 31,000 to 236,000, according to a report at FiveThirtyEight.com. With a spread like that, any number should be approached with skepticism.

Given those numbers, it still amounts to a small fraction of all the guns in private hands that are ever involved in a crime or firearms injury.

In Arizona, one of the “Constitutional Carry” states, the Department of Public Safety keeps tabs on the number of concealed carry permits in circulation, even though people don’t need one. At last report, there were more than 341,000 active permits, while 4,475 had been suspended and 1,223 had been revoked. Again, those numbers in Arizona represent a fraction of permits held by legally-armed citizens.

Is The Fight Over?

With the “sanctuary” movement apparently spreading and “Constitutional Carry” slowly gaining popularity, does that mean victory is within sight?

Not hardly, because anti-gun fanatics continue to run for office and get elected by others who believe the Second Amendment should be repealed. Recently, a resolution was introduced in the Hawaii State Senate asking Congress to “consider and discuss whether the Second Amendment…should be repealed or amended to clarify that the right to bear arms is a collective, rather than individual, constitutional right.”

When state lawmakers are so rabidly anti-gun that they would entertain such a resolution, that’s a red flag warning that for more is necessary than just patience and education. Rights activists should be busy recruiting candidates to run for state and local offices, or even federal offices, to replace such people and bring the ship of state back on course.