Almost Half the United States has Constitutional Carry

Image from radical gunnuttery, scaled by Dean Weingarten

U.S.A.-(AmmoLand.com)- In 2021, the philosophy of states’ law on the Second Amendment right to bear arms fall into three broad categories. They are:

  1. Constitutional (permitless) Carry (green). In this situation, no permit is required to carry a loaded handgun, either openly or concealed, in most public spaces most of the time. It is a close approximation of the state of the law when the Second Amendment was ratified in 1791.
  2. Shall Issue Permits (blue). This scheme issues permits to carry, mostly to carry concealed, if the person applying for the permit meets certain objective criteria stated in black letter law.
  3. Discretionary (May Issue) permits (yellow). This scheme grants the power to deny permits to the issuing authority based on broad, subjective criteria. There is a range of applications, from nearly Shall Issue in Massachusetts to virtually no issue in Hawaii and New Jersey.

During the last two decades, numerous states have changed their laws to restore Second Amendment rights to carry. Those rights had been gradual, over time, infringed with greater and greater significance. in 2001, only Vermont had Constitutional Carry. Vermont had never required a permit. The only attempt to initiate a permit in Vermont was struck down by the State’s Supreme Court. Vermont covers one-quarter of 1 percent (.25%) of the area of the United States.

By early March of 2021, 17 states had restored Constitutional Carry.

  • Alaska
  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • Idaho
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Maine
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • Montana
  • New Hampshire
  • North Dakota
  • Oklahoma
  • South Dakota
  • Utah
  • West Virginia
  • Wyoming

Together, those states and Vermont cover 1,782,985 square miles or 46.8% of the land area of the United States.

The total land area of the United States: US Census is 3,805,927 square miles.

The states which are under the Shall Issue system (24), as of early March in 2021, cover another 46.2% or 1,758,043 square miles.

The states which have stubbornly refused to alter their Discretionary (May Issue) statutes are eight. They are: California, Delaware, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, and Rhode Island. Their combined land area is  264,899 square miles or 7%  of the land area of the United States.

California covers 4.3%, New York 1.4%, Maryland .32%, Hawaii .29%, Massachusetts .28% New Jersey .23%, Delaware .07%, and Rhode Island .04%.

Two states, Utah and Montana, converted from Shall Issue to Constitutional Carry in early 2021. Other states will likely restore Constitutional Carry in the future. Here are the prospects, broken into four categories:

Likely candidates for near future Constitutional Carry are: 

  • Indiana at 36,420 square miles or 1% of the US land area.
  • Iowa at 56,273 square miles or 1.5% of the US land area.
  • Tennessee at 42,144 square miles or 1.1% of the US land area.

The categories are necessarily imprecise. Alabama and Louisiana could be classified as either likely or plausible.

Plausible candidates for Constitutional Carry, but less likely to restore the right in the near future, are:

  • Alabama at 52,420 square miles or 1.4% of the US land area.
  • Louisiana at 52,378  square miles or 1.4% of the US land area.
  • Nebraska at 77,348 square miles or 2% of the US land area.
  • Wisconsin at 65,496 square miles or 1.7% of the US land area.
  • North Carolina at 53,819 square miles or 1.4% of the US land area.
  • South Carolina at 32,020 square miles or .84% of the US land area.
  • Georgia at 59,425 square miles or 1.6%
  • Michigan at 96,714 square miles or 2.5% of the US land area.
  • Texas at 268,596 square miles or 7%.
  • Ohio at 44,826 square miles or 1.2%.
  • Pennsylvania square miles at 46,054 or 1.2%.
  • Florida at 65,758 square miles or 1.7%.
  • Virginia at 42,775 square miles or 1.1%

While Florida and Virginia may seem unlikely to some, they are borderline. Because of recent history, they are put in the likely category on the low side.

The following states seem unlikely, but not hostile.

Unlikely candidates for Constitutional Carry are:

  • Washington State 71,298 square miles or 1.9%
  • Oregon 98,379 square miles or 2.6% of the US land area.
  • Minnesota 86,936  square miles or 2.3% of the US land area.
  • Connecticut 5,543 square miles or .15% of the US land area.

The following state governments are actively hostile to the Second Amendment. If they restore Constitutional Carry, it will likely be by court order.

