Since then, five other states—South Dakota, Minnesota, Utah, Indiana and Texas—have joined New Hampshire, North Dakota, Kentucky and New Mexico in starting the process of deregulating concealed carry for their citizens.
Eleven states—Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Idaho, Kansas, Maine, Mississippi, Missouri, Vermont, West Virginia and Wyoming—have already adopted permitless carry laws, often referred to as “constitutional carry” laws because they expressly affirm the Second Amendment’s right to keep and bear arms. It would recognize a law-abiding citizen's unconditional right to keep and bear arms for self-defense in the manner he or she chooses.
In South Dakota, state Rep. Lynne DiSanto introduced House Bill 1072, which would remove the requirement to obtain a permit in order to lawfully carry a firearm for self-defense. That measure hasn’t been referred to a committee and scheduled for a hearing yet, but South Dakota gun owners should get behind it in a big way.
Minnesota’s “permitless” carry measure is House File 188, introduced by state Rep. Jim Nash. It would recognize a law-abiding citizen’s unconditional right to keep and bear arms for self-defense in the manner he or she chooses. Like measures in most other states, it would not do away with the concealed-carry permit process in Minnesota. Permits would still be available for anyone wishing to take advantage of reciprocity agreements with other states that require permits.
In Utah, gun owners face an uphill battle as Gov. Gary Herbert vetoed a “permitless” carry measure back in 2013 and has vowed to do the same with similar bills. Nevertheless, Republican state Rep. Lee Perry has introduced HB 112 and pro-gun lawmakers are getting onboard with the legislation. Utah residents can already openly carry firearms for self-defense without a permit. Yet as is the case in several states, simply putting on a jacket can turn the law-abiding into criminals for no reason.
“Say I'm out hunting one day and have my sidearm on,” Perry told the Salt Lake Tribune. “I happen to stop at the gas station on the way home and it's cold. So I put my coat on and walk into the store
“[With passage of the new law,] If an officer sees me, he's not going to cite me and give me a Class B misdemeanor.”
Indiana is another state where pro-gun lawmakers are seeking to deregulate the concealed-carry permitting process. House Bill 1159, introduced by Republican state Rep. Jim Lucas, would do away with the permitting process for law-abiding adults who aren’t restricted from owning firearms. And like most other states with similar proposals, the bill makes the current permitting system optional so permit holders can benefit from reciprocity agreements.After all, the ability of law-abiding Americans to defend themselves and their families is a right, not a privilege.
Meanwhile in Texas, another state where “permitless” open carry is not restricted but concealed carry is, Republican state Rep. Jonathan Strickland has introduced House Bill 375. That measure would allow any individual who is not prohibited from possessing a firearm to carry concealed without a license.
Texas concealed-carry permits would still be available to those who wish to obtain them, and another measure introduced this year addresses the high cost of those permits. Senate Bill 16, introduced by Republican state Senators Robert Nichols and Joan Huffman, eliminates original and renewal application fees for a carry permit. The current fee for an original license is $140—one of the highest fees in the country.
Gun owners in all nine states where “permitless” carry is currently being considered should make their voices heard. After all, the ability of law-abiding Americans to defend themselves and their families is a right, not a privilege.
To find out more about “permitless” carry legislation in your state, along with who best to contact concerning the proposal, visit nraila.org and find your state using the “search” function.