July 23 2009

States' Rights or Civil Rights?

Hadley Heath

Wednesday the Senate voted down an amendment to the annual defense authorization bill that would have allowed gun owners with valid permits from one state to carry their concealed weapons in other states. 

Some opponents of the bill pointed to states' rights, arguing that the provision would overrule states with more stringent gun control statutes by forcing them to allow the carriage of guns from other states with more lax laws. 

I'm a big believer in states' rights, don't get me wrong.  But that doesn't mean that states should be able to violate our fundamental liberties as guaranteed by the Bill of Rights.  Senator John Thune was right to be disappointed after this morning's close vote:

"Today, overheated rhetoric and fear mongering overcame common sense," he said. "My amendment would allow responsible firearms owners to protect themselves while obeying the firearms laws of the states they visit. The individual right to self-defense should not end at the state line."
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