The Trace: Open Carry Driving Move to Constitutional Carry

Texas gun rally (courtesy

“A veto override will make West Virginia the ninth state to allow gun owners to carry without a license,”‘s announces. “At least 19 others are considering similar legislation.” The story beneath the subhead make for some delicious reading, as writer Mike Spies struggles to put a negative spin on a positive development for gun rights. (A slightly negative spin; The Trace’s page rankings and thus traffic depend on avoiding being ID’ed by Google gatekeepers as anti-gun agitprop.) Here’s what Spies spies with his little eye when it comes to the move away from gun control . . .

In some states, allowing gun owners to carry concealed without a permit is seen by supporters as a natural extension of older laws authorizing the open carry of firearms without a license: If the permit requirement is leading some gun owners to choose open carry, and if open carry tends to lead to more problematic public spectacles than concealed carry, then making it easier to carry concealed solves that problem.

Where’d he come up with that one? Not only haven’t I heard that argument, it doesn’t make any sense. Excluding the occasional Chipotle ninja, open carry hasn’t led to “more problematic spectacles.” Certainly not here in Texas, where zero you-know-whats were given when permitted open carry became Lone Star law.

To be fair — which is what The Trace must appear to be — Spies’ article includes quotes from actual Constitutional Carry advocates, balanced, of course, by gun control groupthink. Like this . . .

The push for permitless carry is part of the larger movement that seeks to establish new norms for the carrying of handguns in American society, wherein the ideal is a country that places no restrictions on gun owners. Proponents believe the mere existence of the Second Amendment nullifies the necessity for a permit requirement. “People don’t want to pay a fee to the state for a right that is guaranteed by the constitution,” Mike Mosher, a police officer in Kansas who owns a firearms training company called Tactical Simulations Solutions, tells The Trace.

Some supporters go farther, framing the freedom to carry guns in public for self defense as divinely given. Back in February, Senator Blair struck this note, arguing that his bill was an extension of the “God-given right to be able to protect yourself.”

In Kansas, a concealed carry permit costs $132.50, and the training fees can cost between $75 and $150. Last July, the state stopped requiring lawful gun owners to procure licenses should they wish to carry concealed handguns. According to Mosher, the new law has improved his business.

“What we’re finding is people don’t mind paying for training classes,” he says. “In fact, they want to learn about safety and decision-making. It’s not good enough to carry a gun if you don’t know the proper time to present and shoot it.”

Law enforcement tends to agree with that sentiment, while arriving at the opposite policy prescription. In West Virginia, the Executive Director of the West Virginia Sheriff’s Association said that the state’s mandatory training requirement is “paramount” to ensuring public safety. “Someone really needs to know what happens on the business end of that gun. It’s not a piece of jewelry and it’s not an adornment.”

By issuing permits, police are also able to keep track of how many people are walking around with firearms. After Kansas became a permitless state, a gun owner in the state criticized the law and the NRA for supporting it. “Why in the world would they bypass the opportunity to have permit holders on record?” he asked a reporter from the Wichita Eagle.

Speaking of The Creator…God, I love winning.