Constitutional carry became the law of the land in four states in 2016, and is already under consideration in the 2017 legislative sessions of eight more states.
The four states that adopted NRA-supported constitutional carry last year were Mississippi, Missouri, Idaho and West Virginia, which brought the total number of states with constitutional carry to 10. Montana has constitutional carry in over 99 percent of the state, but not in certain localities. With Montana included, the 11 total are Alaska, Arizona, Idaho, Kansas, Maine, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Vermont, Wyoming and West Virginia.
Now New Hampshire, Indiana, Kentucky, Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota have joined the fray and are considering bills to abolish concealed-carry permit requirements in their own states.
New Hampshire’s House actually passed constitutional carry on Feb. 9 by a vote of 200-97, thereby sending the bill to Governor Chris Sununu’s desk. The legislation—SB 12—had previously passed the state Senate and is designed to bring concealed carry in line with open carry, which requires no permit in the state of New Hampshire. New Hampshire Senate Majority Leader Jeb Bradley, sponsor of SB 12, also stressed that enacting constitutional carry brings New Hampshire in line with other states in New England, such as Vermont and Maine, that have some of the lowest crime rates in the nation.New Hampshire’s House actually passed constitutional carry on Feb. 9 by a vote of 200-97, thereby sending the bill to Governor Chris Sununu’s desk.
The constitutional-carry legislation for Alabama is being sponsored by Republican state Sen. Gerald Allen, who believes it is wrong to require state residents to get a permit before exercising Second Amendment rights. In fact, Allen argues that citizens are not really exercising a right if they first have to seek out government permission to do so.
Allen also draws attention to the fact that Alabamans can already open carry in the state without a permit, so the push to allow concealed carry without a permit is part of a larger effort to make carry laws congruent. The Decatur Daily quoted him saying, “We already allow open carry without a permit, and there is no logical reason for continuing to require a permit for concealed carry.”
In Indiana, the constitutional-carry push is being sponsored by Republican state Rep. Jim Lucas, who believes it is “immoral” to require citizens to get a permit before they can carry a concealed gun for self-defense. He told CBS 4 that requiring a permit criminalizes law-abiding citizens by “[forcing them] to jump through hoops and pay money to the state to prove their innocence and exercise a constitutional right.”
The constitutional legislation for Minnesota contained in House File 188 was put forward by Republican state Rep. Jim Nash. The legislation abolishes the requirement for a concealed-carry permit, but preserves the ability to obtain a permit for those who want the reciprocity benefits.
In South Dakota, the constitutional-carry push has been undertaken by Republican state Rep. Lynne DiSanto. She believes constitutional carry is the kind of carrying framework set forth in the Second Amendment; a framework in which the government does not get between the citizen and his or her right of self-defense. The Associated Press quoted DiSanto as saying, “I just hope this opens the door to people considering being gun owners and having the opportunity to protect themselves and their families as it was intended by the Constitution when it was written.”
There are strong threads of commonality in all the current pushes for constitutional carry. Among the strongest is the recognition that natural rights were not given by the government and ought not be managed by the government. Another strong thread is the desire to protect law-abiding citizens’ right to carry a gun when they need it most, rather than see such citizens in a position of having to fill out paperwork and wait varying lengths of time to receive a state’s permission to carry concealed for self-defense.
AWR Hawkins is the Second Amendment columnist for Breitbart News and host of Bullets with AWR Hawkins, a Breitbart News podcast. He is also the political analyst for Armed American Radio. Follow him on Twitter @AWRHawkins, or reach him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.