If Federal Gun Laws are Unconstitutional, Why Support CCW Reciprocity Bill?

By Douglas V. Gibbs
AuthorSpeakerInstructorRadio HostAs I have been teaching for decades, all federal gun laws are unconstitutional, and therefore, illegal.  In the first seven articles of the U.S. Constitution the federal government is not given any expressly enumerated authority regarding firearms, and the 2nd Amendment specifically states that when it comes to federal law, the right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.

At a Tea Party meeting in Banning, recently, one of the members of the group asked me, “If all federal gun laws are unconstitutional, then why do you support President Trump’s call, and the Republican Congress legislating, a reciprocity bill regarding concealed carry?  I thought Congress was not allowed to make laws regarding guns?”

The reciprocity bill is not technically about guns as much as it is about Article IV.’s Full Faith and Credit Clause in the U.S. Constitution.  In other words, the reciprocity bill is not so much about guns as it is about reciprocity.

The Full Faith and Credit Clause reads: “Full Faith and Credit shall be given in each State to the public Acts, Records, and judicial Proceedings of every other State. And the Congress may by general Laws prescribe the Manner in which such Acts, Records and Proceedings shall be proved, and the Effect thereof.”  Put in simple language, under the Full Faith and Credit Clause judgments rendered, certificates given, or other licenses or agreements made in one State are to be acknowledged in others; when a U.S. citizen resolves an issue within one of the States that resolution must be recognized by all other States.

The Founding Fathers originally intended, with the Full Faith and Credit Clause, to protect the self-government autonomy of the States, while also promoting union of the sovereign States as well. To do this, the Founding Fathers needed to make sure that judicial rulings in one State would be respected by all States, because otherwise there would be a substantial opportunity for abuse. Doing so affirmed the autonomy of the individual States, while also ensuring that the States remained unified.

Without the Full Faith and Credit Clause, something as simple as a divorce would not be recognized outside the State where the proceeding took place.  In recent years, the courts have said exactly that, but in their case, they were trying to force the States to recognize all marriage certificates issued, even if the State does not recognize homosexual marriages.  Therefore, if a couple is married in one State, they don’t have to become married again if they move to another State . . . no matter who they are.  If a divorce occurs, and one of the members of the divorced couple moved to another state, it is not necessary to file for divorce all over again.  Thanks to the Full Faith and Credit Clause, the State that serves as the new home of the transplanted divorcee recognizes the divorce filed and approved in the State of origin.

The Full Faith and Credit Clause also protects against abusive litigation. If someone in one State sues someone and the court delivers a valid judgment, this person cannot file the same suit in another State. Under the Full Faith and Credit Clause, the outcome of the suit in the first State is recognized and considered to be the final judgment. Likewise, someone who is ruled against in litigation in a State cannot flee to another State to evade punishment, because the ruling in the first State’s court is still valid in the new State.

Because of the Full Faith And Credit Clause, professionals like doctors and lawyers only need to go to school once. As they move to new States, they can apply for reciprocity in certification so that they can practice in their new location. Things like drivers licenses also benefit from the Full Faith and Credit Clause.  If you visit your aunt in another State, you don’t have to stop and apply for a license to drive in that State.  Your license allows you to still drive your vehicle in the new States.  If you move to a different State, one can easily change one’s driving license to the new State.

Why are licenses and certificates regarding guns somehow outside Full Faith and Credit?  If driver’s licenses and marriage certificates are recognized in all States, why not firearms licenses and certificates to conceal carry?

The reciprocity law would be simply the federal government’s way of enforcing Article IV.’s Full Faith and Credit Clause regarding guns, as well.

— Political Pistachio Conservative News and Commentary

Douglas V. Gibbs is the Director of Civics and Constitution Studies for the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) where in California Doug coordinates programs that seek to spread constitutional literacy in our inner-cities.  He is also the President of the Constitution Association, which also seeks to spread constitution literacy, targeting those who seek to further that education with advanced classes about the American System, and how to be an advocate in one’s community. He is also a fellow of American Freedom Alliance.

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