Monday, May 22, 2023

65% of USA Enjoys Right to Carry without a Government Permission Slip

In 1791, when the Bill of Rights was ratified, no permit was required for a member of the People of the United States to carry arms, included loaded handguns, in nearly all public spaces. By 1986, only Vermont still had the right to carry loaded, concealed, handguns without a permit. A significant number of states continued to maintain a right to carry loaded handguns openly, but the right was severely constrained in practice. In 1986 there were eight states which had "shall issue" laws for concealed carry permits. Those states were Connecticut, Georgia, Indiana, Maine, New Hampshire, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Washington State. The total land area of the United States of America is 3,805,927 square miles. The land area of Vermont is 9,616 square miles, or .25% of the land area of the USA.

In 1987, Florida passed a landmark shall issue concealed carry bill.  In a political tradeoff, spearheaded by disgraced former Attorney General Janet Reno, then the Florida state Attorney General for Miami-Dade, open carry was severely curtailed. Reno later became famous for being in charge of the Department of Justice during the Waco massacre overseen by the FBI.

The Florida shall-issue law has been widely viewed as starting the revolution to restore Second Amendment rights in the USA. Many states started to follow the example set by Florida. By 2002, there were 31 shall issue states,  11 may issue states, 7 no issue states and Vermont, where no permit was required.

While the shall issue revolution was ongoing, Second Amendment activists and Constitutionalists were calling for the removal of permit requirements all together. They demanded their Second Amendment rights be given the full force of other Constitutional rights. They correctly stated the Second Amendment demands that the rights protected by the Second Amendment shall not be infringed. They saw the requirement for a government permission slip as a clear infringement on Second Amendment rights.

Alaska was the first state to restore permitless carry, in 2003. Second Amendment activists had been pushing for it for years. This correspondent recalls the chant "We Want Vermont!" at numerous rallies. Alaska is the largest state for land area. It has 17.5% of the land area of the USA. Overnight, permitless carry jumped from .25% to 17.75% of the USA. From Shotgunworld:

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.

By 2023, 27 states had restored the right to carry a loaded handgun concealed in most public places without a permit. In 26 of those states, the right to carry includes the right to carry arms openly. The dismal legacy of disgraced AG Janet Reno lives on in Florida.

Permitless carry will be the law of the land in over 65% of the land area of the United States as of July 1, 2023, when the Florida law takes effect.

This remarkable accomplishment took place as the Supreme Court examined a clear challenge to the numerous infringements on rights protected by the Second Amendment for the first time, in 2003, (Heller). The Supreme Court affirmed restrictions on government power, required by the Second Amendment, applied to the States in 2010 (McDonald). The Supreme Court noted, in a unanimous decision, the rights applied to "to all instruments that constitute bearable arms, even those that were not in existence at the time of the founding,” in Caetano in 2016.  The Supreme Court noted rights protected by the  Second Amendment apply outside the home in Bruen, in 2022. While opponents of an armed population have repeatedly made claims of "blood in the streets" following the restoration of carry rights, it has not happened. Numerous studies on the effect of restoring the right to carry have shown little effect on murders, suicides or accidents. This correspondent is a trained scientist. This correspondent has read most of the studies.  The studies show only small effects. It seems likely there are relatively small decreases in murders and violent crimes. The effects are small enough that sophisticated computer programs are needed to detect them. Sophisticated computer programs are difficult to make proof against selection bias and confirmation bias. Any program that uses a "computer model" to obtain results is suspect.


The Supreme Court is following the people, Second Amendment activists, and state legislatures in restoring rights protected by the Second Amendment. Without the revolution in the restoration of carry rights, the Supreme Court decisions would not have occurred, as the justices who are willing to follow the text and original meaning of the Constitution would not have been appointed. If restoring rights protected by the Second Amendment resulted in "blood in the streets" it would be readily apparent. The conflicting results seen in the literature indicate the effects on crime, suicide and accidents are so small as to be very difficult to measure.

