Constitutional carry has come a long way. We’re now up to 14 states in which the only permit you need to keep and bear arms is the Second Amendment of the US Constitution.
Progress is currently being made in Kentucky (where a constitutional carry bill has passed the Senate) and Oklahoma (where a constitutional carry bill has passed the House). They’re in a gun rights race to join Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Idaho (residents only), Kansas, Maine, Mississippi, Missouri, New Hampshire, North Dakota (residents only; concealed carry only), South Dakota, Vermont, West Virginia and Wyoming (residents only).
Opponents continue to use all the same tired tactics in opposition to constitutional carry laws claiming that it will result in widespread mayhem and ankle-deep blood in the streets. In Oklahoma, they’re holding church vigils and in Kentucky they’re publishing op-eds claiming it’s a threat to public safety because locals can’t possibly be trusted to pack heat responsibly.
There are a lot of good arguments for permitless carry, but the next time you run into a skeptic, 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 even 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 2018 stats, Vermont has the second lowest violent crime rate in the country. And number one is Maine, another constitutional carry state!
That’s not to say Vermont is so safe 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. 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 (Alabama). Some states make it extremely expensive and time-consuming, to the point of impossibility (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. Dealing with the expense and bureaucracy involved in getting a license is a huge disincentive. For the states that put up the most roadblocks, that’s a feature, not a bug.
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. 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 an enumerated right is as clear an infringement as requiring Americans to pass a literacy test to exercise their right to vote.
What other constitutionally protected right do Americans have to pay to exercise? The right to free speech? The right to religious freedom?
The people who argue against constitutional carry see bearing arms as an exception to the others in the Bill of Rights. Because danger and death. Which takes you right back to argument number one: Vermont.
Or Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Idaho, Kansas, Maine, Mississippi, Missouri, New Hampshire, North Dakota, South Dakota, West Virginia and Wyoming. Hopefully soon Kentucky and Oklahoma, too. And maybe, one day, even Texas.