Readers React

On states' rights, Republicans flip-flop over concealed guns bill

To the editor: The so-called Constitutional Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act is extremely disturbing, hypocritical and dishonest. ("If not Congress, Obama should reject bill on concealed-weapon permits," editorial, March 8)

The website of Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), the sponsor, states, "This bill strengthens states' rights." "States' rights" means state self-government without federal interference. This bill is the exact opposite. It would forbid states from enforcing their anti-concealed carry laws against people from concealed-carry states.

Texas might have a right to allow concealed carry in Texas, but not nationwide. Only the federal government can do that.

Cornyn supports other federal anti-states' rights laws, such as the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act to prohibit abortion after 20 weeks (with limited exceptions), and the Federal Marriage Amendment. By those acts, the federal government would forbid states from allowing abortions beyond 20 weeks and marrying same-sex couples.

Cornyn and his ilk unquestionably would oppose federal laws requiring all states to recognize a same-sex marriage authorized by another state, or requiring all states to allow abortions for women to the same extent their home states do. They would argue states' rights, even though they oppose states' rights on these other subjects.

When lawmakers and Supreme Court justices don't like a federal law, they support states' rights against it — but they ignore states' rights when they like the federal law.

Ira Spiro, Los Angeles

The writer, an attorney, teaches constitutional law at People's College of Law.


To the editor: Instead of recommending that President Obama veto the bill, why not recommend that the bill be changed to include good federal standards (background checks and fingerprints) and establish a federal concealed-carry permit that must be recognized by all the states?

I live in Connecticut, which has very tough gun laws. I would not have a problem with a federal permit with similar standards. I would like to be able to carry a legal weapon when I am traveling to other states and through dangerous areas of the country.

The articles that I have read on this (from both sides) only recommend veto or confrontation rather than compromise.

Lawrence Durocher, Woodbury, Conn.

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