Many thanks to Congressman Mica

St. Johns County is very fortunate to have John Mica as our representative in Congress — he has demonstrated good stewardship of the office, a passion for the people in our district and has a congressional staff that is second to none.

I have always found the congressman to be accessible and in his absence, his staff participates at almost every community event that Historic City News covers — that was true for Wiley Deck when he was district representative for St. Johns, Flagler and Putnam counties, and continues to be the case with Patrick Kelly.

Today, I want to express my gratitude for Mica’s support of the National Right-to-Carry Reciprocity Act of 2011.

Ocala’s Congressman Cliff Stearns introduced H.R.822 on February 18th; Mica was onboard as a co-sponsor on March 3rd. Today there are 236 co-sponsors.

The Act, if it becomes law, would allow any person with a valid state-issued concealed firearm permit to carry a concealed firearm in any state that issues concealed firearm permits, or that does not prohibit the carrying of concealed firearms for lawful purposes.

Florida, and other states, would continue to regulate where concealed firearms may be carried within their borders. The bill applies to Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico and U.S. territories.

Since adopting right-to-carry in 1987, Florida’s total violent crime and murder rates have dropped 32 percent and 58 percent, respectively.

Best of all, in my opinion, it would not create a federal licensing system; rather, it would require the states to recognize each other’s concealed-carry permits, just as they recognize each other’s driver’s licenses and open-carry permits held by armored car guards.

If I qualify to possess and carry my firearm in a peaceful manner for my own protection here in St. Augustine, and, I am qualified to do so as I travel across the state, then why should I become a criminal simply because I traveled to Texas to visit friends and family and choose to bring my firearm along?

Likewise, tourists coming to our state on vacation with their families need not fear prosecution when they arrive if a system of nationwide reciprocity is put into place. The right of self-defense is fundamental, and has been recognized in law for centuries. That right does not cease when you cross a state line.

The Declaration of Independence asserts that “life” is among the unalienable rights of all people. The Second Amendment guarantees the right of the people to keep and bear arms for “security”.

The laws of all states, and the constitutions of most states, recognize the right to use force in self-defense.

It has always been my contention that law enforcement and the citizenry have little to fear from an individual who submits to a background investigation and state qualifications to purchase and carry a firearm — it is the individual with criminal intent who doesn’t bother or can’t qualify for a weapons permit that you need to be concerned with.

So, thanks to Congressman Mica for supporting U.S. Representative Stearns’ bill — he has introduced similar legislation since 1995. It is about time the Congress approved it.

Photo credits: © 2011 Historic City News staff photographer

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