National Reciprocity, NFA Restrictions and being a Well-Rounded Gun Owner

March 17, 2014 in I.C.E. Announcements, I.C.E. Training in the Media

I’m now about 3 weeks into my campaign to generate Write-In Support to qualify for the Election of the 76th Seat on the NRA Board of Directors. If you’re just hearing the news, check out This Article to learn more of the details. The 76th Seat is a unique One Year Position on the BoD which is assigned based on a special election which takes place at the NRA Annual Meeting & Convention. Any attending eligible NRA Member can participate in this process. In order to get on the ballot, I must demonstrate support from the NRA Membership by generating Write-In Votes in the general Board of Directors Election process. If you are a voting member and you haven’t sent in your ballot, please consider writing in “Rob Pincus, Bexley, Ohio” as one of your twenty five votes. If you don’t have a ballot and need to get one, there is still time, learn how HERE… you have until April 6th to get the ballot in to the NRA. The NRAAM will be in Indianapolis over the last weekend in April.

Naturally, some people have become aware of this campaign and asked me to state and/or clarify my position on a number of topics related to the Right to Keep and Bear Arms and issues that are currently being addressed (or may be addressed in the future) by the National Rifle Association. Some of them are very aware of my work and asking for more detail, others may never have heard of me before and simply want to know where I stand. Last week, I posted an article covering my thoughts on Open Carry, Constitutional Carry and Mandatory Firearms Training. This week, I’m going to address a few more things:

 

National Reciprocity

Somewhere back around 2000, while I was still a police officer in Virginia, I found myself invited to join a delegation that was going to meet with some congressmen to show support for both House and Senate bills in favor of National Reciprocity for Concealed Carry and National Carry for Police Officers. At the time, I had been a life member of the Law Enforcement Alliance of America for a few years and had been relatively active with the organization. The LEAA is a staunch supporter of Pro Civilian Self -Defense laws and was working with the NRA-ILA to promote National Reciprocity at all levels. Honestly, this was the first time that I really saw such a thing as a possibility. Even in the midst of the “Assault Weapons Ban”, there was much support for this idea at the national and local level than I had previously known of. We had a great visit to Capitol Hill and had many positive interactions. Yet, almost 15 years later we still do not have National Reciprocity. Of course, National Carry for Law Enforcement (including retired) has become a reality and has been a huge success. I am 100% in favor of National Reciprocity for those who can legally carry firearms for defense in their home state. There is no logical reason for restricting this right on a state by state basis.
When discussing this issue, I often use the example of my annual time in New England. For about 5 or 6 years now, I’ve taught classes in both NH and MA. You can hardly find two more different states. I often stay at a hotel in New Hampshire, where I can legally carry a gun for personal defense, even when I teach at a range in MA, close to the border. What this means is that, if I were to have a flat tire while driving to or from the range, there is a specific spot where I could literally have one set of tires in a position where I can legally have a pistol, rifle or shotgun loaded and on my person in case I needed them and the other set of tires in a position where an empty brass case in my pocket could get me up to a year in jail! This is ludicrous.
Of course, there are challenges to implementing National Reciprocity. The most significant of which is the specter of Nationally Mandated Training Standards, which I definitely oppose. Today, we have a patchwork of laws which allow people to sometimes carry and sometimes not. Some states allow non-resident permits, some do not. Some states honor some permits from other states, but not all. As someone who spends about 300 days a year traveling, the challenge of knowing where you can carry and where you can’t is significant. Underlying my support for National Reciprocity is the fact that I support Constitutional Carry, which ultimately would mean that the concept of Carry Permits and Reciprocity for those permits should be a non-issue.
While most people are not affected by this issue (because they live and work in the same state and rarely travel), I encourage all people interested in the gun rights to support efforts to pass unrestricted and un-compromised National Reciprocity. It is a fundamental rights issue and it would prevent politically active anti-gun minorities in “liberal leaning” states from wielding more power than they should. Another thing to consider: I often tell people who don’t have CCW Permits yet that they should get one anyway… the fact is that you never know when you are going to want to have it and you can’t just walk in an get it on that day. The same goes for National Reciprocity… you never know when life may throw you a curve ball that puts you in a state you never thought you’d visit wishing you had the right to meet your responsibility for personal defense.

 

National Firearms Act (NFA) Restrictions

There is no better example of the Slippery Slope Principle in the world of the Right to Keep & Bear Arms than those incorporated into the National Firearms Act, Gun Control Act and the Firearms Owners Protection Act. These sets of restrictions, enacted in 1934, 1968 and 1986, are exactly the types of “reasonable restrictions” that we often hear about many gun owners being okay with. I am 100% against treating the ownership of  Fully Automatic Firearms, any other “special category” of firearm or suppressors as different from owning any other firearm. We must be careful, however, about asking for the wholesale eradication of specific laws or sections of law when we lobby for improving the state of gun rights in the United States. Mixed in with the most commonly thought of negative aspects of the aforementioned Acts (restrictions on machine guns, suppressors, short barrel rifles/shotguns, mail order guns and the private ownership of any fully automatic firearm manufactured after 1986) are things like the “safe passage” guarantee, limited interstate long gun sales and legal shipment of ammunition. The entire structure of the FFL System and basis for our system of Background Checks are also included in this set of laws. The idea that we could just wipe them all away and be left with nothing is naive. I do believe that we can work to relax and (eventually) remove NFA Restrictions. One significant area of progress is the legalization of hunting with suppressors which should make their advantages for safe and comfortable shooting more and more apparent as well as provide higher profile evidence that legally owned suppressors pose no credible threat of increased crime or violence and the basis of the NFA Restrictions is unfounded.
As I stated at the beginning of this section, one of the biggest obstacles we have in this area is the surprisingly large number of gun owners who would say that they think it is reasonable to restrict ownership of machine guns or any other class of firearm. It is too easy to get from that to the point where we have nothing left but bolt action .22s and double barreled shotguns. Don’t fall for it.

