A ROAD TRIP WITH A HANDGUN: THE CASE FOR UNIVERSAL STATE CONCEALED HANDGUN CARRY RECIPROCITY
PART FOUR: THE CONNECTICUT FIREARM APPLICATION PROCEDURE FOR ACQUIRING AN UNRESTRICTED CONCEALED HANDGUN CARRY LICENSE
THE CIRCUITOUS, TORTUOUS ROUTE TO OBTAINING MULTIPLE UNRESTRICTED CONCEALED HANDGUN LICENSES AS EXPERIENCED BY OUR INTREPID CITIZEN, MR. WRIGHT.
SUBPART ONE: RECAP
One year ago, the Arbalest Quarrel commenced a detailed examination of the perils, snares and frustrations the law-abiding American citizen encounters and faces for seeking no more than to exercise his or her natural right of self-defense. We followed an individual as he undertakes the time intensive, expensive, and exasperating task of acquiring concealed carry handgun licenses from multiple jurisdictions.
The individual whom we followed in the exercise isn’t fictional. He is an actual person. We use a pseudonym for this person to protect his identity. We refer to this individual as Mr. Wright. Mr. Wright is an American citizen and successful businessman. He currently holds several handgun licenses. All but one are concealed handgun carry (CONCEALED CARRY WEAPON) (“CCW”) licenses.
Mr. Wright conducts business in several States. The nature of Mr. Wright’s business involves the transporting of assets of considerable monetary value. Doing so, makes him a tempting target for armed robbers, jeopardizing his personal safety and well-being. A handgun provides Mr. Wright with the most effective means available for personal protection.
MANY JURISDICTIONS REQUIRE THE LAW-ABIDING AMERICAN CITIZEN TO JUSTIFY HIS NEED FOR A CCW.
Why should the law-abiding citizen have to justify the need for a CCW. After all, is not the right of self-defense basic, immutable, indisputable, and intrinsic? Did not the founders of the Republic recognize the primacy of the right of self-defense and, so, codify that quintessential right in the Bill of Rights of the United States Constitution? If so, why must the law-abiding American citizen have to justify the carrying of handgun for self-defense? Yet, a few jurisdictions, notably New York City—the City where Mr. Wright has his main business offices—require the prospective holder of an unrestricted concealed handgun carry license to do just that. An individual must convince, to the satisfaction of the NYPD licensing officer, why he or she feels the need to carry a handgun for personal protection.
Establishing a rationale upon which to test the suitability for issuance of a concealed handgun license may, to some, may seem perfectly reasonable. It isn’t. The standards established may seem pragmatic and coherent. They aren’t. On close inspection, they are completely arbitrary and superficial. In existence in New York and in several other jurisdictions around the Country for many years—even decades in some instances—we may think the laws practical, necessary, “common-sense” application of the police powers of the State? But, are they? To grow accustomed to this or that law and practice and belief does not make such law reasonable, rational, or—if that law conflicts with our jurisprudence and with our Constitution —lawful. Thus we have “unlawful laws.” That isn’t an oxymoron. An abundance of unlawful laws exists—and many of them are directed to firearms’ regulation, unlawfully restricting one’s right to own, possess, and use firearms.
WHY MUST A LAW-ABIDING AMERICAN CITIZEN HAVE TO CONVINCE A GOVERNMENT LICENSING OFFICIAL THAT HE OR SHE REQUIRES A FIREARM FOR SELF-DEFENSE? WHY MUST A LAW-ABIDING AMERICAN CITIZEN HAVE TO JUSTIFY HIS OR HER RIGHT TO KEEP AND BEAR ARMS FOR SELF-DEFENSE IF SELF-DEFENSE IS A QUINTESSENTIAL, NATURAL, PRIMARY AND PRIMORDIAL RIGHT AND IF A HANDGUN IN THE HANDS OF THE LAW-ABIDING AMERICAN CITIZEN, TRAINED IN THE USE OF THAT HANDGUN, HAS, THROUGH THE POSSESSION OF THAT HANDGUN, THE BEST MEANS AVAILABLE TO SECURE HIS OR HER LIFE AND WELL-BEING AGAINST THOSE WHO WOULD THREATEN THAT LIFE AND WELL-BEING?
A business person who does most of his business in cash and who carries thousands of dollars on his person on his way to a bank, a few times a week, is a tempting target indeed to a robber looking to make a killing through little effort. But a drug addled lunatic may be perfectly willing to kill another person for a few bucks and think nothing of it. If, then, a rational law-abiding person must justify to the satisfaction of a licensing official why issuance of a concealed handgun carry license is warranted for him but not for myriad others—which a prospective holder of a CCW must do in New York City if he is to have any real chance of securing a license to lawfully carry a handgun concealed on his person on the streets of New York City—the ludicrousness of the exercise becomes, on even a cursory inspection, painfully apparent.
