A few weeks ago I was lucky enough to spend some time showing Riding Shotgun with Charlie host Charlie Cook all the sights and sounds that Farmville, Virginia and the surrounding countryside has to offer. While that episode won’t be released until next week, I’m thrilled that Charlie could join me on Bearing Arms’ Cam & Co today to talk about his popular show and podcast as well as the latest threats to 2A rights in Charlie’s home state of Massachusetts.
If you’ve never seen or listened to Riding Shotgun with Charlie before now, the good news is that you have more than 150 episodes to catch up on, including Charlie’s rides with folks like the Second Amendment Foundation’s Adam Kraut, competitive shooter and 2A advocate Gabby Franco, and Bearing Arms contributor John Petrolino. Charlie is an entertaining and engaging host (as well as a pretty good driver to boot), and I think RSWC is just as fun to watch as it is to participate in.
Charlie’s a Second Amendment advocate in his own right, as well as a certified firearms instructor in Massachusetts, and I asked him during today’s show what life has been like for gun owners in the state since the Bruen decision was handed down last July. While lawmakers didn’t immediately approve new restrictions on the right to keep and bear arms in the wake of the SCOTUS opinion upholding the right to bear arms in self-defense, several legislators have been holding a “listening tour” around the state. Ostensibly this is supposed to let both sides in the gun control debate hear from each other, but Cook says when he attended Monday night’s stop focused on guns and domestic violence, he couldn’t help but notice that virtually every “expert” on the assembled panel was of one mind when it came to slapping more gun control laws on the books.
“There was one woman on the panel who works with women… who said she had an intimate partner who was a prohibited person who had a firearm illegally. And I’m thinking to myself ‘arrggghhh’. You know, we already have laws that say he’s a prohibited person and he can’t get a gun, but he got ahold of one illegally and he’s someone who can’t have one. And you’re still concerned about me being able to legally get a gun?”
“I got to be one of the last speakers of the evening,” Cook continued. “And I got up and said ‘listen, here’s the deal… if you’re going to have a panel that focuses partly on guns, you should probably get someone who’s on the gun side instead of everyone being on the non-gun side.’ I told them that if we’re really thinking about how we can empower women and save them from the bad situations that they’re in why don’t we offer them free training, offer them licenses for free, and fast-track their licenses so that they can get a firearm and protect themselves.”
Don’t look for Massachusetts lawmakers to adopt that idea, even though I think it’s a good one. While Cook says that Gov. Maura Healey hasn’t been quite as focused on gun control as she was when she was Attorney General, lawmakers have picked up the slack and have offered up a number of bills this session aimed at cracking down on legal gun ownership, including one proposal that would require a firearms license simply to attend a gun show.
It’s enough to make many gun owners in the state throw up their hands and head for freedom in other states; something that Cook says may be in his future as well. For now, though, Cook’s home base is still in one of the most anti-gun states around, and he and other 2A advocates are doing a great job of defending their fundamental rights in an incredibly challenging environment. I appreciate Charlie Cook joining me on Cam & Co today, but I’m even more grateful for his voice and his continued activism in support of our Second Amendment rights. Be sure to check out our conversation below, and stay tuned for the RSWC featuring yours truly, which will be coming out on March 28th.