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Constiutional Carry Explained

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Many people around the internet, especially in the gun community have heard the term Constitutional Carry buzzing around for some time now but for those who haven’t lets first answer the question of:

What is Constitutional Carry?

Put simply, Constitutional Carry is the legal permitless carry of firearms.

Constitutional Carry derives its name from the idea that the Second Amendment is the only permit required to keep and bear arms.

Currently only a handful of states have “full-blown” Constitutional Carry in effect.

When I say full blown, I mean both permitless open and concealed carry. Traditionally, many states allow open carry without a permit but few allow concealed carry without a permit.

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Alaska, Arizona, Vermont and Wyoming are among the states with legitimate Constitutional Carry.

The first state to have Constitutional Carry was Vermont, after its State Constitution was ratified in 1777 (before The Bill of Rights even). The prohibition on regulating the carrying of arms was future upheld in 1903 by the Vermont Supreme Court in the State v Rosenthal, 75 Vt. 295 case.

Alaska made the transition to Constitutional Carry in 2003 with House Bill 102 signed by Governor Frank Murkowski and Arizona followed suit in 2010 with Senate Bill 1108 signed by Governor Jan Brewer.

Wyoming became the 4th state to take the plunge in 2011 after Governor Mead signed legislation that modified Wyoming Statute 6-8-104. It should be noted that Wyoming’s Constitutional Carry law only applies to Wyoming residents.

Numerous other states have introduced Constitutional Carry legislation only to have been shot down.

Oklahoma deserves an honorable mention for its law allowing out of state residents from Constitutional Carry states to carry a weapon as long as they have valid photo identification and are not otherwise prohibited from owning a firearm.

(I currently do not consider Arkansas to be a legitimate Constitutional Carry state because of the vague language of the law along with the opinion (or lack thereof) issued by the Attorney General and the controversy surrounding it.)

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There are ups and downs to any laws and Constitutional Carry is no exception. One of the main concerns with Constitutional Carry is the Federal Gun-Free School Zone Act. While this law is rarely enforced, it is however still on the books and there is no exemption for Constitutional Carry.

This is one area where having a concealed carry permit will exempt you from burdensome regulations. In most urban and suburban areas it is virtually impossible to drive on a public road without passing by some type of school zone.

Another downside is that besides from Oklahoma there is no reciprocity available when traveling abroad from your home state like there typically is (to some degree) with concealed carry permits.

The upside to Constitutional Carry legislation should not be taken for granted. The benefits include; no fees, no test, no permit, no government list and most importantly the decriminalization of what is otherwise a harmless act.

Simply carrying a firearm for self-defense is not and should not be considered a criminal act.

Constitutional Carry not only nullifies unjust laws but increases public safety by putting more guns in the hands of law abiding citizens. It also helps to alleviate the wide spread social stigma associated with carrying a firearm and the crazy notion some people still have stuck in their heads that only criminals and cops should carry guns. Overall, Constitutional Carry is a boon to both gun culture and the community at large.

“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.”

About The Author

Travis Box is currently a college student studying American history with a concentration on the Constitution, Revolutionary War, politics and legislation. As an active hunter for 5 years and a recreational marksman for over a decade, his writing brings with it years of real world experience from both the field and the range.