We already spoke about a “governor gone bad” in New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy. Today we’re focusing on two “governors gone good.” It’s not much of a surprise to those of us who follow Second Amendment politics closely that many cynical, anti-gun politicians are trying to chip away at Americans’ right to keep and bear arms during the current COVID-19 pandemic. After all, many such politicians love the thought of scoring some political points during a disaster. They pretend to trade citizens a little security while diminishing their liberty.
The Two Pro-Gun Governors vs. the Rest
Rahm Emanuel, former Chicago mayor and Barack Obama’s White House chief of staff, said it best. “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste,” Emanuel said back in 2008. “And what I mean by that is an opportunity to do things that you think you could not do before.”
New Jersey Gov. Murphy attempted to follow Emanuel’s words two weeks ago. Murphy shut down the state’s background check system, effectively ending all legal gun sales in the state. He later rescinded the order when the federal government deemed gun shops “essential,” but not because he wanted to. His statement left little doubt that he didn’t like having to let such a serious crisis go to waste.
“It wouldn’t have been my definition, but that’s the definition at the federal level,” Murphy said of the “essential” designation. “I didn’t get a vote on that.”
Another governor, Charlie Baker of Massachusetts, issued an order on March 23 that closed most businesses including gun shops. He also reversed his decision after the federal “essential” designation. On March 31, however, Baker did another about face. He again removed gun retailers and shooting ranges from the state’s “essential” list.
Constitutional Carry in Idaho
In the wake of this anti-gun tsunami, however, some state officials are doing their best to expand Second Amendment rights. One good example is Idaho’s leader, Gov. Brad Little.
On Wednesday, Little signed a bill extending the state’s constitutional carry provision to nonresidents, just as the framers of the Constitution intended. Under HB 516, visitors to Idaho 18 and over who can legally possess firearms will be allowed to carry a concealed handgun without a carry permit.
As we previously reported, laws that restrict the legal carry of handguns across state lines by law-abiding citizens create hazards for travelers; this includes the truck drivers we all rely on to deliver important goods during the COVID-19 lockdown. The law takes effect July 1.
South Dakota Savior
Only a few days earlier, on the last day of her state’s legislative session, South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem signed HB 1296; it ensures the law-abiding gun owners of South Dakota won’t be disarmed during natural disasters or emergencies, such as the outbreak of COVID-19.
The new law took effect at signing. It says that no state agency, political subdivision or any elected or appointed official or employee may prohibit, regulate or curtail the otherwise lawful possession, carrying, sale, transportation, transfer, defensive use, or other lawful use of any firearm or ammunition. It protects indoor and outdoor ranges. Beyond that, it also prohibits firearm confiscation, revocation or suspension of carry permits, the refusal to accept carry permit applications, mandated gun store closures and limiting the number of firearm or ammunition purchases.
Noem also signed into law HB 98; it extends the time an individual with an enhanced carry permit can carry a concealed firearm in the state capitol from 30 days to a calendar year. She also signed HB 1094; it rescinds the permit requirement for carrying a firearm on a motorcycle, snowmobile of off-road vehicle.
Needless say, Noem got to work and protected the Second Amendment … and then some.
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by Mark Chesnut / Apr 6, 2020