Tuesday, July 19, 2022

Winning: 2 Decades of Progress Expanding Constitutional Carry in the USA


In two decades, Constitutional Carry has progressed from an ideal pursued by Second Amendment activists and Constitutionalists, to a reality in half of the states of the United States. In 2002, only Vermont had Constitutional Carry.

Constitutional Carry exists where most citizens can exercise the right to carry a loaded handgun in most public places, openly or concealed, without special government permission or the worry of being arrested.

Constitutional Carry was the state of the law when the Second Amendment was ratified in 1791.

Vermont has 1/4 of one percent of the land area of the United States of America. 20 years later the 25 states with Constitutional Carry comprise 61.6% of the land area of the United States.

Vermont has always had Constitutional Carry, long before it became a state.

All other states had adopted infringements of the Second Amendment right to bear arms of some kind or another, as groups in power sought to disarm various minorities, be they black people, immigrants, or political opponents. Most of those laws had been applied very selectively. If you were favored by the good old boys network of connected power brokers, you could always get a permit, be appointed a dollar a year sheriff deputy, or obtain special police credentials.

As more and more people realized how badly the Progressive movement had distorted the Constitutional order, more and more people demanded the right to bear arms be respected. Much of this happened as Progressives pushed to disarm the population. Much of it was backlash when the majority suffered from the tyranny which had been inflicted on minorities. Part of it was in response to climbing crime rates combined with stricter gun control measures.

Conversion of most states to a "shall issue" permit system was well underway when Alaska became the first state to restore Constitutional Carry, in 2003. An Alaska state representative, Democrat Eric Croft was the sponsor. From AP:

Rep. Eric Croft, D-Anchorage, said he sponsored the bill out of frustration with continually fine-tuning the state's gun laws.

"I object to the government putting a precondition on that
constitutional right (to carry a weapon). I'm presumed to be a
responsible citizen until proven otherwise," Croft said.

House Bill 102 does not eliminate the state's concealed handgun permit
program. The governor's office said Alaskans could still apply for a
permit in order to carry a concealed weapon in other states or to be
exempt from background checks when purchasing firearms.

Alaska set the precedent for other states to follow. All of those who have restored Constitutional Carry (permitless carry) have kept their shall issue permit systems.

All but one of the governors who signed Constitutional Carry laws have been Republicans. The one Democrat Governor who signed a Constitutional Carry bill said he did so by mistake, in Arkansas, in 2013. There have been 14 vetoes of Constitutional Carry bills, 9 by Democrats, 5 by Republicans. In two states, vetoes by Democrat governors were overridden by the legislatures.

Here, in chronological order, are the states, governors and years when Constitutional Carry bills were signed into law or had vetoes overridden.

Alaska, Republican Governor Frank Murkowski, 2003.

Arizona, Republican Governor Jan Brewer, 2010.

Wyoming,  Republican Governor Matt Mead, 2011.

Arkansas governor Mike Beebe signed a "stealth" Constitutional Carry bill in 2013. Democrats argued they did not realize the bill contained Constitutional carry.

Kansas,  Republican Governor Sam Brownback, 2015.

Maine,  Republican Governor Paul LePage, 2015.

Idaho, Republican Governor Butch Otter, 2016.

Missouri, Veto by Democrat Governor Jay Nixon. Veto override by legislature, 2016.

Missisippi, Republican Governor, Phil Bryant, 2016.

West Virginia,  Democrat Governor Earl Ray Tomblin vetoed Constitutional Carry in 2016. The legislature overrode the veto.

North Dakota,  Republican Governor Doug Burgum, 2017.

New Hampshire,  Republican Governor Chris Sununu, 2017.

South Dakota, Republican Governor Kristi Noem, 2019.

Oklahoma, Republican Governor, Kevin Stitt, 2019.

Kentucky, Republican Governor, Matt Bevin, 2019.

Utah, Republican Governor, Spencer Cox, 2021.

Montana, Republican Governor Greg Gianforte, 2021.

Iowan, Republican Governor Kim Reynolds, 2021.

Texas, Republican Governor, Greg Abbott, 2021.

Tennessee,  Republican Governor Bill Lee, 2021.

Indiana, Republican Governor, Eric Holcomb, 2022.

Alabama, Republican Governor, Kay Ivey, 2022.

Ohio, Republican Governor, Mike DeWine, 2022.

Georgia, Republican Governor Brian Kemp, 2022.

Most Republican governors who signed Constitutional Carry bills did not do so because they were strong supporters of the Second Amendment. All would claim to be supporters.  All Democrats would also claim to be supporters of the Second Amendment.

Most Republican governors signed because the Republican party had philosophically become aligned with support for the Second Amendment and because of strong grassroots demand they support it.

Democrat governors did not sign (except for Governor Mike Beebe of Arkansas, who signed HB 746 without knowing it contained Constitutional Carry), because the Democrat party had become aligned with the Progressive movement, which is fundamentally opposed to limits on government power.

Actual practice showed the theory of government aligned with the Second Amendment was closer to reality than the theory of government which demanded no limit on government power.

Those who claimed unlimited government power repeatedly predicted massive crime waves when freedom to carry weapons was restored. They claimed there would be "blood in the streets". It did not happen. Over and over and over, it did not happen.

As the restoration of Constitutional Carry has become a wave, Republican governors have become more enthusiastic about signing Constitutional Carry bills.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has become one of the most enthusiastic governors in supporting Constitutional Carry. Florida may yet restore Constitutional Carry this year.

©2022 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.

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