It can be easy to get down as a gun owner.
There is no shortage of outlets decrying the Second Amendment and those who hold civil rights dear. And in a couple corners of the map, some distasteful state-level legislation has been passed. But these should not be enough to bring the Eyeore out in firearms enthusiasts.
In fact, overall, gun owners should be heartened with recent times. On a number of fronts gun owers are winning, legally and culturally. The above GIF documents one such battle gun owners have been wildly victorious.
What it documents is the steady march of the right to carry — literally the “right to bear arms” — in America. As recently as 25 years ago, concealed and open carry were civil rights only a few citizens could fully exercise. But now it is a liberty that has and is being affirmed and reaffirmed coast to coast.
Dave Kopel perhaps detailed it best in a recent post at the Volk Conspiracy. The law professor at the University of Denver and Second Amendment advocate points out that in 1986 only 10 percent of Americans lived in states where “there were objective and fair procedures for the issuance of concealed handgun carry permits.” That trend has been completely reversed, now with 2/3rds of Americans living in “Shall Issue” states.
And, as Kopel reported in another post, the right to carry continues to move forward:
The Ninth Circuit’s decision in Peruta v. San Diego, released minutes ago [February 13, 2014], affirms the right of law-abiding citizens to carry handguns for lawful protection in public.
California law has a process for applying for a permit to carry a handgun for protection in public, with requirements for safety training, a background check, and so on. These requirements were not challenged. The statute also requires that the applicant have “good cause,” which was interpreted by San Diego County to mean that the applicant is faced with current specific threats. (Not all California counties have this narrow interpretation.) The Ninth Circuit, in a 2-1 opinion written by Judge O’Scannlain, ruled that Peruta was entitled to Summary Judgement, because the “good cause” provision violates the Second Amendment.
The Court ruled that a government may specify what mode of carrying to allow (open or concealed), but a government may not make it impossible for the vast majority of Californians to exercise their Second Amendment right to bear arms.
Subjective and arbitrary statutes that stand in the way of bearing arms are quickly and rightfully going the way of poll taxes and literacy tests. But it’s not just in the realm of law gun ownership and carry rights have enjoyed success. There has been a shift on a societal level, as well.
Detroit Police Chief James Craig advocates an armed citizenry as a crime deterrent for his city — a metropolis that is among the nation’s most dangerous. Gunownership is at its highest level in more than 20 years and has seen across-the-board increases in every demographic. And even those who were dubious about what full-realized Second Amendment rights would mean to the country have changed their tunes.
Columnist Michael Barone admits, he believed liberalized carry laws would lead to blood in the streets when they began being passed in 1987. But far from shootouts erupting from every minor traffic altercation — a favorite scenario conjectured by those who opposed carry laws — something quite different occurred.
In a recent column, Barone points out citizens fully exercising their Second Amendment rights have not elicited blood lust. In fact, expanded ownership and recognition of civil rights have correlated with of a precipitous drop in the nation’s violent crime rate. He believes a couple things can be gleaned from this:
One lesson, I think, is that responsible citizens tend to behave like responsible citizens, even if — or perhaps especially if — they’re armed. Another lesson is that the national political dialogue can be totally irrelevant to what really happens in American life.
Certainly, there are worrisome fights for the Second Amendment rights (such as this and this). But there are also skirmishes in the fight of which gun owners should be pleased. We have made important and lasting changes to our country with carry rights and will continue to do so on other fronts.