New Hampshire last week joined 10 other states to make it legal for anyone, without a permit or a background check, to carry a concealed weapon.
Another 16 states are considering legislation to do the same, reports the National Conference of State Legislatures and the National Rifle Association.
West Virginia, which borders the Commonwealth and is a short drive up U.S. 460 from Christiansburg, is one of the places where, now, just about anyone can slide a weapon of death into a concealed place on their body and pull it whenever they happen to be in the mood.
As a lifelong gun owner, former hunter and one who possess a legal permit to carry a concealed handgun, I find the practice of allowing anyone to do the same without training and investigation dangerous. I provided Virginia with documents that document my training in the use of firearms, and law enforcement investigated to make sure I had a record clear of felonies or any confinement in a prison or mental institution, before getting that permit.
Virginia used to require at least a minimal training course by a licensed firearms instructor. Military veterans could use a DD-214 (record of service and discharge). Now all that it takes is an online course and $50, along with the law enforcement background check, submitted to a Circuit Judge to approve.
Most law enforcement officials I talk with about gun rights say allowing anyone, without training, is going too far.
Not so, says the National Rifle Association, which claims to represent gun owners but, in reality, is an organization that primarily wants to sell more guns to more people without question for the manufacturers it serves.
Jennifer Baker a spokesman for the NRA’s Institute for Legal Action, says allowing anyone who wants to to carry a concealed weapon is “kind of the next step in expanding law-abiding gun owners’ constitutional right to self-protection. It’s where a lot of states are moving.”
Gun proponents say it takes a background check in most circumstances to purchase a handgun or long gun America but even that law minimal requirement does not apply in a private purchases or even many gun shows where the sellers are private.
Montana Gov Steve Bullock last week vetoed a bill to allow permitless carrying of concealed weapons.
“While I will fiercely defend the 2nd Amendment rights of our citizens, I cannot support an absurd concept that threatens the safety of our communities by not providing for the basic fundamentals of gun safety or mental health screening,” Bullock says.
South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard agrees. A lifetime member of the NRA, he vows to veto a allow permitless carry in his state, which also does not require a purchase a firearm.
Kentucky’s legislature is considering permitless carry, which could make it the second state bordering Virginia to allow the practice.
Remember, however, that while Virginia does require a permit to carry a concealed weapons, anyone can brandish one openly, including the guy who often struts up and down the parking lanes of the Walmart in Christiansburg with his AR-15 assault-style weapon on his shoulder.
He claims he is there to “protect the people.”
But who is there to protect “the people” from nutcases like him?