Back in the day, when the Texas legislature was considering reforming the licensing system for concealed carry, a lot of politicians were caught unawares. They had no idea Texans needed a permit to carry a firearm. They assumed carrying a gun was a citizen’s birthright, which it is, protected by the U.S. Constitution, no less. And now . . .

Texas is moving in the direction of permitless or constitutional carry, looking to join Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Idaho (residents only), Kansas, Maine, Mississippi, Missouri, Vermont, West Virginia and Wyoming (residents only). There are a lot of good arguments for this trend. Here are the top three:

1. Look at Vermont!

The main argument against Constitutional Carry: it’s dangerous! If you let people carry a gun without a background check and training, they’ll shoot the wrong person! Cops won’t know who’s the good guy and who’s the bad guy! And there’ll be more people carrying, leading to more “gun violence.”

You could counter these objections one-by-one, but it’s better to just say “look at Vermont.” Green Mountain State residents have enjoyed constitutional carry since the Constitution was enacted. According to the FBI’s 2015 stats, Vermont is the safest state in the country, with a violent crime rate of 118 incidents per 100k residents.

That’s not to say Vermont is the safest state in the U.S. because of constitutional carry. But their crime rates show that constitutional carry doesn’t create crime. Why would it? Criminals get guns no matter what the law says (they’re criminals, after all). Constitutional carry makes it easier for law-abiding citizens to keep and bear arms. Which leads us to . . .

2. Carry Permits Punish the Poor!

Some states make getting a permit to carry a firearm cheap and easy (e.g. Washington). Some states make it extremely expensive and time-consuming, to the point of impossibility (e.g. New Jersey, Hawaii).

Either way, society’s poorest members don’t have the time or money to jump through all the hoops needed to secure a permit to carry a firearm. What’s more, they lack the ability and/or desire to deal with the bureaucracy in charge of issuing licenses.

Constitutional carry makes it possible for all Americans to exercise their natural, civil and constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms, regardless of their income or education. Speaking of which . . .

3. Carry Permits Are Unconstitutional!

The Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitutional 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.” Requiring Americans to petition the government to exercise their right to keep and bear arms is as clear an infringement as requiring Americans to pass a literacy test to exercise their right to vote. Clearer even.

What other constitutionally protected right do Americans have to pay to exercise? The right to free speech? The right to religious freedom? The people arguing against constitutional carry see the right to keep and bear arms as an exception. Because death! Which takes you back to argument number one: Vermont.

Or Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Idaho (residents only), Kansas, Maine, Mississippi, Missouri, Vermont, West Virginia and Wyoming. And soon, New Hampshire. And one day, Texas.

Recommended For You

44 Responses to Three Best Arguments for Constitutional Carry

  1. “What other constitutionally protected right do Americans have to pay to exercise? The right to free speech? The right to religious freedom? The people arguing against constitutional carry see the right to keep and bear arms as an exception. Because death!”

    I have long opined that the best way to correctly evaluate the application of restrictions to the Second Amendment is to consider how such application would be received if applied to the First Amendment. It works every time.

    • The 2nd Amendment will always be the odd duck out in the Bill of Rights, simply because, for the most part, you have to purchase something to exercise it. This leads to all sorts of issues. Some argue that the sales tax applying to firearms and ammunition is unconstitutional. Some argue that zoning laws that make it difficult to sell firearms in a population center are unconstitutional because they inconvenience gun owners who have to drive out of town. As I said before, the 2nd Amendment faces a lot of problems that don’t really apply to the others.

      • A sales tax which applies equally to a new sofa or an AR, or 1000 rds of ammo, is just fine. A “tax” on firearms only is clearly unconstitutional, since it can be made into a prohibition at the stroke of a pen (10,000% tax).

        • SCOTUS has ruled that a tax on a certain activity, even if religion-blind, is unconstitutional if it interferes with the free exercise of religion (McCutcheon, 1971 IIRC). So to treat the Second equally with the first, a tax that is arms-blind, because it interferes with the free exercise of the right to keep and bear arms, should be unconstitutional.

          And if a poll tax, a cost imposed on the exercise of a non-enumerated right, is unconstitutional, then a cost imposed on an enumerated right is most certainly unconstitutional.

      • Look at the 1st Amendment. There are all sorts of regulations and taxes on speech or the tools of speech. There are taxes on all sorts of religious items.

        The 2nd Amendment isn’t that substantively different from the 1st.

