Last month, even after news of Trayvon Martin’s shooting broke nationally, 29 conservative senators introduced a bill that would have allowed Martin’s shooter George Zimmerman to carry a concealed firearm in nearly any state before he was arrested. The bill, which has the strong support of the NRA, allows anyone who has a concealed carry permit from any state to carry a concealed weapon in virtually any state, no matter how lax the laws are in the state where the permit was issued. Florida, for example, refused to take away Zimmerman’s concealed carry permit for weeks after he shot and killed Martin.
In a letter to Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and Judiciary Chair Pat Leahy (D-VT) yesterday, Sen. Dianne Feinstein placed a hold on this and a related bill:
These dangerous bills — which are opposed by leading law enforcement organizations — would undermine states’ rights by forcing nearly every state to accept the concealed-carry permits issued by other states, even if the permit holder could not qualify for a permit in the state to which he is traveling. By this letter, I respectfully place a hold on these bills and request that you do not allow them to be considered on their own or as an amendment to other legislation . . . .
In recent weeks, our nation have witnessed tragic gun violence in Sanford, Florida and in Oakland, California, which is only a short drive from my home. Notably, George Zimmerman, the man who shot and killed 17 year-old Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Florida, had been issued a concealed carry permit under Florida law, even though he had previously been subject to a court order for domestic abuse of his ex-fiancee. Congress should heed the warnings of law enforcement and not force states to recognize the permits issued to individuals in other states.
Now that Feinstein crossed the gun lobby, she is all but certain to be barraged with attacks claiming she is the enemy of the Second Amendment. But if that is true, then so is Republican Justice Antonin Scalia. As Scalia established in D.C. v. Heller “the right secured by the Second Amendment is not unlimited,” and laws regulating or even prohibiting concealed carry are entirely consistent with the Second Amendment.