 

Being a Well-Rounded Gun Owner and Working Together

Just as much as those in the past who would have only been interested in defending the “sporting use” of firearms or citing the “firearms traditions” of the United States as the primary reason to defend gun rights, we need to be careful of the growing segment of the community that has no regard for the pleasurable and traditional aspects of shooting and hunting. I am always very quick to point out that I believe that primary reason for valuing the right to own firearms should be the defense of yourself or others (including Defense of Country). That said, there is no reason to disparage sport shooting or those who would say that they choose to own firearms only for hunting or competition. I got my first Hunting License at the age of 11 and hunt just about every year… but, I do it primarily as a social activity. Don’t get me wrong, I love having a freezer full of venison or frying up some freshly harvested dove breasts… but, I enjoy the time in the woods with friends and family a lot more than not shopping. As for competition shooting, I spent many years competing in clay sports and action shooting… but, it isn’t something I do more than a couple of times a year nowadays. I don’t have the time necessary to really be competitive, but it can be a ton of fun if you don’t take it too seriously. One of the best times I had involving firearms last year was at the Shooting Industry Masters as part of the Crossbreed Holsters team. In fact, I had so much fun that I.C.E. Training Company is a sponsor of the SIM this year. Over the years, I think I’ve tried just about every aspect of shooting competition available… I even did a season of Cowboy Action Shooting as “No Hat Rob” about a decade ago!
Just as much as I wouldn’t want the stereotypical hunter or trap shooter to undermine the legitimacy of a responsible firearms owner picking out his 18th AR-15 type rifle, I don’t want someone with a kryptek drop-leg holster and a Tavor bashing a 13 year old 3-gunner for sticking a gun beyond a barricade in a Youtube Video from a competition event. You can find a lot of evidence of me bashing the Competition-instead-of-Training mindset that sometimes creeps into Defensive Shooting World… but, I’ve always tried to be very careful to not bash those who play games with guns for fun and certainly always shown the utmost respect to those whose firearms passion revolves around hunting activities. As addressed in my previous position statement article, I have also been clear that just because someone says that they are fighting for our gun rights doesn’t mean that I will universally support their actions if I believe that they will do more harm than good to our cause.
Some of you who have been following my work for a long time may remember a project that I started back in 1999, a pretty dark time in regard to our RKBA Fight, The Firearms Owners Unification Project. The project died on the vine… we never got to place our full page advertisement in a national paper… but, we did get a lot of people thinking about the importance of working together. The centerpiece of FOUP was a direct statement of unity aimed at those who would try to pick apart our rights by Dividing and Conquering and/or Slipper Slope Methods:
“The time for division has ended. If your goal is to take our guns away, please face us as a group, in the legislative halls and courtrooms of this country. Be open and honest about your intention to deprive American Citizens of a constitutional right, an American Tradition, a recreational activity, our private property and a means of protecting ourselves and our families. We are ready to unite to defend all of those things.”

I first wrote those words 15+ years ago…  I still believe them today. Regardless of our personal preferred firearms types, activities or passions, we need to be united in regard to the responsible assertion of our Second Amendment Rights. In todays world, this also means not abandoning those gun owners who happen to live in more restrictive states who are currently fighting battles that aren’t always part of the national conversation. Allowing those restrictions to move forward and choosing to not to be active in those states contributes to the Slippery Slope.

NRA_ballotSupporting the Campaign

Since I made my announcement, I’ve been humbled by the generous and enthusiastic statements of support from all around the firearms industry and training community. In addition to the many hundreds of tweets, comments, posts and emails I’ve received directly, I’ve been privileged to receive a great deal of high profile support as well. Endorsements from Mark Walters, Michael Bane, Brad Thor, Ted Nugent, Massad Ayoob, Grant Cunningham, Paul Carlson,  Marty Hayes, Monderno, Loose Rounds, Guns Save Lives, Ordnance Corner, Not-Right-Shooters, 812 Guns, Only Guns & Money, Talking Lead and too many others to mention have been both flattering and exciting to receive.  There are also a number of active threads about my run going on at a variety of Firearms Discussion Forums where a great deal of support is being expressed. If you want to join those supporting my campaign, there’s still plenty of time to spread the word, cast a vote and/or make plans to join us in Indianapolis in late April. If nothing else, adding your support in a comment here would be greatly appreciated as well!

Thanks to you all!

-Rob Pincus
-I.C.E. Training Company