  2. Novelty cigarette lighters, such as the one pictured above, most likely do not require Constitutional protection.

    I wouldn’t recommend carrying one for self defense, though.

  3. #3 negates the need for #1 and #2.

    Our founders would shake their heads at the idea of the government charging money for a permission slip to bear arms, especially a permission slip that the government could deny without due process.

    The very idea that the government gets to decide who can be armed and who can’t, is exactly what the 2A is designed to guard against.

    • #3 should negate the need for any other argument. It, however, does not negate the need for other arguments because only 11 out of 50 states have constitutional carry. If #3 was a sufficient argument, then all 50 would have constitutional carry.

  4. What other constitutionally protected right do Americans have to pay to exercise?
    Public Assembly permits depending on location require you pay a fee

    Also Vermont is a bad example. Being the safest state probably has never prompted them to pass any gun control laws. Get a bunch of Black Panthers marching into the Capital caring shotguns and then we will see what happens

    https://img.buzzfeed.com/buzzfeed-static/static/2016-02/23/22/enhanced/webdr08/enhanced-6975-1456286019-10.jpg

    • Completely bogus argument, assuming VT has somehow developed “safety” independently from all other states, without a single shred of evidence other than “you wish”. There has never been any reason why VT would have developed any differently than ND, MT, ME, several others. The easiest assumption to support would be that the lack of gun control has made them safer, and that is next to impossible. But your assumption is simply stupid.

      • And you are making the bogus argument, also unsupported by evidence, that Vermont is safer because it has constitutional carry. It would be far more logical to suggest that Vermont has a low crime rate because it is sparsely populated and mostly rural. Start packing people into cities and the rate of violent crime goes up. Way up. The bigger the city, the more the crime. And the statistics back it up.

    • The very fact that Vermont is a Constitutional Carry state is what no doubt deters radical and violent groups like the Black Panthers from marching armed in the streets.

      Just sayin’

  5. What other constitutionally protected right do Americans have to pay to exercise?
    Public Assembly permits depending on location require you pay a fee

    Also Vermont is a bad example. Being the safest state probably has never prompted them to pass any gun control laws. Get a bunch of Black Panthers marching into the Capital caring shotguns and then we will see what happens

  6. “As clear an infringement as requiring Americans to pass a literacy test to exercise their right to vote.”
    It’s getting to be that maybe that aint such a bad idea….

    • Just note that you would most likely be one of those prohibited from voting. ‘Ain’t’ is somewhat of an English shibboleth, drawing distinction between the literate and illiterate.

      • VerendusAudeo: With the power vested in me by my English degree, I now pronounce you a pompous pedant.

        Ain’t is a perfectly reasonable and understandable contraction with hundreds of years of history. It is the way many people in this great nation speak, of all education levels. To claim that the usage of ain’t makes one illiterate betrays a lack of understanding of American English and a swollen head.

  7. 4. Carry Permits mean that your POS neighbors don’t trust you. Why should we? AND, IT PROVES TO US that we can’t trust them.

  8. The authors (James Madison and George Mason) of the Second made it quite clear what they meant by the words they used when they were called upon to appear before state legislatures and explain their words and intent. All citizens of a certain age group are automatically considered to be members of militia. They did not demand that those members be required to train to do something which was commonly expected to be a normal experience… young boys shooting rabbits (they also went fishing). Such common practices by young boys continued into the 1950s and early 1960s even in urban areas. The state legislatures accepted their testimony and adopted the Second. It was then included in the ratification process of the US Constitution. The states further included the Second the individual state constitutions.

    No court in the land, nor any legislature, should find need to “interpret” that which the states had already ratified after listening to the authors words which remain for us today.

    It seems that the left is incapable of reading comprehension, and too lazy to research for themselves the reasons the states ratified the Second. They can’t accept that long after the first states ratified the Second, the new states joining the union accepted the Constitution and they, too, included the words of the Second; indeed, the whole Constitution; into their state constitutions right up to 1959. The left is so lazy that they simply accept what they are told by socialist professors. Professors who want the students to accept without question, and to bypass the established means of altering any portion of the Constitution in a legitimate way (amendment process). So much for critical thinking.

    As in the days of Founders, it may be necessary for us to indulge in civil disobediences, from refusal to comply with illegal regulations, and perhaps even hiding what we have.

  9. And another thing- if you’re ever trapped into an argument with a liberal about firearms rights, and they come up with that BS about militias, stop them right there. The Bill of Rights did not create rights. Rather, it was created to protect our natural God-given rights from the government. The right to keep and bear arms is one of those natural rights we all are born with.

