In the comments at this thread at Bitter’s, I mentioned that I support expanding nationwide reciprocity for retired police officers to carry concealed. A couple of people seem to think that I’m taking an “Only Ones” mentality, because I’m not championing nationwide reciprocity for concealed carry holders as well.
In fact, it’s just the opposite of that. I would love to have nationwide reciprocity for the X million CCW holders throughout the country. But it’s not going to happen overnight; and it’s really not going to happen if we can’t get certain jurisdictions (like New York) to even allow retired cops to carry there.
Here’s how I see it – I agree that a retired cop is no different from me from a legal standpoint. Now, when Suzy Soccermom is being told about a law that would allow retired cops to carry concealed in any jurisdiction, she’s much more amenable to that bill than she would to one that allows nationwide reciprocity for any CCW holder. The reason she’s more open to retired cops than she is to you or me is specifically an issue of perception.
The average Joe Blow perceives that cops are responsible individuals, and because they’ve had “training” with their firearms, it somehow makes them more able to not shoot themselves in the foot or something. So Suzy Soccermom thinks “Oh, well those retired cops have training, they’ll be fine carrying guns anywhere in the country.”
That’s step one – get the public acclimated to the basic concept of nationwide carry. Step two is a little more complicated, because it involves demonstrating that CCW holders are just as qualified to carry guns as retired police officers, and in some cases more so. However, the problem again is a problem of perception. Most people don’t realize that the average CCW holder has undergone a thorough background check, and probably shoots more with his carry gun than most cops do.
In the comments of that thread at Bitter’s, it was pointed out that not a lot of traction has been made since nationwide reciprocity for cops was originally passed. Well, who exactly do we have to blame for that? Who out there is pointing out that in those three years, that there have been no “wrong people shot” by off-duty cops, and in fact, off duty cops carrying concealed have actual assisted in stopping crime; such as the case of the Utah mall shooter.
These are issues that need to be brought up – once the public is aware that this is working, then we can ease into nationwide CCW for the rest of us. It’s not that the cops are the “Only Ones”, it’s that the public isn’t aware of the reality.