The ABA is opposing two federal bills that would require states to allow individuals to carry concealed weapons within their borders if they have permits to carry concealed weapons in another state.
The bills pending in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives mandate national reciprocity for concealed carry permits issued under state law. ABA President Linda A. Klein calls the legislation “a dangerous proposal” that would tie states’ hands in setting concealed-carry standards.
All states allow some form of concealed carry, but standards vary, Klein said. The reciprocity requirement “offends deeply rooted principles of federalism where public safety is traditionally the concern of state and local government,” Klein says in the letters (PDFs) here and here.
If the proposal were to become law, “a state’s ability to consider safety factors—such as age, evidence of dangerousness, live firearm training, or criminal records—would give way to other states’ less stringent requirements,” Klein said. “Unlike some efforts of Congress to create minimum safety standards, this bill could lead to no safety standards as more states enact laws to allow persons to carry concealed firearms without a permit.”It's hard not read something like this and feel that the American Bar Association is just some sort of liberal organization in which being a lawyer is just a prerequisite. That the ABA has a position on a firearms related topic at all is hard to fathom. Predictably, when they have one, its on the left side of the political isle.
The bills are H.R. 38, “Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017,” and S.446, “Constitutional Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017.” Klein sent the letters to leaders of the Senate Judiciary Committee and the House Subcommitee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security and Investigations.
Now, I'm not really commenting on this bill at all, and I'll note that there are people on the right side of that isle who are opposed to this bill as they view it as trampling on the rights of state's. And no matter which way you feel about it, there's something to that view, just as there's something to the view in favor of the bill. But the ABA?
Come on ABA, if you really cared about "a state’s ability to consider safety factors" you'd come out condemning that farce called the Uniform Bar Exam which Wyoming, and a host of other state, have adopted.
Wyoming has lost 25,000 workers over the past few years and quite frankly some of them are lawyers. Up here in the state we see out of state lawyers, licensed under the UBE, all the time. The UBE is based on the absurd fiction that the law in one state is just like that of another, and we're seeing that up here, with lawyers from big cities in neighboring states who can't see their way around to Wyoming's law in some instances. That's not good for the state and its not good for the residents of the state either. The ABA, with its expressed concern for Federalism and the rights of states, ought to now condemn the UBE.
I won't hold my breath.
On the topic of concealment, by the way, I've become increasingly surprised by how many lawyers carry concealed pistols, and indeed I've become surprised by how many people in general do. I'd have thought it fairly rare, but it isn't. It's actually quite common, at least around here. Firearms in general are so common in Wyoming that a common jesting bumper sticker states "Welcome To Wyoming--Consider Everyone Armed", but it isn't really that much of a joke. Lots of people carry all the time, including a lot of lawyers, I've learned. The stereotypes about packing heat are, quite frankly, way off the mark. Professionals carry pretty commonly, I've come to learn. And quite a few women do. Quite a few younger people regard this as highly routine. Indeed, most of the people I've come to learn carry concealed weapons are such a surprise to me that it actually gives me comfort about the arguments in favor of it, as they're such responsible people.
None of which gets to the actual law proposed above, which again you can argue either way.
Which takes me to another thing that surprised me. Lawyers are generally more left leaning that other people but reading the reactions to this ABA stand by members of the ABA gives me some hope that lawyers themselves are less lock step than the ABA might suppose.
I've been unhappy with the ABA for some time, which seems to some degree to be attempting to occupy space that would otherwise be taken up by the ACLU, which itself seems to have forgotten its original purpose to me. And its obsession with "Big Law" is over the top, in my view. At any rate, ABA members, including ones who don't have any interest in firearms, have been published in reaction to this with some pretty negative comments. A lot of ABA members feel that the ABA is way out of touch with its purpose. And I'll note that the UBE connection stated above, while I thought was likely unique to me, isn't. I saw at least one other comment to the same effect.
A common statement by lawyers, both current and former members of the ABA, is that they've had enough of the ABA and that they have, or are, dropping out. That includes me. When the ABA goes back to a hard concentration on actual law rather than wasting its time with matters that are social and political policy, I'll reconsider.