    • Umm, no. Natural rights absolutely exist, but the left denies that. You’ll never win an argument with a liberal like that, any more than you’ll win an argument with an atheist by saying, “it’s in the Bible”.

      • Not to put too fine a point on it, nor to start an argument, but “natural laws/natural rights” can be observed wherever there is nature. Find one living thing for me that has not evolved some sort of natural defensive mechanism for its own survival, some of them quite lethal to its enemies. Therfore, “The right to keep and bear arms” is a natural law.

        The Holy Bible, however, the supposed word of God, is only agreed to by perhaps 25% of humans and zero percent of other living things, since they have never read it, and a significant percentage of that 25% have differing interpretations of what the Bible says or means and another significant percentage are plain hypocrites.

    • I tell them that if they will show me the law that requires people to participate in an organized militia then maybe they have a point. Then I tell them that if they can’t find that law I guess we’re only left with “the right of the people to keep and bare arms shall not be infringed.”

  10. The first argument, “Because Vermont” is weak. Vermont is unique. It is mostly white, mostly rural.

    The second argument is probably true, but taxes do not infringe the “right” to keep and bear arms, only the opportunity to exercise the right. Which is why the NFA passed, since Congress did not believe that a tax infringed the Second Amendment. So the second argument is an uphill climb.

    The third argument is only half right. There is no recognized right to carry a concealed weapon under long established authority. While it is certainly arguable that that authority no longer reflects the times, where open carry is seriously frowned upon in “polite company,” state case law holding that a ban on concealed carry was constitutional as long as open carry was allowed were cited with approval in Heller.

    Again, an uphill climb. Except for Charles Nichols, who has been arguing all along the the only right protected by the Second is a right to openly bear arms.

    The Ninth Circuit declared in Peruta v. Gore that there is no right to a concealed carry permit (joining the Second, Third and Fourth Circuits), implying but expressly not deciding that there is a constitutional right to openly bear arms.

    Nichols’ case (filed years ago but stayed pending Peruta) seeks to have the court decide that as a matter of law there is a right to openly bear arms. The State, which admitted in oral arguments in Peruta that the Second extends outside the home, is trying to delay the case, dragging its feet on filing its brief.

    Perhaps the State is hiping that the Supreme Court will grant cert in Peruta. If cert is granted, Nichols might get stayed again. If cert is not granted, there will likely be a very long delay before the court files its decision after oral argument, as it most certainly does NOT want to suddenly declare that all Californians have a right to openly bear arms–but has painted itself into a corner.

    It will be very hard pressed to say there is no right to concealed carry and then somehow conclude that there is no right to open carry outside the home either.

    If I was a betting man, I’d bet that the Court applies so-called “intermediate scrutiny” and finds that the carrying of guns affects the public interest in safety, and that the government therefore may lawfully “regulate” that right with time, place, and manner restrictions, and that the open carry ban–which applies only in incorporated cities and towns but not in rural areas, state and national parks, etc. is a constitutional exercise of the police power.

    Obviously, if that were to happen, an appeal to the Supreme Court would follow.

    • I should add that if the Ninth is smart–which in its anti-guns animus it is not–it would find that there is a constitutionally protected right to carry out side the home for purposes of self-defense, but that the State may regulate the carrying of firearms as long as it allows carry “in some manner.” This would give the State an “out” just as the Seventh Circuit gave Illinois an out, allowing the State to opt for open carry (very unlikely and something that would be hugely unpopular with the majority of residents), constitutional carry (impossible) or “shall issue” concealed carry.

      • “it would find that there is a constitutionally protected right to carry out side the home for purposes of self-defense, but that the State may regulate the carrying of firearms as long as it allows carry “in some manner.”

        That I would *love* to see that go down in California, especially if the Court were to direct that the mode of carry would be determined by a ballot initiative.

        Just *imagine* the uproar when the competing sides present their case to the public with TV and radio spots, and the sniveling and whining in the newspaper editorials

        Some ‘snowflakes’ demanding it be open carry, so that way they would know who was carrying, other ‘snowflakes’ demanding that they *never* want to see someone strapped.

        The TV spots each vilifying the other side’s position; the shrieks of ‘rivers of blood will be flowing in the streets’ .

