This article appeared on the Reasoned Politics blog today, and it gave me some points to ponder. I give my take on them in order:
1) "Shall Issue" concealed carry permits are here to stay.
This is certainly true, with more than 8 million permits active. Anti-gun rights people are nervous about people carrying in public, but the fact is, a lot of people are already doing it in most of the country, with the exception of blue coastal states. This is not going to change, and I do not think a Federal Statute prohibiting concealed carry would have a prayer of passing in Congress. And we're close to getting carry in some form included as part of the 2nd Amendment.
2) A reciprocity bill could be used to increase training requirements.
There is precedent for Federal law to set minimal standards for state issued licenses. See the Real ID law that is driving drivers license requirements. In general, I think that this could be a good thing overall. While keep and bear is a right, guns are deadly weapons and real safety laws (as opposed to fake "gun safety" laws pushed by the anti-gun rights groups) could be a net plus if done correctly. We would have to resist attempts to make training requirements so onerous as to eliminate the right.
3) A reciprocity bill would encourage more people to get permits - even if their state does not require them.
I think that this is definitely true. Look at all the people getting non-resident Florida and Utah permits to increase the states where they may carry.
4) Gun control advocates might be able to get some things they want - such as expanded background checks - in return for agreeing to national carry permit reciprocity.
Yes, indeed they could. I would be willing to exchange universal background checks for national reciprocity, depending on the details of the background checks bill. Attempting to require full background checks for loans of guns to family members, friends, or at shooting ranges, or any of the other shenanigans attempted by the anti-gun rights people would sink the deal. So would increasing the scope of prohibited persons, and the national introduction of "gun violence restraining orders". Universal background checks would be for permanent transfers ONLY!
This won't happen, of course. The gun-grabbers idea of compromise consists of limiting existing rights in some manner, and compromising by not limiting even further. After all, they have to leave something on the table to pass more feel-good legislation during a later election cycle.
Even more problematical would be the blue coastal states that severely restrict concealed carry today: New York, California, Maryland, and New Jersey. These states HATE the idea of people from other states carrying concealed weapons. In spite of 25 years of evidence, authorities in these states think that more guns on the street are dangerous. If a national reciprocity bill is passed by Congress, there will be intense pressure from these states for the President to veto the bill.
Anti-gun people have not ever really compromised on gun issues. It is not in their nature to negotiate in good faith on this issue, so we should not, unless there is no other way to advance the right. We must compel them to accept expanded gun rights, through Congress and the courts. We have done well in these venues so far, and the future looks promising.