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  • Robert Farago

You Don't Need a Permit to Carry A Gun

Unless you do

South Carolina is about to join 27 states where residents can carry a firearm without a permit. No background check, mandatory training, shooting test or fee of any kind, sort or description.

Supporters call this legal framework “Constitutional Carry.”

They contend that the Second Amendment’s mandate that “the right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed” means what it says.

That requiring a government “permission slip” to carry a firearm makes carrying gun a “privilege” rather than a “right.”

After all, you don’t need a background check, mandatory training or a test to exercise any of your other Constitutionally-protected rights (e.g., freedom of speech or peaceful assembly).

Change the colors of the map above – put non-permit carry states in red and permit-required states in blue.

And there you have it: the “two Americas.” The Democrat/Republican divide.

No coincidence that.

The Republican Party represents constituents’ belief in limited government and individual freedom.

The Democratic Party reflects its constituency’s belief in government regulation/intervention and collective responsibility.

Safety First! Or Not

The arguments for and against Constitutional Carry rarely touch on this philosophical divide. They usually center on public safety.

Gun control advocates believe the inarguable damage caused by widespread gun ownership gives government both the right and the obligation to restrict firearms ownership to protect its citizens from violence involving firearms.

Gun rights advocates believe that the inarguable damage caused by widespread gun ownership does not justify government infringement on their individual liberty.

Government balancing citizens’ rights against public safety? According to gun rights advocates, that’s not how inalienable rights are supposed to work.

Imagine the federal government banning Americans from gathering to worship during an epidemic. Or secretly coercing the media to censor government critics.

Can I Be Franklin With You?

The oft-cited Benjamin Franklin quote sums it up perfectly:

Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.

OK, not perfectly.

Gun control advocates don’t see carrying a gun as an “essential liberty.” They see gun control as permanent safety. They assert that they have a “right” to be safe from gun violence.

Many base this belief on the Declaration of Independence’s claim to “unalienable Rights, including Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Yes, well, the Declaration of Independence is not a legal document.

Americans don’t have a legal right to happiness, nor do the police have a legal responsibility to protect you.

But citizens do have a legally enshrined incorporated right to keep and bear arms. At least in theory.

Barely an Inconvenience

The overlooked key to the Second Amendment: you do not have the right to shoot a firearm anytime, anywhere, for any reason.

There are plenty of laws about that. Local, state and federal. All of them are Constitutional.

Want to set up a gun range in a city backyard? That ain’t happening.

Want to shoot-up a school, perforate a door-to-door salesman or launch lead against someone who doesn’t pose an imminent, credible threat of grievous bodily harm or death? Nope.

An Ounce of Prevention is… Unconstitutional

Gun control laws are based on preventing citizens from doing something illegal – even if there’s no specific evidence that a specific citizen has any desire to do so.

Gun control advocates believe that the average America can’t be trusted with a gun.

A belief that’s void in states where residents’ gun rights – including the “and bear” bit of the Second Amendment - are protected from government infringement.

A list that will soon include The Palmetto State.

To those who lament that fact, I refer you to Thomas Jefferson’s letter to to John Cartwright, dated June 5, 1824:

The Constitution of most of our states (and of the United States) assert that all power is inherent in the people; that they may exercise it by themselves; that it is their right and duty to be at all times armed.

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