Constitutional Carry Gaining Steam? Nine States Consider Lifting License Requirements

Several states might join the constitutional carry movement this year.

At least nine states are considering bills this year that would eliminate license requirements to carry a concealed firearm. The policy, known in the pro-gun community as “constitutional carry,” generally allows anyone who can legally own a handgun to carry it concealed without training or background check requirements.

Right now, 17 states allow some form of constitutional carry, and the measure has good odds of success in Utah, Montana, and Tennessee. Legislators in Texas, South Carolina, Florida, Indiana, Alabama and Georgia have also introduced bills allowing for permitless carry, according to Fox News.

Governors in Utah, Montana, and Tennessee have all agreed to sign the bill if passed by the legislature.

Newly-elected Utah Gov. Spencer Cox told local media earlier this year that he would support constitutional carry.

“I think there are now something like 17 states that have some sort of constitutional carry or permitless carry and so we would sign that bill,” he said.

SEE ALSO: Kentucky Becomes 17th Constitutional Carry State with Signature from Governor

During a debate in October, Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte pledged to support constitutional carry, and Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee introduced the legislation himself in February of last year.

“The Second Amendment is clear and concise and secures the freedoms of law-abiding citizens to keep and bear arms,” he said in a press release at the time. “I am pleased to announce Constitutional Carry legislation today that will protect the Second Amendment rights of Tennesseans, while also stiffening penalties on criminals who steal or illegally possess firearms.”

Despite support from governors, the passage of constitutional carry bills is anything but certain. Not all Republican lawmakers favor the idea, and a single committee chairman can often quash a piece of legislation before it ever reaches the house or senate floor.

In Texas’s last legislative session, for example, two key legislators killed a constitutional carry bill after a pro-gun activists showed up at their homes.

SEE ALSO: Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin Vetoes Constitutional Carry

“If you want to talk about issues and you want to advocate, you do it in this building. You don’t do it at our residences,” Republican House Speaker Dennis Bonnen said at the time. “Threats and intimidation will never advance your issue. Their issue is dead.”

This year might be different. Rep. Bonnen has since resigned amidst scandal, and the state GOP has listed constitutional carry as one of only eight legislative priorities.

Montana also looks promising. Constitutional carry is permitted in over 99 percent of the state’s land mass, but permits are still required within town and city limits, where most residents live. In previous years, Democratic governors have vetoed constitutional carry when it passed the legislature by heavy margins. This year, after the recent installment of Republican Gov. Gianforte, the measure is expected to become law.

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About the author: Jordan Michaels has been reviewing firearm-related products for over four years and enjoying them for much longer. With family in Canada, he’s seen first hand how quickly the right to self-defense can be stripped from law-abiding citizens. He escaped that statist paradise at a young age, married a sixth-generation Texan, and currently lives in Waco. Follow him on Instagram @bornforgoodluck and email him at jordan@gunsamerica.com.

{ 12 comments… add one }
  • Erwin Lang February 3, 2021, 8:40 am

    How is it that states want to control who owns and carries a gun when that right is protected by the constitution? I can understand limiting that right when it comes to a convicted felon but not for the average citizen.

  • Fred Brown February 1, 2021, 5:58 pm

    When I was in high school in the ’70s, we had a shooting club made up of high schoolers ( guys and gals), who would meet monthly at the local ranges (4). We learned gun safety at an early age, and I think five of the 20 or so of us went into Law Enforcement afterwards (3 game wardens, 1 County Deputy and 1 State Police)! Need such activities resumed.

  • Steve Turney February 1, 2021, 2:21 pm

    In the 60s I was fortunate to be taught firearm safety in elementary school in Northern California. It should have never been stopped!

  • William Antinori February 1, 2021, 2:06 pm

    I agree with constitutional carry as long as they have the training and pass that training course. I think the course should be challenging to weed out those that probably don’t need to be carrying a weapon at all. I know when I took the training course for my concealed carry, there was about 20 in the class and everyone shouldn’t have passed but they did. So, the Instructors should be held to a high standard also.

