What Is Constitutional Carry and Why Is It Making Headlines?
One of the forefront issues dominating the Second Amendment headlines this year is Constitutional Carry, otherwise known as “permitless carry.” Permitless carry is rooted in the idea that we have the constitutional right to carry a firearm for our protection and, therefore, no concealed weapons permit is needed to exercise that right.
You’ve probably seen these terms making headlines because multiple states have passed this in 2021. By the end of this calendar year, the United States will have at least 21 states allowing some form of permitless carry.
Debunking Common Concerns About Constitutional Carry
Will Society Become Less Safe?
It is worth noting that anti-gun activists falsely complain that every new law expanding the rights of a law-abiding citizen to carry a firearm legally makes our society less safe.
The Michael Bloomburg-run Everytown for Gun Safety organization touts that permitless carry makes society less safe because violent criminals can carry guns without permits.
Their logic is flawed because a violent criminal, in most cases, would be legally barred from owning or carrying a firearm. It’s also humorous to assume a violent criminal would concern themselves with training and proper permits before carjacking someone.
Will More Conflicts Be Resolved with Gun Violence?
A 2019 NPR article quoted an anti-gun politician as saying that more conflicts will be resolved via gun fights in a Wild West fashion. This statement was released after Oklahoma enacted permitless carry, and it proved to be inaccurate. Between 2019 and 2020, violent crime dropped slightly in Oklahoma. This timeframe reflected the first full calendar year that permitless carry was in place.
Even the very anti-gun USA Today fact checkers admitted that, while permitless carry in West Virginia may or may not have substantially lowered violent crimes, it certainly has not increased them since the law was enacted in 2016.
Do Permits Impact Individuals in Lesser Economic Positions?
Even if we ignore the faulty logic that a constitutionally protected right should only come with a permit from the government, we cannot ignore the harm this does to people in lesser economic positions.
Here’s a hypothetical situation: A woman in Ohio is experiencing a domestic abuse situation and is fearful for her life. This woman will be required to spend an average of $200 for the necessary training and application fees that come with a concealed handgun license. If she needs an emergency permit before getting training, she will spend about $50 more for the temporary license. This is an unacceptable financial burden for this woman who is merely trying to protect herself; really, an unacceptable burden on anybody in a lesser economic position who is trying to protect their loved ones.
Know the Laws in Each State
Regardless of whether a state requires a permit to carry a concealed firearm, it is imperative that you know that state’s laws regarding the carrying of a firearm on your person. Every state is different.
For example, the following states allow some form of permitless carry but the rules differ greatly. In Kentucky, you must be 21 years old to carry a concealed firearm without a permit, but in Idaho, you may do so at the age of 18. In Tennessee, you must have a concealed carry permit to carry in a state park, and in Arizona you must have a concealed carry permit to carry in any establishment that serves alcohol.
Why You Should Still Obtain Your CCW permit
Despite all of the benefits of permitless carry, I suggest getting a concealed carry permit in your home state in order to take advantage of the reciprocity granted by other states when you are traveling. If I did not have a CCW permit, there are 21 other states where I would be able to carry a firearm, however, with my Ohio permit, I can lawfully carry in 28 states.
You must also consider some of the restrictions to those without permits, such as the Tennessee park exception already mentioned. There is no downside to having a CCW permit, but mandating a permit is a meritless restriction on a law- abiding citizen.
Essential Training for Carrying a Weapon
Regardless of whether you choose to carry with a CCW permit, or to exercise your constitutional right to carry a firearm without a permit in a jurisdiction that allows for it, training is still essential. Consistent training from certified instructors will keep your skills sharp and will allow you will exercise the critical rules of firearm safety. These safety rules apply at the range and in a self-defense situation.
Learning when and how to pull the trigger is only part of good training. Learning how to diffuse a situation or to recognize and get out of a situation without ever exposing your firearm or pulling the trigger is just as important, if not more important. Competent trainers will not only teach you skills to keep you safe but will likely keep you out of prison by helping you to learn how to react under duress and discern the justifiable use of force.
Find local CCW training classes in your state.
Should Constitutional Carry Be Legal?
Here’s my take. The first amendment allows us rights to speak freely and to express our faith without obtaining a permit in advance. Similarly, the issue of responsible carry of a firearm without a license should be permissible as well. Constitutional carry is not a threat to society.