Constitutional Carry Is Now Legal in 27 States
In 2023, a significant milestone was reached in the realm of gun rights as the United States officially became a constitutional carry-majority nation with 27 states allowing permitless carry. This shift in gun laws represents a significant victory for Second Amendment advocates and a defeat for the gun control lobby’s efforts to dismantle self-defense laws.
Constitutional carry laws, also known as permitless carry laws, grant legal residents the right to carry a concealed firearm without the need for a government-issued permit. These laws effectively eliminate the requirement for law-abiding citizens to seek government permission to exercise their inherent right to self-defense.
2022 saw a surge in states passing permitless carry laws, with Georgia’s new law taking effect at the beginning of 2023. However, it was Florida that led the way in March of 2023 when the state Senate approved a constitutional carry bill. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed the NRA-backed bill into law in April, with the law taking effect in July — making it the 26th constitutional carry state. This momentous step was soon followed by Nebraska, where Republican Governor Jim Pillen signed a similar law into effect in September making it the 27th constitutional carry state.
The list of states with constitutional carry laws now includes Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wyoming.
While the expansion of constitutional carry laws has led to a slight decrease in the number of Americans with concealed carry permits, it’s essential to understand that this decline doesn’t equate to fewer armed citizens. In fact, more Americans are carrying concealed firearms thanks to these laws.
John Lott, founder and President of the Crime Prevention Research Center (CPRC), explained that this decline in permits is primarily due to constitutional carry states, where obtaining a permit is not required. In these states, the cost and administrative hurdles associated with obtaining a permit are eliminated, leading more people to carry without the need for official documentation.
In states without constitutional carry laws, the process of obtaining a concealed carry permit can be expensive and time-consuming. By removing these barriers, constitutional carry laws make it more accessible for law-abiding citizens to exercise their Second Amendment rights. These laws are especially important for underserved communities, where individuals may face higher crime rates, allowing them to better protect themselves and their families.
NRA Executive Vice President and CEO Wayne LaPierre emphasized the organization’s commitment to championing constitutional carry legislation nationwide. He asserted that the NRA would continue to advocate for these laws until they become the standard across the country.
With constitutional carry, law-abiding citizens can defend themselves without requiring government permission, aligning with the fundamental principles of the Second Amendment. The growing acceptance of constitutional carry reflects a shift towards recognizing and upholding the right to self-defense as a fundamental and unassailable aspect of American liberty.
In conclusion, 2023 marked a significant turning point in the fight for gun rights in the United States, with more states embracing constitutional carry laws. This trend reflects a growing commitment to protecting the Second Amendment and ensuring that law-abiding citizens have the means to defend themselves without unnecessary government intervention. The NRA remains dedicated to advancing constitutional carry legislation and expanding the recognition of this fundamental right across the nation.