Constitutional Carry Gaining Steam Across America

Constitutional Carry Gaining Steam Across America
Carrying a concealed handgun without a concealed carry permit is what the constitution intended.

National Association for Gun Rights
National Association for Gun Rights

Colorado ––( The 1990’s and early 2000’s saw a wave of states create “shall issue” concealed carry permit laws, which have certainly captivated the attention of our nation’s gun owners.

But there’s a stronger, more principled movement afoot, and it seems to be surfing on the waves of resurgence for our Constitution.

That movement is permitless carry or even Vermont Carry, but is most properly called “Constitutional Carry”. By definition, it means carrying a concealed handgun without a concealed carry permit.

The state of Vermont started it when they drafted their first state laws. You see, Vermont did not criminalize concealed carry. Something that’s not specifically listed in law as “illegal” or “criminal” is, by definition, allowed.

Thankfully, it’s not the other way around, because if everything was by default setting prohibited and citizens needed to seek statutory permission for every new activity (the internet comes immediately to mind), freedom and innovation – inseparable qualities – would be dramatically stifled.

So, Vermont residents can carry concealed without first seeking permission from big brother. And though their residents can still acquire permits for concealed carry, they aren’t required to do so.

Vermont, not coincidentally, is, by most measures, the safest state in our nation. Why shouldn’t gun owners demand Constitutional Carry? Permit systems, by necessity, have lists, and lists of gun owners are dangerous.

Though many states have tried to pass Constitutional Carry laws, they’ve often been opposed by the institutional gun lobby and their state-level minions. What’s their reasoning for opposing real concealed carry reform? I’ve heard “We can’t have EVERYONE carrying a gun” or “There’s no training required, so it would be dangerous.” However, I see little evidence that either objection is valid. After all, I practice my First Amendment right to free speech without “government- mandated training”.

Most likely the objections stem from either ignorance of the facts or because Constitutional Carry isn’t a cash-cow industry for those objecting. I’m a firearms instructor myself, and train a lot of students in the carrying of concealed handguns, but I’d gladly trade that for the freedom to carry concealed without a permit.

I’ve been involved in pushing for Constitutional Carry for more than 17 years now, and the exciting part is that now there seems to be some steam to pass this law in a broad range of states.

In 2003, Alaska passed a measure to decriminalize permitless carry, while still leaving their permit system intact. However, it seemed like this was an anomaly – until the last two years.

Arizona passed a Constitutional Carry law just a few months ago, but it was overshadowed by the uproar over their illegal immigration legislation. Nevertheless, Arizona residents can now carry concealed without a permit.

NAGR Dudley Brown
Dudley Brown - “There is a stronger, more principled movement afoot, and it seems to be surfing on the waves of resurgence for our Constitution.”

Despite a limited, 30-day budgetary session, Wyoming passed a Constitutional Carry bill out of the State House. That measure died in their State Senate, but only because of time. And both Iowa and Montana had Constitutional Carry bills offered in the last few years.

Though I’m not opposed to “Shall Issue” concealed carry permit systems – I have a permit, after all – I’d much rather pass a Constitutional Carry law, wherever possible.

Since most gun owners oppose regulations, registration and restrictions on carrying concealed, I believe it’s a smart move for our community to set Constitutional Carry as a goal. After all, we’ll never get more than what we ask for.

For Freedom,
Dudley Brown
Executive Director National Association for Gun Rights

The National Association for Gun Rights was founded in 2001 to serve as a grassroots gun rights group focusing on building state-level gun rights groups and lobbying for pro-gun federal legislation. Brown has been a gun lobbyist for more than 17 years. Visit:

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10 years ago

Ok here's my 2c on this subject. I believe that this would be one stupid move for Iowa. I am 24 and have my permit to carry, but I got it by doing all the background check and all that so I got it legit. Now, if you have been around the people I grew up with (by meaning went to school with) you would reconsider this plea for "Constitutional Carry". See these kids that I grew up with 21 and older now, were and still are and I quote "wanna be gang bangers, hood rats, and everything in between".… Read more »

10 years ago
Reply to  Anon

Anon; The problem with your argument is if these kids are so bad now and have no regard for the law, what makes you think they won't carry illegal guns right now?

It is the law abiding folks that should have the choice of being armed to defend their lives from people like this.

Steve Jones
Steve Jones
11 years ago

Great article. I am spreading this one around, for sure!