The effects on restraining government power are large. If the government must respect the rights protected by the Second Amendment, the rest of the Bill of Rights, and the Constitution as a whole, is better protected.

©2023 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.

Gun Watch


ScienceABC123 said...

It's getting better, but anything less than 100% is an "infringement."

"It's to our shame that we have to pass laws in order to exercise constitutional rights."

TPKeller said...

"Without the revolution in the restoration of carry rights, the Supreme Court decisions would not have occurred, as the justices who are willing to follow the text and original meaning of the Constitution would not have been appointed."

And conversely, without our constant advocacy for these fundamental rights and their benefits to society as a whole, we risk losing public support, which WILL lead to the future appointment of justices who will eagerly overrule Heller, McDonald, and Bruen. Never forget, Heller was a 5-4 decision. We came THAT close to losing the Second Amendment for generations, at a minimum.

The fight for human rights never ends.

Gary said...

Be careful, as some will look at that map and think it is legal in some states at this time. Florida Permitless Carry does not take effect until July 1 and Nebraska till early September. ND won't be Permitless Carry for anyone who can legally carry a firearm until August 1. Their current Permitless Carry law only applies to Residents of North Dakota. Age restrictions also apply in some states. Stay Safe, Gary Slider Co-Owner/Researcher

Martyr said...

Wisconsin has a right to open carry. But you knew that, and I am sure you mean to carry concealed without a permit.

TPKeller said...

The map should probably be updated. Didn't Bruen eliminate "may issue" across the board?

I can't find any way to contact the author of the map.

Dean Weingarten said...

To Gary:
Thanks for your information. It is appreciated. We strive for accuracy at Gun Watch.

To TPKeller:
Yes, the May Issue states should be Shall Issue, but many of the May Issue states are placing other, enormous burdens on the carry of firearms for self defense, particularly, New York, New Jersey, and Maryland.

I expect we will see changes in the near future.

Anonymous said...

I have tried to keep up with all of the gun law changes but it is getting more difficult as time goes by. A lot of Americanism is being forgotten . States that fail to change laws after a supreme court ruling place themselves in the position of being sued in federal court for the violation of a constitutionally guaranteed right. Note the cap on such suits is 15 million dollars and few states could afford a barrage of law suit loses.. Once we get a total of 37 states that are constitutionally right to carry I believe the other states can be forced to comply. here is a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that states all rights guaranteed by the federal constitution cross all boundaries in this country. There is no state's authority to amend or infringe on constitutionally guaranteed rights. That ruling alone should invalidate all of these infringing state laws. Those ignoring that ruling should be impeached removed from office and kept out of government positions.

Anonymous said...

Upcoming issues in Congress are the demands for more gun control but Congress has no authority to pass infringing laws on federally guaranteed rights. It requires 37 states presently to vote to pass an amendment to any thing in our constitution one state or even several states can not amend the constitution. Shall Not Be Infringed is the words that were ratified and that is blanket coverage for every state in the union. All state constitutions must comply with the federal constitution that is why we have the Supreme court to strike down unconstitutional state laws. Any state not in compliance with the federal constitution opens it's self to law suits with that 15 million dollar cap, Per suit The record number of mass shooting would not be possible if the states were not criminally denying your right to personal self defense, armed self defense. There are about three people I think would have preferred to have been shot rather than start swinging at me.. The last one was able to get out of bed without help after 8 weeks. The police refused to arrest him for criminal assault with 50 eye witnesses interviewed. they called it mutual combat because if they had arrested him they would have been responsible for his medical bills.. I'm almost always armed but when the swinging started I just defended my self and I think he lost his reputation as a really bad tough guy. The police did say if he ever bothered me again they would pick him up on a 5150 because he would have to be crazy to try me again. I do not like to fight but that does not mean I do not know how to fight. My father boxed in the golden gloves.