Constitutional and permitless carry are divisive topics among not only the general population, but gun owners as well. Some feel that if we allow anyone to carry a gun without a permit, the nation will turn into a cliché version of the Wild West, with blood running in the streets.
Curiously, most detractors are left stuttering when questioned how permit requirements stop hardened criminals from breaking the law.
As of this writing, half of the states in the union have some form of permitless or constitutional carry, with the nation being no more bloody than it was before. With this in mind, let’s look at some reasons why constitutional carry should be the law, and not the exception.
Turn and Face the Strange Changes
I recently moved across the country for work. I’ve left a Midwestern state with relaxed gun laws, and found myself in the southwest. Unfortunately the laws here aren’t quite as good as they were back home, but I’ve managed to avoid anything resembling draconian states like California.
As a new resident, it’s time for me to get a new carry permit, as the new home doesn’t recognize my old state’s permit. Here, we have to be permit holders to legally conceal carry throughout the state. Open carry is legal without a license, but I’ve spoken elsewhere about the shortcomings of that method.
My first step is getting a state-issued ID for proof of identity before setting up a permit appointment. My new state requires an appointment for any DMV services, with wait times currently sitting at six weeks for appointments at the earliest.
Once I get my new ID, it’s time to schedule an appointment for my CCW permit. These wait times are currently averaging 120 days to be seen by a local law enforcement agency. That means I have nearly six months of waiting to get my carry permit to be legally covered, and that’s if everything goes right on the first attempt.
Think about that for a moment. I am legally prohibited from effectively protecting myself or my family for half a year without a piece of plastic saying I passed the lowest common denominator test, and cutting multiple checks to our benevolent overlords.
Criminals, by the way, aren’t held to this standard, and unfortunately, crime doesn’t wait. Lots of people — especially women — have been hurt or killed while waiting for carry permits and to take possession of their firearm purchases.
Where Do We Go Now?
That leaves us with three options for now; open carry, illegally carry, or don’t carry. I’ve mentioned my concerns on open carry elsewhere. Breaking the law is never something I recommend people do, as that instantly takes you from “law-abiding” to “criminal,” no matter the moral justification. Everyone is welcome to make their own choices based upon their personal values and risk assumptions.
Not carrying is far from ideal as well, as we can see above. Of course the gun isn’t our only method of personal protection, but it’s an incredibly effective one, and provides capabilities not possible with other tools.
That puts the average citizen between a rock and a hard place, facing the long arm or the law, or the knife point of a ne’er-do-well.
Won’t Back Down
Self defense is a natural right, inherent to all creatures in the animal kingdom, yet somehow we’ve allowed ourselves to become the only creatures in the animal kingdom to willingly restrict our ability to protect ourselves and others. Lions have claws and fangs, scorpions have their tails and claws.
People have our fists and technology. Forcing people to disarm for lack of paperwork is both illogical and unethical, even more so in the face of a criminal element that discards these “requirements” like an old shoe, ready to prey upon the vulnerable.
As we’ve seen recently, these laws are not set in stone. States have been steadily making changes to their permitting process, and that has only been helped along by recent SCOTUS rulings forcing many places to reevaluate their policies.
As citizens, we must make our voices heard and fight for the expansion of our rights everywhere. Not only to help ourselves, but those more vulnerable as well.
If your state doesn’t allow permitless carry, do the work to change that. What have you done to help expand the right of self defense for you and your neighbors?