What’s Next for Constitutional Carry?

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posted on March 16, 2022
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Twenty-four states now have some form of constitutional carry.

Last year, five states—Iowa, Montana, Tennessee, Texas, and Utah—each passed their own version of constitutional carry, expanding freedom throughout our nation.  Last week, Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey (R) signed constitutional carry (H.B. 272) into law, making Alabama the 22nd state to get out of the way of the law-abiding individual’s right to carry a concealed handgun without a government-issued permit.

“The NRA worked tirelessly with state leaders and legislators to pass the most-significant pro-Second Amendment measure in Alabama history,” said NRA Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) Executive Director Jason Ouimet.

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine also signed his state’s version of permitless carry (S.B. 215) into law, making it the 23rd state to codify constitutional carry.

“The NRA commends Gov. DeWine for signing this important piece of legislation that protects the Second Amendment rights of all law-abiding Buckeyes,” said Ouimet.

In Indiana, constitutional carry (H.B. 1296) was recently signed into law by Gov. Eric Holcomb (R). "By signing this bill, Gov. Holcomb has demonstrated a commitment to restoring and protecting our Second Amendment freedoms," Ouimet said.

As it stands, Alabama, Indiana and Ohio might not be the only states to join the ranks this year. As this was being written, the Georgia House and Senate had each passed their own constitutional carry bills (H.B. 1358/S.B. 319). The NRA-ILA is working with leadership and Second Amendment supporters in both chambers to ensure a final bill is soon headed to Gov. Brian Kemp (R) for his signature.

Kemp previously vowed that should constitutional-carry legislation make it to his desk, he would support the measure. “In the face of rising crime across the country, law-abiding citizens should have their constitutional rights protected, not undermined,” said Kemp.

Nebraska is also moving closer to constitutional carry. L.B. 773, the state’s version of constitutional carry, has passed its first round in the legislature. It should be noted that Nebraska has the lone unicameral legislative body at the state level in the nation. As such, the legislation will face more votes before it can possibly move out of the legislature. Gov. Pete Ricketts (R) previously pledged he would sign a constitutional-carry bill into law if it reached his desk.

“Law-abiding Nebraskans who are legally allowed to own a firearm should not have to jump through hoops to exercise their constitutional rights,” said Ricketts in a statement last December.

It’s conceivable to think that, by year’s end, potentially half of the states in our country (or more) will have constitutional carry on the books, and law-abiding Americans will increasingly be able to exercise their Second Amendment rights without being hampered by governmental red tape.

It’s also worth mentioning that several other states came very close to passing constitutional carry last year, but governors to vetoed the legislation. In Pennsylvania, both chambers passed a form of constitutional carry, but Gov. Tom Wolf (D) vetoed the measure.

“In a lot of states, it is difficult just to get to this point,” said Darin Goens, NRA-ILA Pennsylvania state director. “It’s certainly still a victory, because, as we know, these are long-term things. A lot of positives come from this. Mainly, we have worked out the language of the bill, we understand where people had concerns, and we addressed them so that once Pennsylvania has a pro-Second Amendment governor, then we have everything ironed out.”

And in Louisiana, Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) vetoed the Bayou State’s version of constitutional carry. The state senate then upheld the governor’s veto shortly thereafter.

With all that said, there are now 24 states—and possibly more soon—that do not prohibit concealed carry without a permit. Even more incredible is the fact that just over 30 years ago, only one state allowed such. This monumental shift is in no small part thanks to the tireless work of NRA-ILA and the millions of NRA members who have made their voices heard.

As we’ve reported, over 21 million Americans now carry concealed, according to data from the Crime Prevention Research Center. And this rising tide of the expanding right to self-defense could see even greater gains through NRA-backed litigation, once the Supreme Court of the United States renders a decision on the pivotal New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen case.  “It is further evidence that Americans are exercising this critical constitutional right. With over 100 million gun owners in America, and now with over 20 million Americans with concealed-carry permits (and perhaps millions more carrying in the 21 constitutional-carry states), attorneys representing New York in this critical U.S. Supreme Court case can’t honestly argue that citizens don’t want and need this particular constitutional freedom. Americans are clearly saying they want and need this right,” wrote America’s 1st Freedom Editor in Chief Frank Miniter.

Let’s hope freedom continues to spread throughout our nation, and we’ll keep you updated as it continues to do so.

If you live in one of the states that has yet to recognize this right, make sure to contact your local legislators and get in touch with NRA Grassroots to take action and help advance freedom.

(This article was updated on March 22 to include Indiana's passage of constitutional carry.)

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