Hostile Candidates for Constitutional Carry are:

  • California 4.3% of the land area of the US.
  • Delaware  .07% of the land area of the US.
  • Hawaii    .29% of the land area of the US.
  • Illinois   1.5% of the land area of the US.
  • Maryland  .32% of the land area of the US.
  • Massachusetts  .28% of the land area of the US.
  • New York  1.4% of the land area of the US.
  • New Jersey .23% of the land area of the US.
  • Rhode Island .04% of the land area of the US.

It is plausible Constitutional carry will be restored to over half the land area of the United States by the end of 2021. Constitutional Carry has a self-reinforcing logic. The more states which restore Constitutional Carry, and which do not see any “blood in the streets” problems predicted by those who desire a disarmed population, the more force the arguments to restore Second Amendment rights have.


About Dean Weingarten:

Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer, a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1973. He taught the Arizona concealed carry course for fifteen years until the goal of Constitutional Carry was attained. He has degrees in meteorology and mining engineering, and retired from the Department of Defense after a 30 year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.

Dean Weingarten

23 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Texasgrillchef
Texasgrillchef
6 months ago

Update: Iowa and Tennessee have both passed Constitutional carry and will become effective on July 1, 2021. constitutional carry bill for Indiana is Stuck in Senate Judiciary, but has passed the house. Constitutional Carry for South Carolina has passed the house, and is now in Senate Judiciary committee. Texas, the bill is out of Homeland Security committee, and headed to house floor. Rhode Island Has initiated a constitutional carry Bill, so has Minnesota. the only bills still alive for constitutional carry, are in Rhode Island, Minnesota, Louisiana, Texas, Minnesota, Rhode Island, Florida, South Carolina, and Indiana. All other bills for… Read more »

SHAWN
SHAWN
7 months ago

The amount of constitutional carry states as of right now is very impressive. Should possibly send a statement to DC that more Americans embrace the U.S. constitution with the Bill of Rights affirming that the second amendment is every Americans carry permit.

Laddyboy
Laddyboy
7 months ago

Correction: Maryland CLAIMS to be a “MAY ISSUE” State. However, with its “requirements”, Maryland IS a “may-NOT-issue” state for MOST LEGAL LAW ABIDING CITIZENS! Most Marylanders do NOT OWN a business, which IS a REQUIREMENT! This alone removes, PROHIBITS MOST Marylander Civilians from EVER obtaining a VERY RESTRICTIVE “carry permit”!! Most Marylanders do NOT work as a MONEY GUARD. This ELIMINATES MOST Maryland Citizens from obtaining a VERY RESTRICTIVE “carry permit”. Most Marylanders do NOT have “court documents” to PROVE they are in an Immediate threat by a THUG who has shown they are WANTON to harm a Citizen. This… Read more »

Sisu
Sisu
7 months ago
Reply to  Laddyboy

“… do NOT work as a MONEY GUARD. …” Also, in NYC and NYS “may issue” counties the “good cause” for “full carry” license include “do you regularly carry large sums of money for business ?” (“large sums” not to long age in one NYC suburban county was “$4,000 or more weekly for business.”) … So “money” has a “right to be protected” but not ordinary subjects; also seems to “discriminate” against the “poor” (?); where are the “woke” and BLM’rs on that “oppression” ? … Yet, democrats are the party of “anti racists”.

musicman44mag
musicman44mag
7 months ago

There is an “O” missing and it is Oregone but now that all drugs are legal here, crime will go up and that will give the governor Kate shit stain Brown and the demonrat commie legislature will have more proof of why they think we need stronger and more gun control laws. I guarantee you anything that joe kamalatoe comes up with she will support and enforce including any law that will ban a gun that holds more than 5 rounds which Oregone has previously tried to pass. In addition they are working on a law that if the governor… Read more »

Last edited 7 months ago by musicman44mag
Degforyou
Degforyou
7 months ago
Reply to  musicman44mag

That is only if thy catch you. Or, if they pry my or your cold dead fingers from the gun.

Sisu
Sisu
7 months ago

NYS is difficult to understand – “may issue” is the correct category given the options, but as one might expect the “devil is in the details”. A few year back John Lott attempted to identify “how many ‘pistol licenses'” had been issued throughout NYS and was unsuccessful. Ten or so years ago there were others who published lists of “licensees” obtained under FOIA; these lists suggested 1.2 million then current pistol licensees (including it appeared NYC).   Of NYS’ sixty-two counties most by far have licensing officials who take a “shall issue” approach. NYC’s five counties a “no issue” approach.… Read more »

Finnky
Finnky
7 months ago
Reply to  Sisu

Do firearms have to be registered to be legal in NY? Yet another reason to avoid NY.