    • Fred Brown February 1, 2021, 6:03 pm

      Here in Maryland, one needs to pass a “Handgun Qualification Test” to even purchase a handgun! Long guns need no “qualification” to purchase. However, citizen minded legislators are presenting a bill in our General Assembly to relax the draconian restrictions on a carry permit. A small step to be sure, but one in the right direction!

  • Dav February 1, 2021, 1:32 pm

    Having grown up country, constitutional carry would have worked for me, but as an instructor in a metropolitan area, I’ll tell you the idea of people carrying guns without required training is scary. People who didn’t grow up with their dad’s, granddads’, uncles and cousins teaching them safe firearm handling from an early age are clueless when it comes to safe gun handling. I’m afraid Texas is going to pass Constitutional Carry someday and trainers like myself will wind up with empty classes. People won’t take the training unless it’s required.

  • Mr. Charles January 29, 2021, 10:46 am

    As an NRA Benefactor Member, NRA Certified Pistol Instructor, Certified IL. Firearms Instructor and Certified Trap, Skeet, Sporting Clay, and Certified, IDNR Master Safety Instructor, I am all for Constitutional Carry. However, there must be training in safe gun handling and law. We all know people who should not be handling a gun. There are those who would be very dangerous with one. Illinois currently requires 16 hrs of training. I think this training should be required. With proper training, you should be able to carry concealed.

    • Kane January 29, 2021, 11:20 am

      I am a former Marine that went through the 16 hr. course in Illinois. I could have gone through the 8 hr. course but I am NOT comfortable with putting my DD-214 in the wind. The instructor was good but the course was NOT a guarantee of turning out well trained or even competent licensed CC citizens. I saw some behaviors that was disturbing. The course in Illinois is little more than a bureaucratic revenue source that requires a refresher course every 5 years. I suspect that striker fire handguns might have been beyond the skill level of most people I observed in the course.

  • ROBERT January 29, 2021, 7:41 am

    GOOD & BAD: I fully support the IDEA of Constitutional carry, but I am concerned about the SAFETY issue.
    I have been “preaching” since the 1970’s about firearm safety and a very simple solution to the issue. ….. Simply REQUIRE FIREARM SAFETY TO BE TAUGHT IN THE SCHOOLS BEFORE ALLOWING ANYBODY TO RECEIVE THEIR HIGH SCHOOL DIPLOMA.
    Think about this: HOW MANY kids can check the oil in a car? HOW MANY kids can change a flat tire, sew on a button, cook a meal other than in a microwave, balance a check book, provide First Aid or CPR, CHECK TO SEE IF A GUN [including pistols, rifles and shotguns] ARE SIMPLY UNLOADED? …… See where I’m going with this?
    It will take a little thought about how to incorporate these things into a school curriculum (VERY little), but it is not that DIFFICULT. And let’s look at the advantages to the ANTI-GUN HOUSEHOLDS. Children often learn by “touchy-feely.” So, little “Johnny,” who has never seen a “real” gun visits little “Billy” who grew up with guns. What’s he/she going to do when there is a gun where it probably shouldn’t be – just sitting there?
    Schools have an obligation to teach the skills needed to live/survive in today’s times. ……. And what about video games. Apparently, our First Amendment allows kids to kill and murder in arcade games. [After all, it’s “not real.”] But nobody is also teaching the consequences of a real-life “gun go bang.”
    So, with the teaching of proper respect, care, and safe handling of firearms, it’s a “win-win” to me.

    • Jeff January 29, 2021, 10:12 am

      And you make the worst kind of parent , many others out there today. Let’s let the govnmt. do everything to raise OUR kids. What exactly is your job as a parent? What do you do? YOU should be teaching your children these things NOT the gov run schools. Sheeesh!

      • Kane January 29, 2021, 11:29 am

        You are assuming that Robert has not trained any young people correctly in handling firearms et cetera over the years. What Robert might been concerned with over the years is the child that has been neglected by family and could have received instruction by the mandatory class instruction. He is hardly the “worst kind of parent.”

  • Balancer60 January 29, 2021, 6:58 am

    Constitutional Carry laws are a good start. They should also try to amend their State Constitutions for Constitutional Carry. With so many people leaving California, New York, New Jersey, & Illinois they might find their laws changed one day.

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