Happy New Year! After a long and ugly pandemic season, 2023 seems like it is starting off on the right foot. The Republicans will take the House back and hopefully protect the 2A crowd for a while at least until the next Presidential election. A new year also means new realized freedoms and another thorn in the side of the anti-gunners. Call it a death by a thousand cuts…well, O.K., 25 cuts.
As of January 1st 2023, Alabama is now the 25th state to allow Constitutional carry! Think about it; half the country now allows citizens to carry firearms without having to ask the government for permission. It was not that long ago, that you could count the states allowing constitutional carry on one hand. Now with half the country on board, the pressure and momentum is on our side. The cries of the anti crowd’s objections that constitutional carry meant that the world would end and the Wild West would ensue haven’t (and won’t) come to fruition.
So, what is Constitutional carry? (It’s also called “permitless carry.”) Basically, it means that if you can legally possess a handgun under federal and state laws, then there are no further legal requirements to legally carry a handgun on your person.
Remember, this is not absolute. For example, North Dakota allows permitless carry for its residents only. Some states have age limits of 21 years of age or older unless you are in the military. Also remember that each state may still have different restrictions on where you can carry. For example, government offices like court houses, or even churches or bars may remain off-limits.
Why is Constitutional carry good? At the state level, you are basically leveling the playing field. The whole state has to abide by and follow one set of rules and guidelines. You could have a state that as a whole allowed its citizens to have a CCW permit, but it was ultimately up to local officials if they would give you a permit or not. (They used to call this “may-issue” concealed carry.) Even in in my own gun-friendly home state of Alabama, each county Sheriff used to be able to impose their own rules like training or background requirements, their own price structure, and even have different-looking permits. And every election could bring a whole new set of standards…insanity!
So if you are lucky enough to live in a constitutional carry state is there any incentive or reason you would still want to go through the process of obtaining a CCW permit? Sure, speaking with USCCA instructor Sean Alcazar we were told that shortly after a state passes constitutional carry, students “realize that they STILL need a permit to carry in other states, or they need a permit to carry in certain restricted zones.” Not every state has Constitutional carry, and may require you to have a permit from your home state. Sean also gave us the example of Tennessee: Even though TN is aCconstitutional carry state, they also have “a regular permit AND an enhanced carry permit. People are still attending those classes due to the extra flexibility the enhanced carry permit gets you.” A CCW permit in state like Delaware gets you even more perks over those who choose not to get one. “In Delaware if you owned an AR-15 prior to the assault weapons ban of July AND you have a carry permit, you are allowed to have a 30-round magazine for your AR. If you don’t have a permit you are only allowed 10-round magazines.
While I am ecstatic that half the country allows its citizens to carry a handgun for all lawful purposes, I also realize that I travel way too much. So because of where I travel for business, I will end up having to obtain multiple state CCW licenses. In my case I will still have to have an Alabama resident CCW License and both a Utah and Nevada non-resident CCW license. So until my dream of 48 states allowing constitutional carry (I can live without visiting CA and NY), I have to ask THE MAN for permission to carry.
Remember that each state has its own nuances and things differ wildly from state to state. As a law abiding firearms owner, it is up to you to do your own due diligence. For me one of the best resources out there is the U.S. Concealed Carry Association (www.usconcealedcarry.com) from education and training to self-defense liability insurance. It is the mission of the USCCA to keep the shooting public up to date. To see an up to date map of constitutional carry states and and any of their restrictions take a look at their Permitless carry map
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