The National Rifle Association is rejoicing even though Donald Trump has not yet been inaugurated as the president of the United States. And the reason for their happiness is the probable elimination of gun-free zones and background checks.
Throughout his campaign, Trump promised to get rid of gun free zones and the NRA, which spent $30 million supporting Trump, is obviously thrilled at the prospect.
“This is our historic moment to go on offense and to defeat the forces that have aligned against our freedom once and for all,” NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre said following the election. “The individual right to carry a firearm in defense of our lives and our families does not and should not end at any state line.”
Among the gun lobby’s top priorities are eliminating gun free zones, even at schools, reducing background check requirements and ensuring concealed carry handgun permits from one state are recognized countrywide. (Currently, many permit holders must leave their weapons at home when traveling to other states which do not recognize concealed carry permits from elsewhere).
However, if they chose to carry out their agenda, the NRA and its Republican supporters might find themselves at crossroads with two of the GOP’s own beliefs: states’ choice and states’ rights.
It’s every state’s own right to decide who should be allowed a concealed carry permit based on varying requirements like the applicant’s criminal records, training and even age.
“It would be ironic to see conservatives who long have professed a belief in states’ rights override states’ choices in this area,” said Erwin Chemerinsky, dean of the University of California Irvine School of Law.
He also added Congress probably does not have the constitutional authority to recognize concealed carry permits from other states but it can coerce states in doing so by threatening to hold back homeland security and law enforcement funding.
Congress would also have to repeal the Gun-Free School Zones Act of 1996, which restricts carrying and bans discharge of gun within a thousand feet of a school.
However, even without the help of Congress, Trump can immediately overthrow President Barack Obama’s executive gun control actions. Case in point: Last year, Obama ordered sellers to conduct background checks even while selling firearms at gun shows or via the internet and told them failure to do so would be considered a crime.
Trump is also expected to face opposition from Democrats in states with strict gun control measures, including New York, California and Washington.
Many law enforcement agencies warn relaxing gun laws could lead to encountering more guns in tourist areas and during traffic tops. They also state it is very difficult to check whether people from other states are legally entitles to carry firearms because there is no nationwide database.
However, these issues are of little concern to the ardent supporters of the Second Amendment who are enthusiastically waiting for Trump to overturn all gun laws.