While Democrats argued the concealed carry legislation would only add to gun violence, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., said the legislation is the best way "not to infringe on the rights of law-abiding citizens, but to enforce the laws against criminals."
"This bill is about the simple proposition that law-abiding Americans should be able to exercise their right to self defense, even when they cross out of their states' borders," he said last week. "That is their constitutional right."
But Democrats angrily opposed the bill, and said it makes no sense to consider legislation easing rules for gun owners after so many tragic shootings around the country. Rep. Elizabeth Esty, D-Conn., whose district includes Newtown, where 20 children were shot to death in 2012, called the bill an "outrage."
"This will should be called the Act to Carry Any Gun, Anywhere, Any Time, by Anyone," she said. "The Concealed Carry Reciprocity bill is an outrage and an insult to the families in Newtown and to the hundreds of families who have lost loved ones to gun violence who are gathered here today, at the Capitol, for the fifth annual vigil on gun violence."You might be confused by Esty's argument against the bill since it makes no sense: a "good guy with a gun" could have stopped the shooting spree at the Newton school, if the closest "good guy with a gun" hadn't been miles away. But that is exactly what the Democrats want to ensure is that there are no good guys with guns anyway near a crime scene. The Truth About Guns caught this argument from The Washington Post that succinctly sets out the liberal position: "‘Good guys with guns’ can be dangerous, too."
The Washington Post has a point:
- “A CBS4 Investigation has learned Arapahoe County Deputies and Colorado State Troopers poured more than 50 shots into a stationary car in March believing the driver was armed. It now turns out she was only armed with either a dustbuster or tire jack but emerged unscathed. However at least one deputy inadvertently shot up a marked state patrol unit during the unusual standoff.”
- Or who can forget this debacle from the Los Angeles Police Department: "Police Officers Who Shot at Two Innocent Women 103 Times Won't Be Fired." You might remember that incident; it is where the police confused two small Hispanic women for a large (over 6 feet tall) black male, not even getting the color of the vehicle correct.
- Or this: "NYPD: 9 shooting bystander victims hit by police gunfire."
- Or this: "Two California police officers accidentally shoot each other while trying to tackle a man with a knife, who was also shot in the fracas."
- Et cetera.
Nevertheless, we still allow police to carry and use firearms because we recognize the benefit of doing so outweighs the downsides to doing so. So, even if "bearing weapons" wasn't a right, the same logic applies to concealed weapons carriers.