Sisu
Sisu
7 months ago
Reply to  Finnky

Handguns owned must be listed on the “CWL”. NYC requires registration of long guns; all of NYS since ’14 “assault weapons” as defined in the “law” (you know those scary black “sporting rifles” with “pistol grips”. … No “machine guns”, no “silencers (or suppressors, because as you know they’re really ‘silencers’)”. … But, nunchucks somehow improved their image last year and are now allowed (I guess: no one in a recent “popular” film has demonstrated the skill of Bruce Lee .)

Hazcat
Hazcat
7 months ago

Florida passed it and Rick Scott would not sign it. I will never forgive him.

swmft
swmft
7 months ago

what we need is a supreme court case that invalidates gun control act

Ryben Flynn
Ryben Flynn
7 months ago

South Carolina has a better chance of passing Open Carry with a CWP than Constitutional carry.

Stag
Stag
7 months ago

Meanwhile, I’m sitting in Texas waiting on Republicans and the NRA to kill constitutional carry legislation again this year like they’ve done the past several legislative sessions.

musicman44mag
musicman44mag
7 months ago
Reply to  Stag

Boo to the jerks that stop constitutional carry which should be the law of the land.

Charlie Foxtrot
Charlie Foxtrot
7 months ago
Reply to  Stag

Same in Tennessee! This year looks like a shit show again. They may end up passing something that the NRA calls constitutional carry that effectively is a huge legal nightmare.

Finnky
Finnky
7 months ago

Unfortunately power to influence federal law is driven by population, not area. Reworking percentages by population paints a far more sinister picture. This is in fact why we currently face such hostility at the federal level. If they “win”, their is little our states can legally do to protect us.
I wish to see state 2A sanctuary to include commitment to not support federal LEO – Including not investigating instances of successful self-defense against them.

Laddyboy
Laddyboy
7 months ago
Reply to  Finnky

@F; Just as POLICE are given IMMEDIATE “Qualified Immunity” when they discharger a weapon. This same QUALIFIED IMMUNITY — MUST be applied immediately to LEGAL LAW ABIDING AMERICAN CITIZENS — IF or WHEN — They are FORCED to DEFEND themselves or others against an ATTACK by a THUG!! THUG = Criminal, Antifa criminal, Blm Criminal, RIOTER who is attacking people or people who are WANTON to harm other non-combatants.

Arny
Arny
7 months ago

How can this be ? I thought the Constitution was the law of the land ? SHALL NOT INFRINGE, is it really that hard for some to understand ?

HLB
HLB
7 months ago
Reply to  Arny

“Almost Half the United States has Constitutional Carry” is not correct, indeed. All of the people have that Constitutional Right, they just refuse to exercise it. I said they just refuse to exercise it.I will plant a seed here and see if it grows. Pick a day – it could be 04 July – or a specially designated day, then everybody gather at a designated place in their community at noon carrying weapons openly on that day – it could be at the County seat of government. It would be a good way to meet your fellow Constitutional Carriers. It… Read more »

Green Mtn. Boy
Green Mtn. Boy
7 months ago
Reply to  Arny

” I thought the Constitution is the law of the land ? SHALL NOT INFRINGE, is it really that hard for some to understand ?”

Turns out that the Constitution is the supreme law of the land is just lip service in the United States of the Funny Farm we have become.
How did Dr. Franklin put it, oh yes, “A republic, if you can keep it.”

StLPro2A
StLPro2A
7 months ago
Reply to  Arny

Sadly, since at least 1934, Patriots have not made believers out of the anti-2A crowd. Play by the enemy’s rules; lose by the enemy’s rules. Now, it will take a liberal……pun intended…..application of the 2A to save America from Socialism.. The 2A is the only remaining obstacle to a Socialist America…….as promised in 1944 by Norman Thomas, six time Socialist Presidential candidate, and Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev about 1958. They warned us….and we slept while chasing the American dream of things and comfort..

Last edited 7 months ago by StLPro2A
nrringlee
nrringlee
7 months ago

So, the point is this, I can drive from the Mexican border to the Canadian border as a citizen. If I drive east or west from Arizona I am a serf. Got it. So much for all that blood, sweat and tears shed in the defense of liberty. Semper Fi.

Safety Joe
Safety Joe
7 months ago

Connecticut is a ” may issue ” state, not a ” shall issue ” state.