It really comes down to the fact that one person asks, begs really, for the privilege of defending his or her life and makes the case, why he or she faces more danger to life than someone else and therefore ought to be allowed to carry a handgun for self-defense? What must a person do to prove he or she needs a firearm for self-defense in the City of New York, but that others do not? How might one prove that certain factors in his or her life satisfactorily distinguish his or her life from that of others, justifying the issuance of a CCW? In so doing, the right of self-defense—quintessential and primary, and primordial—reduces to mere privilege, an exercise one must excel in to justify one’s right to exist. The right to be free from threats to life becomes a luxury, bestowed on a few through Government largess. The Government becomes a gatekeeper, deciding the value of human life–by extending to one individual the coveted unrestricted, concealed carry license, and withholding it from others.
Of course, some might disagree with this assessment, arguing, on behalf of the antigun crowd, that the right of self-defense is not at issue. They would argue either that a handgun does not make a person safer or that, if it does, the danger to society outweighs the value a gun provides to individuals within society. Let’s parse that.
Certainly, a person trained in the proper operation of a handgun has the most effective means currently available to protect his or her life and well-being against imminent threats to that life. We need not debate that. The statement is self-evident, axiomatic, true.
But, do guns in society make for an unsafe society? The antigun crowd answers that question with an unequivocal, “yes.” Yet, the antigun crowd begins with their conclusion, “guns in society make a society less safe,” and then attempt to gather statistics to support the conclusion they assume to be true before the fact. Their conclusion is really not a conclusion derived from true premises, then, but an assumption. They take that assumption, and attempt to find data to support it, excluding data that refutes it. By emphasizing the gun, as an implement of harm, they minimize the import of the agent, the causal factor, truly responsible for harm. They also ignore that the agent may use other objects to harm innocent life: knives, axes, bombs and, as we have seen of late, both in Europe and in this Country, trucks. So, the availability or unavailability of guns is beside the point.
The problem of violence in society is a function of the agent of violence in society, not the implement. Implements are not agents. Implements are not sentient beings. But antigun proponents place little, if any, emphasis on the agent. The value of life to the antigun proponent is a function of utility. Antigun proponents consider life and well-being from the standpoint of maximizing utility. For them, the truth of that statement is a given. They reason that getting guns out of the hands of more people—namely law-abiding citizens—will, ipso facto, reduce the number of deaths in society. That assertion is conjecture, not fact and it is false.
Antigun proponents know criminals and lunatics and terrorists will harm individuals with guns, knives—and, as we have seen played out recently—trucks—truly anything at hand; and they will use whatever it is that is available to maximum effect, devising ever more devious ways to maximize the harm they are capable of doing to innocent life. So, as antigun proponents attempt to maximize utility for society by zeroing in on guns, alone, the violent among us are devising ways to maximize harm to individuals within society–through anything that is available. Ultimately, it is individuals within society that are harmed. They are harmed by two agents: the violent among us–predominately, criminals, and lunatics, and Islamic terrorists–and by antigun groups that would deny to law-abiding individuals the best means available to the law-abiding citizen in which to protect innocent human life, the firearm.
Ultimately, antigun proponents do not really care if an innocent life is lost so long as society in general—the collective, the hive—is secure. That idea is blunt, but true, for it follows logically from and is implicit in the philosophy of antigun proponents even if they expressly deny it. That idea plays out in myriad restrictive, ludicrous gun laws existent in federal and State Statutes and existent in County and City ordinances and codes and regulations. But, that idea of antigun proponents–that ethical position, utilitarianism, specifically, consequentialism–a moral theory that looks to the consequences of an agent’s actions and not on the intentions of the agent, a theory that seeks to maximize utility for society as a whole, placing greater value on the well-being of society, the collective, the hive, than on the well-being of the individual in society–is inconsistent with the ethical position of the founders of our Republic who saw the sanctity of the individual as preeminent.
The founders remarked in their writings, and, as we see, they embodied in the Bill of Rights and in the Articles of our Constitution the idea of the transcendent supremacy of each American, as an individual.
The founders realized that Government must have limited powers and that, ultimately, it is for the individual to take responsibility for his or her own life, and responsibility for his or her own well-being, and responsibility for his or her own happiness.
Restricting the individual’s access to firearms–thereby prohibiting the individual from possessing the best means available to reducing threat to life and well-being–operates no less than a refutation of the sanctity of the individual. The founders of the Republic would not be pleased.
In our next article, we take a close look at the procedures for obtaining a CCW in Connecticut. We follow Mr. Wright as he familiarizes himself with the procedures for obtaining a Connecticut CCW and completes his application for a Connecticut concealed handgun carry license.
Copyright © 2017 Roger J Katz (Towne Criour), Stephen L. D’Andrilli (Publius) All Rights Reserved.