To call the wave of permitless carry legislation sweeping our nation a “revolution” may sound hyperbolic at first blush, but it is accurate. After all, there were only six states that recognized permitless carry on Jan. 1, 2016. There are now 12.
Those 12 states are Alaska, Arizona, Idaho, Kansas, Maine, Mississippi, Missouri, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Vermont, Wyoming and West Virginia. Additionally, Arkansas and Montana recognize permitless carry throughout the vast majority of their states.
Moreover, permitless carry is being considered in more states even as I type. Cleveland.com reports that Ohio lawmakers are considering a bill that would allow law-abiding “Ohioans age 21 and older to carry a concealed firearm without obtaining a concealed handgun license.” The bill is being sponsored by Republican Reps. Ron Hood and Tom Brinkman.
The permitless carry revolution blends the philosophical with the practical, reviving a full-throated Second Amendment for law-abiding Americans.
… the permitless carry revolution feeds off the knowledge that a right that can only be exercised via the acquisition of a permit is a right that can be taken away …On the philosophical side, the permitless carry revolution forces legislators to ask why American citizens should be required to obtain a permit to exercise a God-given right? (The revolution surges to the forefront of legislatures that think along these lines.)
For example, after signing permitless carry legislation into law in North Dakota, Republican Gov. Doug Burgum stressed that abolishing the need for a carry permit meant state residents could exercise their Second Amendment rights because of the Constitution (rather than government permission). The Wells Fargo Pioneer quoted him as saying:
North Dakota has a rich heritage of hunting and a culture of deep respect for firearm safety. As a hunter and gun owner myself, I strongly support gun rights for law-abiding citizens. House Bill 1169 allows citizens to exercise their Second Amendment right under the U.S. Constitution.
And in New Hampshire—a state that adopted permitless carry in February of this year—Republican Senate Majority Leader Jeb Bradley explained that he did not understand why “a law-abiding citizen” who is “legally entitled to own a gun” would have to a get a permit in order to carry the gun he owns.
On the practical side, the permitless carry revolution feeds off the knowledge that a right that can only be exercised via the acquisition of a permit is a right that can be taken away—or impeded—quite easily.
An example of such an impediment became evident weeks ago in a conversation I had with two South Africans who had immigrated to the U.S., became citizens and now fly U.S. Special Forces on training missions. Both men spoke of how the requirements to maintain a South African license for gun ownership had changed throughout their years in that country; how the license had gone from being somewhat easy to obtain to being very difficult to maintain and/or renew. Both men feared the difficulty of acquiring and maintaining the license was the result of government leadership that was increasingly opposed to the idea of citizens being armed.
Although that example is somewhat anecdotal, the laws in South Africa bear out the men’s testimony and highlight the danger many see in a state government requiring a permit or license in order to exercise a God-given right in America. Such a requirement practically opens the door for anti-gun politicians to win seats, take their places at the table and make the permits harder to acquire or renew and maintain.
If this seems a stretch, consider California, where the “good cause” requirement for one of the state’s concealed-carry permits has impeded issuance to the point that fewer than 80,000 residents possessed a permit on the day that Donald Trump was elected president. That is fewer than 80,000 out of a state with a population of over 39 million.
Practically speaking, that’s not good. And it is one more reason why the permitless carry revolution is taking oversight of Second Amendment rights away from politicians and giving it back to the people.
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. Reach him directly at [email protected].