        Progressive heads will be exploding like popcorn, while we watch them while pointing fingers at them and laughing uncontrollably at the impossible choice they have to make on election day…

        *sigh*

        Can’t a guy dream a little? 🙂

    • I just found out that the State of California files its answering brief today. It characterizes Nichols’ claim as a right to unimpeded open carry in nonsensitive areas (which is accurate–Charles is not a fan of concealed carry.) The state contends that a stand-alone right to carry a firearm openly in most public places “does not exist under the Second Amendment.” .

    • The point of Vermont isn’t to prove that constitutional carry makes it safer, but to prove that it doesn’t make it less safe. If it doesn’t make society less safe then the government has no compelling reason to infringe that which shall not be infringed.

      • Since Vermont has always had constitutional carry, its experience cannot be cited for the proposition that Con Carry does not increase violent crime, and there is no pre-ConCarry experience to which to compare.

        Further, as noted, Vermont is a unique case, demographically speaking, and its experience does not statistically translate to other places.

        Finally, California’s brief in Nichols cites a number of studies finding increases in violent crime associated with right to carry laws.

        Since Nichols was decided in the pleadings and not evidence, the validity of those studies has not been questioned, although in fairness, the State does concede that there are other studies that have failed to replicated those results.

        The brief is on Scibd, and it is quite well written, though there are logical flaws that perhaps Nicho9ls will recognize and be able to exploit.

        For example, the brief seemingly asserts–without addressing the Peruta holding that there is no constitutional right to concealed carry–that a state may permissibly chose the manner of carry in public it allows.

        Even if it means that there can be no carry in urban areas absent exigent circumstances or a concealed “may issue” carry permit.

        • “Since Nichols was decided in the pleadings and not evidence, the validity of those studies has not been questioned…”

          Given that my case was decided on the pleadings, those studies are not admissible on appeal. The state was required to submit all of its evidence in the trial court so that I could challenge it, at trial if need be. Courts of appeal are not trial courts and they resent it when parties treat them like one. Every question raised in my Opening Brief is to be decided as a pure question of law. Every fact alleged in my Complaint and in my Statement of Uncontroverted Facts as well as my Declarations are presumed to be true on appeal.

          The state’s attorney got lazy and left the magistrate judge and district court judge assigned to my case to make his case for him. By doing so he forget that under any level of heightened scrutiny the burden of proof lies with the state. The state did not submit any proof to justify the bans. It did not even file any declarations, expert or otherwise in support of the bans. Intermediate scrutiny cuts both ways. The states procedural default in meeting its burden places the Court in an awkward position and I suspect that even the Second Amendment haters on the Court don’t like being placed in an awkward position.

    • “[S]tate case law holding that a ban on concealed carry was constitutional as long as open carry was allowed were cited with approval in Heller.”

      No case law cited by Heller even remotely implied that a ban on concealed carry would become constitutional if Open Carry were banned. Until the now vacated and sharply divided three judge panel decision in Peruta v. San Diego was published, no court (state or Federal) had ever held that concealed carry would be legal if Open Carry were banned.

      And you are right, the state finally got around to filing its Answering Brief. Much to my surprise the state did not raise any procedural or jurisdictional issues which would have allowed the court of appeals to avoid deciding the Second Amendment question. Given that the state concedes that I have standing to challenge the laws, the 9th circuit court of appeals will have to decide my case on the merits. Unfortunately for the state, they have placed all of their chips on two bets: 1) That a law is constitutional unless it is unconstitutional in every application (which Heller and McDonald explicitly rejected) and 2) That the Second Amendment doesn’t mean what Heller and McDonald says it means.

      If the state wins either of those bets then it creates multiple SCOTUS Rule 10 splits, it conflicts with US Supreme Court precedents and it conflicts with 9th circuit precedents. The judges on the 9th circuit know this. They also know that the longer they wait to decide my case the more likely it is that President Trump will have filled the four vacancies on the 9th circuit not to mention potentially new vacancies on SCOTUS.

  11. Best reason: eventually NJ and CA residents are going to move to your state, and will take away your guns. Get protection enshrined in your Constitution before it’s too late.

    • Roadrunner: GREAT reason, but do they leave their states because they are unsafe, or just been despoiled, because of their commune-ist actions? (I’m from NY, I feel it’s lower than CA and NJ in most of the successful [blue-state] “race to the bottom.”)

  12. The only thing and or ideology that gives one a right to defend their own life; is a conscious recognition of said life. Laws and regulations and other doctrine of man are there to remind others that you have value.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *