The month of November will likely be one for the memory books. For the last year we have been overwhelmed with political campaigns, smear tactics, WikiLeaks, and Facebook friends posting irrational commentary that made you legitimately wonder how America has survived up to this point (No, your ability to get a job after college has not been reduced because Trump won the election, that is all on you—work for it).
Amidst all of this chaos in the pre and post election world, a soft launch of the president-elect’s Second Amendment Coalition was barely recognized. You heard that correctly; President-elect Trump formed a coalition with the sole purpose of advising him on matters pertaining to our gun rights. Leading the coalition is Donald J. Trump, Jr. and Chris Cox of the NRA, in addition to 62 co-chairs. Some of these names you may recognize as industry names, like Doug Koenig, Craig Morgan, and 6-time Olympic medal winner Kim Rhode. Other names hail from the political side, the firearms manufacturing world, and then…there’s my name.
How I was ever selected to be on a presidential team of subject matter experts is far beyond me, but to say that I am honored is the understatement of the century. The only reason I have yet to conjure up is my connection to the every-day world and regular civilians—allow me to explain what I mean by that. I am not an Olympic shooter. I am not a world champion. I am not a member of Congress. I am not a firearms manufacturer. I am simply a poor college student who has a passion for getting women involved in shooting, and who takes personal protection and defense very seriously. I may not be a subject matter expert in the same way that these elite names are, but I feel that I can offer the perspective of an average civilian who shoots for hobby and pleasure, an average woman who carries for defense, and an average college student who walks the halls of a gun-free campus (although KSU will allow concealed carry beginning in July 2017).
So, what matters are potentially and hopefully on the to-do list for the Second Amendment Coalition? The first priority on everyone’s wish list is national reciprocity. If you are a legal concealed carry holder, you’re aware of how frustrating it is to leave behind your firearm when you know you will be crossing into a state that doesn’t recognize your license. In other words, your means of defense are limited to state borders. Let’s change that, shall we?
A matter that I would personally enjoy to see discussed further is the removal of current restrictions placed on active-duty service members when in uniform and/or on federal military installations (and civilians on federal installations for that matter). No one can say with 100% certainty that the effects of the Chattanooga shooting would not have been reduced had one of the Marines been carrying. This “what if” scenario applies to all of the shootings that have occurred on military installations. Why render service members helpless? If the golden standard is applied and a service member is deemed fit to carry, I fail to see what the problem is.
An issue that is gaining more traction is the removal of suppressors from regulation under the National Firearms Act. Although they are already possible to obtain in 41 states, the measures to acquire one are beyond absurd considering that they are protective accessories and not in any way harmful. Suppressors effectively reduce noise and protect the hearing of both the shooter and those in “close” proximity. With that, they are highly advantageous to shooters teaching kids, as safeguarding the hearing of youth should be a priority.
These are only three of the many possible issues that are sure to be discussed over the next four years. I am undoubtedly the lowest on the totem pole, and deservedly so, but I am not void of opinions and ideas. The other co-chairs are likely to have just as many, and it will be a joint effort to prioritize and ensure the ball keeps rolling. Four years will pass quickly and it is paramount that we act while we have a Republican-controlled Congress.
I would love to hear your comments on what you consider a second amendment priority.
Theresa Vail is a member of the Kansas Army National Guard, President-Elect Trump's 2nd Amendment Advisory Coalition, Miss Kansas 2013, and current Host of NRA All Access.