I can already hear people screaming at me that “Requiring a license to carry a firearm is illegal!” and “The right to carry is constitutionally assured.” And let’s not forget everyone’s favorite: “SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED!” Please, hear me out before you start ranting about how I’m the problem with America today…
To start, I want to clarify that I am completely for not needing a license to carry, but some states aren’t. In an ideal country (at least for some of us) nobody would need a license to carry open or concealed, in any state. Sadly, this is far from an ideal world, as evidenced by the fact that many need a firearm for protection.
Now, if I’m for constitutional carry, why am I glad that I need a license? Well, it’s more that I’m glad I can get a license. While states like Vermont don’t require a license, that also means that they don’t issue licenses. Here in New Hampshire, not only do we recognize carry licenses from 23 other states, but those states recognize our licenses.
Vermont not issuing licenses means that Vermont natives have no license for other states to recognize. While it may be more constitutional to not require a license, many states don’t see it that way, and do require licenses, regardless of how unconstitutional it may be. Having a license from my state is easier than trying to get a non-resident license for a state I may be visiting.
Another way to look at it is like this: Would you accept needing a concealed carry license if it was nationally recognized? I view my state requiring a license to carry concealed in much the same way, although not all fifty states recognize the license. I see the $10 fee and two week wait as a minor inconvenience if it means that I can legally carry in other states that I may visit. Sure, one could argue that I shouldn’t have to pay to exercise a right, but it’s nice to know that the $10 is going to cover the cost of the paperwork, instead of a $100 or more fee going to some general fund that politicians will likely misuse.
The other reason that I don’t have a problem with needing a concealed carry license is that there is always the option of open carry. While I personally prefer concealed over open carry, those that don’t want to go through the hassle of getting a license (which really isn’t a hassle at all) are legally allowed to open carry a firearm without any license or permit of any kind. In addition, no license is needed to conceal an unloaded firearm, although that seems just a little pointless to me.
So, I fill out a single page application (no photo, fingerprint cards, or other extras required), bring it to the local police station, and return two weeks later (by law the license must be issued or the reason for denial given within two weeks) with a $10 check or money order, and then I’m free to carry concealed in multiple states. Compare this to living in Vermont; no license is needed for concealed carry, but the option for concealed carry in other states isn’t there. Sure, I would rather there be no need for a concealed carry license, but as long as some states require a license for concealed carry, the state of New Hampshire will be doing me a favor by issuing licenses.