One of the fastest growing Second Amendment concepts is Constitutional carry, which allows for the possession outside the home of a handgun, carried either openly, or concealed-- without a permit.

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Where did it come from?

For the first century of the United States' existence, this concept was the law of the land. Following the Civil War, many "reconstructed" Southern States adopted gun laws to control (depending on which legal scholars you read) either A.anti-Union groups or B. former freed slaves or C. both from carrying guns openly or without a permit.

Then came the Sullivan Act in New York in 1911 and other states jumping in sideways to stamp out the practice of unlicensed concealed carry. By the 1930s, the only state not to ban it was Vermont-- who never did and still has constitutional carry today. However, several states are returning to the good old days so to speak.


Advocates for constitutional carry often cite that the Second Amendment, which guarantees the right to keep and bear arms should not be taxed. In theory, by paying a licensing fee, this is a tax to the state or local government to, in effect, rent your rights back.

Why not?

Those who advocate against constitutional carry often do so by citing that in most states, by requiring a concealed carry permit which often comes with extensive background checks on the federal, state, and local level, and a smattering of firearms safety training, it ensures that those with a permit A. know the law, B. the law knows them and is alright with them carrying a gun in public, and C. in states where training is mandated, knows that the person has some safety course behind them.

Where is it legal?

Besides Vermont, which has always had the practice, since 2003 Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Kansas, and Wyoming have all adopted constitutional carry. Further, two states (Idaho and Montana) allow for it in rural areas while requiring permits for carry in those state's few large cities. Two more, New Hampshire and New Mexico, allow a form of constitutional carry as long as the pistol or revolver is on Condition Two (loaded magazine or cylinder but without a round in the chamber or No. 1 cylinder).

Mississippi this year adopted what many term as 90 percent constitutional carry that allows for lawful open carry as well as concealed carry without a permit so long as the concealed gun is "fully enclosed" inside a bag, purse, briefcase, or other satchel.

So in all, 11 out of 50 states have some form of the practice-- most of these adopted in the past decade.

In most of these areas, the state still allows for purchasing a concealed carry permit, which in many cases will allow for carry in areas that the unpermitted carry does not. For instance, an Enhanced Carry permit in Mississippi allows the licensee to carry in most "gun free zones" while those who open carry or do not have a permit cannot.

Further, a state issued CCW allows for carry out of state due to the current and complex system of reciprocity agreements.

Where is it trying to be legal?

Since the dawn of the Millennium, no less than 20 states not mentioned above have tried to bring it to fruition including Second Amendment giant Texas. In at least two cases, in West Virginia and in Montana (who sought to repeal he requirement for a permit in urban areas) passed legislation to allow the measure only to see it blown down by Democratic governors.

In New Hampshire, state lawmakers did the same last week but their Democratic governor is promising a veto.

Still, if you count 10 or so states added every 10 years and assume that the trend continues, within another generation we may very well see constitutional carry as the law of the land in the majority of the country--, which may just be closer to what the founding fathers believed in.

What are your thoughts on constitutional carry? Drop em below.