With the heated debates of gun control and firearm violence being more frequent in gatherings, it can often be pondered which individuals can, should, and should not carry weapons.
One of these individuals can be the president himself.
It’s already common knowledge that in most countries, rulers like to have a firearm strapped just in case, whether it be for self-defense or recreational purposes.
But in the U.S., it’s tricky to tell whether or not the president can have the same freedom. This brings us back to the question: can the president carry a gun?
When The President Can Carry A Gun?
As of 2021, gun laws in the U.S. are very flexible. In most states, guns are free to be possessed or carried by the public as self-defense weapons. However, there are still some regulations, such as owning a permit and carrying the right legal documents with the gun.
Gun laws have evolved through the years and are different from state to state. For instance, Illinois, Florida, the District of Columbia, and California strictly prohibit the public from carrying any sort of firearm out in the open. At the same time, other states do allow specific guns, such as handguns, to be carried with a permit.
If the president is visiting or staying in one of these states where guns are allowed to be carried, he can definitely pack one with him.
This is because if anyone needs the most security, it would have to be the president. So, just to be prepared for any turn of events, he can carry whichever gun the state allows.
When The President Cannot Carry A Gun?
As mentioned before, gun laws have been changing in the U.S. for the past few decades. And with these changes came the rise of many debates regarding how flexible the laws should be.
From 2020 to 2021, in the midst of a pandemic, there have been a total of 14 school shootings due to poor gun control and regulation. The most recent case was in May. In the past 10 years, there have been more than 190 cases of gun violence on school premises.
The nationwide worry for the youth’s safety has been going on for a long time, but there are yet to be any major changes to the law to stop similar cases from happening.
Due to this, and many other cases where poor gun safety has taken the lives of innocents, there’s an ongoing debate and protest to alter the gun control laws in a way that they are basically unobtainable unless the person is in a position of authority, such as policemen.
And because of these debates and the overall sensitivity regarding the possession of guns in America, it can come off as offensive or even unprofessional for the current president to carry one.
The President Can Carry A Gun In Some Cases
Hunting is an activity that most people enjoy that involves guns. Many see it as a stress-relieving hobby and sometimes even a highly respected sport.
Even past presidents have a history with hunting and practicing their aim in open fields.
In the U.S., hunting is seen as an outdoor recreational activity, despite the negative views people have about it now. Most states may require a license for you to carry hunting weapons, but you’re free to go on with the act with the right possession of legal documents.
So, if the president just wants to go catch a couple of ducks with some friends or family members, it wouldn’t be much of an inconvenience to anybody. Given that the area of choice is a hunting ground and there aren’t any people getting hurt, of course.
Other activities, such as going to a shooting range or firing at clay pigeons in a closed-off area with no passersby, are also completely fine for the president to indulge in.
No Need Of Carrying Any Separate Gun For Self-Defense
Even though guns are allowed in most states for self-defense purposes, it still wouldn’t entirely make sense why the president would have to carry one himself when he has security around him at all times.
Security for a president is very different from regular bodyguards other influential people, for example, celebrities, have. These people work around the clock to ensure the president is in no harm and put out consistent energy even when there’s low risk.
So, why would the president have to keep a gun when he has multiple people carrying them for him?
Keeping activities including guns, like hunting and paranoia aside, there aren’t many reasons why the president is required to carry firearms. Granted, it can be argued that security doesn’t make a president immortal, but neither does carrying a gun for himself.
And it would benefit him even more if experienced and professional people like security guards that dedicate their lives to protecting others were to carry the guns instead. This would let the president go on about his day without being on high alert or bearing the pressure of fending for himself all the time.
Doesn’t Matter, He’s Probably Carrying One Right Now
It shouldn’t come off as a shock that most of the past presidents, or even the current one, have had a firearm or two locked in a secret safe or hung up over their fireplaces.
Ronald Reagan, J.F. Kennedy, Dwight David Eisenhower, and Theodore Roosevelt have all owned at least one firearm during their presidencies. So, we know there’s already existing history of presidents carrying guns in secret.
And while there’s no actual proof of other presidents owning one, there isn’t any evidence to prove they never did either.
This can come off as alarming to most people as someone in such an influential position can possibly have a weapon in their inventory. And with the U.S. having a history of allegedly racist and/or fascist rulers, the question of responsibility may arise.
However, just because a person with ignorant worldviews is the president, does not make him invincible or immune to the law.
In fact, if the president were to actually carry a gun out in the open, it would have to be in a state which allows it and with a permit. And if he were to abuse his power of having access to firearms, he would be held accountable by the law without a doubt.
In 2018, after a mass shooting at Marjory Stone man Douglas High School in Florida, 17 lives were lost, and 17 people were injured.
It was considered the “deadliest high school shooting in United States history” and caused the formation of the Never Again MSD advocacy against gun violence group run by students of the same high school.
As the shooting made headline after headline, Trump sat down to talk to some teachers, students, parents, and high school officials. In this meeting, he proposed that teachers should be taught concealed carrying skills to protect themselves and the students during possible shootings.
But what is concealed carrying?
In the U.S., concealed carrying is a completely legal way of carrying a weapon in public in a concealed, or hidden fashion. It is meant to be a practice strictly for self-defense. However, it is illegal in a few states to conceal-carry without a permit.
Regulations regarding concealed carry are not one-way for all states. In fact, they differ from state to state and are categorized into four parts: No Issue, May Issue, Shall Issue, and Unrestricted.
No Issue is a jurisdiction that basically means that no private citizen is allowed to carry a handgun in public. The exceptions for this are very rare and limited, with only officials being able to carry firearms out in the open. However, this rule is applied to only a few states.
May Issue is when the private citizen is required to have a state-issued permit or license to conceal-carry a handgun. This jurisdiction is given to most of the state of California.
To obtain a permit, the applicant has to meet certain criteria made by the law and given by the local authorities. After this, the permit may or may not be granted to the applicant, depending on the consensus of the authority.
Shall Issue is very similar to May Issue. Similarly, Shall Issue also means that a private citizen must meet criteria laid out by the law to obtain a permit. It is believed that in states with a Shall Issue jurisdiction, it is easier to get a license than May Issue states.
As for Unrestricted, just as the rule suggests, it means that any private citizen is allowed to carry a concealed handgun without a permit or license. This jurisdiction is the most applied one among the 4 in the U.S.
So, given that the president has a permit, he can carry a concealed gun in almost any state he goes to.
Actually, there is no clear-cut answer to the question ‘can the president carry a gun’. It’s difficult to say whether the president can carry a gun, as we’ve already discussed. It varies from state to state and how he personally chooses to protect himself.
Our bet is on any of the 5 theories we’ve talked about. What about you?