Let’s stop accentuating our differences and celebrate those beliefs that make us, undeniably, a nation that stands together to protect, preserve and defend our Constitution. This is a principle that the NRA, the Heritage Foundation, the ACLU and the NAACP all fervently support.
The right to keep and bear arms is guaranteed in the Second Amendment. The amendment states that the reason for this right is so that we can have militias – civilian groups ready to respond in a crisis. An effective militia must be made of local residents. The distribution of legally registered guns and people with proper permits to carry those guns is out of balance with our neighborhood defense needs.
Although any foreign invasion would likely attempt to seize our cities, a far larger proportion of our rural citizens own and carry guns. Without a better distribution of weapons, rural militias with no detailed knowledge of the terrain and resources would have to respond to threats to our cities.
If we are to have the well-regulated militia that the Second Amendment calls for, we should strive to encourage more of our urban citizens to arm and organize.
The NRA already has terrific programs for youth, handicapped and senior citizen instruction. Surely they could develop a course tailored to our urban citizens.
The 14th, 19th, and 26th Amendments to the Constitution guarantee the right to vote for all citizens over the age of 18 regardless of race or sex.
Obviously, no citizen of the United States of America wants to have non-citizens voting in our elections. And – with two years until the next national elections – it is certainly reasonable to require two forms of government-issued picture ID.
This is where I envision the left and the right working together to ensure that the intent of our forefathers stays woven tightly into our national character.
I propose that a concealed weapon carry permit be recognized nationwide as a form of valid government ID. Florida, for instance, issues concealed weapon carry permits to the residents of 34 states. In order to get a Florida weapons permit, you don’t have to be a resident of Florida. You don’t even have to visit Florida to get a permit. You merely need to take a NRA approved course in gun safety and have a clear criminal and mental health record, send your fingerprints, your training certificate, a passport-type photo and $50 to Tallahassee and you have a valid picture ID.
You don’t have to own a gun in order to get a concealed carry permit. In states where proficiency with a weapon is required (many states don’t require that you own or fire a weapon to get a permit to carry one) the NRA and the NAACP could, for instance, offer gun safety classes and provide “loaner weapons” to those not in a financial position to buy a gun as a public service to ensure that everyone is eligible to vote and carry concealed weapons.
With the concerns that President Obama is going to limit our rights to keep and bear arms, and with two years to get everyone who is eligible to vote registered, I see this as an opportunity for all constitutional patriots – regardless of political philosophy – to join together to preserve our rights.
Imagine Ted Nugent and Al Sharpton as co-chairs of a constitutional rights nonprofit organization. Let’s remember that we all want the same things. It’s time to put our differences aside.
The writer lives in Georgetown.