LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Dekmar back and forth on concealed carry

Published 10:53 pm Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Dear Editor,

Reciprocity defines how one state’s Concealed Carry Weapon licenses are honored by other states. Currently 32 states honor Georgia CCW licenses.

In a USA Today article from Feb. 2017, “Gabby Gifford’s’ gun-control group gets new law enforcement allies,” LaGrange Police Chief Lou Dekmar served on a liberal committee. That committee stated it will use “a coalition of law enforcement officers (to) help them oppose gun legislation,” including a bill that would require states to accept CCW permits from other states. The website for that committee, named the Law Enforcement Coalition for Commonsense, boasts that “against fierce opposition, we have helped pass more than 200 new strong gun laws in 45 states and Washington, DC.”

A Washington Post article recently stated that the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), of which Dekmar is the president, has the same opposition to reciprocity and submitted a letter to Congress signed by 473 officials from 39 states.

“This legislation,” the letter states, “is a dangerous encroachment on individual state efforts to protect public safety, and it would effectively nullify duly enacted state laws and hamper law enforcement efforts to prevent gun violence.” But the letter never mentioned how or why. After a local citizen voiced concerns at a LaGrange City Council meeting in April, Dekmar attempted to change his stance by saying “that his opposition to the Congressional act was due to state rights, not concealed carry.” Newsflash IACP, criminals already carry concealed and don’t care about your laws. They don’t get CCW permits.

The reciprocity bill (H.R. 38) that Dekmar vehemently opposes ensures that those Americans who can legally carry a concealed firearm in one state will legally be able to do so in every other state. The attorneys general of 24 states, also sent a letter to Congress supporting the bill for concealed carry. “The exercise of Congress’ power is particularly warranted” for concealed carry reciprocity, the Republican attorneys general wrote, “because the states that refuse to allow law-abiding, nonresident visitors to carry concealed weapons place their occupants in greater danger — not less — from gun violence. These states leave citizens without any real option for self-defense, and so it is not surprising that they have been unable to show that their regulations reduce crime.”

A Police One survey shows that 91 percent of the officers support nationwide recognition of state issued concealed weapon permits.

So where does Dekmar actually stand on this issue? He is so wishy-washy. I am afraid it depends on who he is speaking to.

Tommy Callaway