Concealed Carry / Firearms

The Future of Concealed Carry in the United States, Part 1

I have been on a little unintended hiatus from blogging because I have been spending more time recently trying to work on my book, Concealed Carry Nation: Understanding the Culture of Armed Citizenship in America.

US_State_Concealed_Carry April 15

The first substantive chapter of the book covers the history of concealed weapons laws since the early 1800s, something I have covered in three periods previously:

1. The Early Republic (1813-1839): States begin to ban concealed carry of weapons.

2. The Restricted Era (1850s-1980s): Laws restricting concealed carry are institutionalized.

3. Liberalization: The rise of shall-issue concealed carry (right-to-carry) laws from the last quarter of the 20th century through today.

But history doesn’t only belong to the past. As Marx wrote, “Men make their own history.” And so it is with gun laws.

As I was trying to wrap up writing the history of concealed carry in the book, the legislatures in Kansas, Montana, and West Virginia passed permitless (a.k.a. Constitutional) carry legislation. Although the governors of the latter two states vetoed the legislation, I could not help but think that we are entering a fourth period in the history of carry laws in the United States.

I believe the country is too polarized between “red” and “blue” states for any sort of national concealed carry reciprocity to gain political traction, but it may just be a matter of time before permitless carry becomes the norm in the red states of America.

Thanks to a recent commenter on The Truth About Guns, we have a brief update on the status of permitless carry legislation around the country. The post from TTAG follows.

Constitutional Carry Update

TTAG reader Delmarva Chip posted this Constitutional Carry update in the comments section. How are things in your neck of the woods?

Colorado — passed the Senate, died in the House
Idaho — introduced, no progress
Indiana — introduced, no progress
Maine — still in progress, I think
Mississippi — passed the Senate, killed in the House . . .

Montana — VETOED by the governor after having passed the legislature
New Hampshire — passed Senate, in the House
Pennsylvania — introduced, no progress
South Carolina — introduced, basically no progress
South Dakota — passed the House, killed in Senate committee
Tennessee — killed in committee
Texas — introduced, died in committee
Utah — passed Senate, died in the House
West Virginia — VETOED by the governor after having passed the legislature

5 thoughts on “The Future of Concealed Carry in the United States, Part 1

  1. I always find it amazing that people still insist that ‘states’ are so divided.

    I believe the country is too polarized between “red” and “blue” states for any sort of national concealed carry reciprocity to gain political traction, but it may just be a matter of time before permitless carry becomes the norm in the red states of America.

    I think it is worse than that and better in some ways. We have the evidence to suggest physical geography isn’t the best way to determine how divided the states are.

    If you click on the ‘by county’ map, it is clear that highly populated areas tend to vote more democratic/liberal but it is also very clear that much of the country as determined by geography isn’t voting that way. I find it ironic those same ‘blue areas’ seem so intent on pushing ‘equality of rights’ regarding gay marriage for example — each and every state has to recognize other states approval of gay marriage but they adamantly insist on their ability to deny us the consideration of recognizing our right to keep and bear arms.
    I think you are correct in we are entering an new age; I believe that permitless carry will become normalized. I also think we will see reciprocity in most states as the pro-gun advocates use the courts to equalize the population imbalance (see Chicago and Illinois for an example – McDonald SCOTUS decision).

    I also think the list from TTAG really doesn’t show the big picture. What isn’t seen is the number of anti-gun bills NOT introduced. Years ago we spent much of our time fighting off further restrictions of our rights. Now we are pushing to expand our rights and edging closer and closer each time. Texas is a great example. In 1996, Concealed Carry was passed. Now, just 20 years later we stand on ready to make the switch to licensed Open Carry. Not Constitutional Carry but great progress.

    Bob S.


    • Although there are many ways to divide up the country, I guess I think of the relevance of “red” vs. “blue” state difference because state laws are made by state legislatures and intra-state differences (urban vs. rural) get worked out at the state level. Not the only difference, but significant.

      Bottom line for me is things are dynamic. Anything I write about the “current situation” for this book is already outdated as soon as I write it. Occupational hazard.


  2. Farago once told me that he was a 2nd Amendment “absolutist.” So I wrote back and asked whether that meant he believed that the 2nd Amendment allowed him to buy a bazooka. He then wrote a blog about me claiming that he was going to sue me because I had used the phrase ‘the truth about guns’ in something I had written and that he had the copyright to that phrase. And of course all his loyal readers, who know as much about copyright law as he does, immediately sent in comments about how happy they were that he was finally going to “get” that anti-gun bastard Weisser, etc., etc., the usual childish crap. So I called him in Texas and said, “Look Bob, I’m going to do you a favor and not write a column about the fact that your copyright protects the use of the phrase ‘the truth about guns’ only insofar as anyone would try to use it for commercial purposes, because your copyright protects your use of it commercially. In case you didn’t know it, you can’t copyright the English language.” To his credit he actually apologized to me in print (and then his readers told him he shouldn’t have apologized to me even if I was right) and has gone out of his way to keep his mouth shut about me ever since. Second amendment absolutist – what a fucking dope.

    I’m doing a very long piece on the 2nd Amendment because the Heller decision and the writings which led up to that decision focus entirely on interpreting the phrase ‘keep and bear’ and nobody has ever looked at the word ‘arms.’ And the way in which the word ‘arms’ was used in the colonial period doesn’t support the notion of individual self-defense at all. So I’m interested in what you learn about CCW because the 2008 Heller decision validates the personal-defense interpretation which is what’s behind the spread both of CCW and this so-called ‘constitutional’ CCW.

    I van also tell you that in a few months I will be seeing what I believe will be the first, really valid data on the % of American homes that have guns, and while I don’t believe it will be lower than estimates made a few years ago (30% – 40%) I also don’t believe it will be higher. Which means that gun ownership is still basically something for the older, White guys, it will be interesting to see what happens going forward as the country becomes younger and less White….


    • MTTG – I wonder what your thoughts are on state constitutions which often disconnect the RKBA from the militia clause? E.g., Kentucky in 1792: “That the right of the citizens to bear arms in defense of themselves and the State shall not be questioned.” Seems these state constitutions ought to factor into the discussion of whether personal-defense was historically connected to the RKBA.

      Very much looking forward to this data on home gun ownership. Do you know if it will be public? You make it sound very secretive.


  3. Pingback: The Future of Concealed Carry in the United States, Part 2 – Permitless Carry? | Gun Culture 2.0

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