A national concealed carry law? Maybe not quite as awesome as it sounds.

Reports indicate that a national concealed carry law may be in the works as Senate Republicans work with the gay Republican group, GOProud, to rebrand concealed carry as a necessary defense for those who might be subject to hate crimes. The Washington Independent reports:

One month after successfully tucking an amendment into the credit card reform bill that expanded gun rights, a small number of Senate Republicans are looking at the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act as another chance to score a victory for the Second Amendment. The possible plan — to add an amendment that would allow gun owners to carry their weapons from one state to another in accordance with concealed carry laws. The possible rationale — to defend gay rights.

“It makes sense for a group of people who would be protected by hate crime legislation to support something that would let them defend themselves before or after the crime,” said one Republican Senate aid familiar with the discussions. “It’s relevant, and we want to work together with gay groups to get the message out.”

Regardless of the rationale used to pass such a bill, it does sound tempting.  And, according to the 14th Amendment, it’s constitutional: “No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States,” privileges and immunities which include the right to bear arms. However, it’s also worth considering how great an infringement this law would be on states’ rights: yes, this is a “good law,” but it would open up the door to ever more national legislation in areas which ought to be controlled by the states. And of course, as with anything along these lines, it is all too easy to expect far greater things of the government than is actually being provided, as arguably happened with the Heller decision in 2008.

I’m personally not sure where I stand on this sort of thing — this kind of law would be constitutional, albeit because of a post-Civil War amendment which is hardly pro-states’ rights, and on the face of it, at least, it would guard individual rights against abuses by the states. In practice, however, this law would be more likely to create a tangled web of permits and bureaucracy which would do little for gun rights and much for the expansion of the power of the national government at federalism’s expense. So maybe…don’t get too excited yet.

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