April 15, 2019
Constitutional Carry is the basic principle that if you are legally eligible to purchase a firearm, you should be able to carry that weapon, concealed, for self-defense without government “permission."
Constitutional Carry laws recognize the right of every law-abiding citizen to carry a firearm, openly or concealed, on their person, without having to receive government permission in the form of a mandatory state-issued permit.
These laws affirm the nature of our individual God-given right to be armed, as codified in the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution which states:
"A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."
Constitutional Carry may also be referred to as Freedom to Carry, Permit-less Carry or Vermont Carry. Constitutional Carry is not “Unrestricted Carry”. It also does not abolish existing permit systems, or their corresponding reciprocity agreements.
Passing a Constitutional Carry bill is my key objective as President of the National Association for Gun Rights, and the primary goal of our State Affiliates. As of 2019, 15 states have adopted Constitutional Carry, making it is one of hottest pro-gun fights of the last decade.
The Makings of a Good Constitutional Carry Bill:
At NAGR, there are certain standards for what constitutes a clean Constitutional Carry bill. Constitutional Carry’s popularity in pro-gun states is undeniable, but conniving politicians will often peddle so-called Constitutional Carry or Permit-less Carry bills riddled with flaws.
There are 4 key features you will see in a clean Constitutional Carry bill:
Current Constitutional Carry States:
From the formation of the 13 original states, Constitutional Carry was the law in all states until the 1800s. By the 20th century, all states except Vermont had enacted concealed carry bans, with an exemption in most states for those citizens with a permit.
For many decades, the only state to allow "Constitutional Carry" of a handgun (i.e. without any government permit) was Vermont.
On June 11, 2003, Alaska Governor Frank Murkowski signed House Bill 102, which removed the requirement to obtain a concealed weapons permit in order to carry a concealed firearm.
On April 16, 2010, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer signed Senate Bill 1108 which was very similar to Alaska's bill.
On March 2, 2011 Wyoming Governor Matt Mead signed SF 47 to allow Constitutional Carry.
On July 8, 2015 Maine became a Constitutional Carry state when Governor Paul LePage signed LD 652 into law.
On April 2, 2015, Governor Sam Brownback signed SB 45, making Constitutional Carry the law of the land in Kansas.
On March 5, 2016, West Virginia became the seventh state to pass Constitutional Carry, HB 4145, into law.
Governor Butch Otter signed SB 1389, the Constitutional Carry bill, March 24, 2016.
Constitutional Carry, HB 786, passed the Legislature and was signed into law by Governor Phil Bryant on April 15, 2016; making Mississippi the ninth state to remove the permit requirement for concealed carry.
In May of 2016, SB 656 cleared both chambers of the Missouri General Assembly with an overwhelming margin. The bill contained provisions to enact both “Constitutional Carry” and “Stand Your Ground laws.” On June 27, 2016, Governor Nixon vetoed the bill and a veto override session was scheduled. On September 14, 2016, Nixon’s veto was successfully overridden.
Constitutional Carry, SB 12, was signed into law by Governor Chris Sununu on February 22, 2017. SB 12 was a clean Constitutional Carry Bill and cleared both chambers with overwhelming support.
North Dakota’s troubled Constitutional Carry bill HB 1169 was signed by Governor Doug Burgum on March 23, 2017 and went into effect on August 1, 2017.
South Dakota signed Constitutional Carry on January 31, 2019. SB 47 repealed provisions, which prohibited anyone except law enforcement, from carrying a concealed handgun without a permit, or carrying a concealed handgun in ones car without a permit.
Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt signed Constitutional Carry bill HB 2597 into law on February 27, 2019 after a previous bill was vetoed by former Governor Mary Falin in 2018.
On March 11, 2019 Kentucky became the 15th state to pass Constitutional Carry when Governor Mat Bevin signed SB 150 into law.
States Considering Constitutional Carry in the 2019 Legislative Cycle:
The states considering, or that are likely to consider, Constitutional Carry in 2019 include Iowa, Texas, Tennessee, Indiana, North Carolina, and Georgia.
The Second Amendment states:
"A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."
Having law-abiding citizens beg the government to exercise their God-given right to self-defense is a direct assault on their right to “keep and bear arms”. There is no sound constitutional argument for licensed firearm carry.