The “permitless” carry train is once again leaving the station, with four additional states seeking to deregulate the lawful carry of concealed firearms for self-defense.
Eleven states—Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Idaho, Kansas, Maine, Mississippi, Missouri, Vermont, West Virginia and Wyoming— already have such laws on the books, often called “Constitutional Carry” because they expressly affirm the Second Amendment’s right to keep and bear arms. Now, lawmakers in New Hampshire, North Dakota, Kentucky and New Mexico have proposed similar legislation.
Earlier this week in New Hampshire, the Senate Judiciary Committee successfully voted Senate Bill 12 out of committee. SB 12, sponsored by Republican state Sen. Jeb Bradley, would repeal the license requirement to carry a concealed pistol or revolver, unless a person is otherwise prohibited. For those who choose to obtain licenses, SB 12 would also increase the length of time for which a license is valid. The proposed legislation would expand “permitless” carry laws from covering only open carry, to including both open and concealed carry.
Existing New Hampshire law recognizes the right of any citizen who can legally own and possess a firearm to carry it openly, either loaded or unloaded, anywhere in the state not prohibited by law. But if a firearm becomes covered by a coat or if a woman prefers to carry a firearm for protection in her purse, he or she would need a concealed-carry handgun license. The proposed legislation would expand “permitless” carry laws from covering only open carry, to including both open and concealed carry.
Incidentally, N.H. lawmakers passed “permitless” carry legislation each of the past two years, but then-Gov. Maggie Hassan vetoed it both times.
If Republican state Rep. Rick Becker has his way, North Dakota residents will also be on the list of Americans able to carry firearms without a permit. Becker is planning to introduce a bill this session that would do away with the permit requirement for law-abiding adults to carry a concealed firearm for self-defense.
Becker sees the law as bringing his state back in line with the original intent of the framers of the U.S. Constitution. "Having this bill into play, if it becomes law, brings us a little bit closer to the original intent of the Second Amendment, and so I think it's kind of an easy one,” said Becker.
Currently, residents must apply, go through training and pay for a Class 1 or Class 2 license in order to carry in the state. Should “permitless” carry pass, gun owners would still be able to get concealed-carry permits for use when traveling to other states.
In New Mexico, state Sen. Steven Neville plans to introduce “permitless” carry legislation in Santa Fe to deregulate the carry process in the Land of Enchantment. The legislation “would allow anyone who would be legally entitled to own firearms and carry firearms to do so without having a concealed-carry permit,” the San Juan County Republican explained. He noted that law-enforcement officers in his district had urged him to introduce this legislation after pointing out that enforcing the law that prohibits carry without a permit—a petty misdemeanor—wastes valuable law-enforcement resources.
About 40,000 New Mexico residents currently hold concealed-carry permits, and about one in four of those are women. Meanwhile, in Kentucky, “permitless” carry legislation was introduced on the very first day of the 2017 legislative session.
Meanwhile, in Kentucky, “permitless” carry legislation was introduced on the very first day of the 2017 legislative session. Senate Bill 7 would allow any law-abiding individual who can legally possess a firearm to carry a handgun for self-defense in Kentucky without having to obtain a permit to do so.
Deregulating concealed carry to no longer require a permit, while still keeping permits available for law-abiding citizens to utilize reciprocity agreements between states, is a logical next step in the battle for our Second Amendment rights. Of course, those who would further regulate legal gun ownership disagree.
For the past 30 years—since Right-to-Carry laws first became a topic of discussion—those opposed to law-abiding Americans carrying firearms for self-defense have made the same baseless claims. “It’ll be like the Wild West,” they shout. “Blood will run in the streets,” they assure anyone willing to listen.
And while it has never come to be, that doesn’t stop some—for example, the editorial board of TheTennessean—from making the same baseless claims about the current movement to pass “permitless” carry laws.
“One can only imagine how many fender-benders, arguments over parking spots, domestic squabbles and the like will deliver a cascade of grief and regret to the families and friends of innocent victims,” the editors wrote in a recent op-ed.
Of course, that won’t happen, either. In truth, violent criminals who would use their firearms to harm others already carry guns wherever and whenever they want. Several states have passed “permitless” carry measures over the past few years, and none of them have seen such senseless violence from law-abiding gun owners as naysayers predict.