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What is Permitless Concealed Carry?

No License. No permit. No Training. Permitless concealed carry increases the risk of gun violence and makes us all less safe.

SAY NO TO PERMITLESS CONCEALED CARRY

In recent years, states across the country have passed permitless concealed carry laws, which allow anyone who legally owns a firearm to carry it concealed in public. Prior to 1980, Vermont was the only state to allow individuals to carry a concealed firearm in public without a permit. Since then, at least 25 other states have passed laws removing all concealed carry permitting requirements, increasing the presence of firearms in public and increasing the risk of conflict leading to violence.

What is permitless concealed carry?

Permitless concealed carry laws allow individuals to carry firearms in public places, often including public transit, parks, stores, and even government buildings — without a permit.

Many states have permitting requirements for those seeking to carry a firearm into public spaces, which often include a background check and firearm safety training. These requirements have increasingly been nullified by state legislatures’ passage of permitless carry laws. Yet many of these states that don’t require training to carry firearms in public do require training for several other, less dangerous practices like handling food, becoming a notary, and working as a beautician.

Permitless carry is dangerous

Contrary to gun industry talking points, more guns in public spaces do not make people safer, nor do they make people feel safer.

Studies have shown that permitless carry leads to a rise in aggravated assault, rape, robbery, and murder. A rigorous study of concealed carry laws found that in states with weak concealed carry laws, violent crime rates rose 13% to 15% after 10 years. Another analysis found that the number of mass shootings in Texas rose 62.5% in the year that followed the passage of a Texas law making it legal for anyone over the age of 18 to carry a gun in public without a permit

The American public overwhelmingly believe that permits should be required to carry a firearm in public — this includes gun owners and non-gun owners, concealed carry holders, and individuals of all major political parties. Even 83% of gun owners believe that concealed carry requirements should be stronger than they currently are in permitless carry states. Law enforcement officials across the country have also consistently opposed permitless carry laws, including those in Texas, Ohio, Louisiana, and West Virginia.

In addition to putting communities at risk, permitless carry legislation sews distrust between communities and the police officers meant to protect them. Permitless carry makes it difficult for officers to identify who is a credible threat, leading to increased violence and distrust between police and vulnerable communities. In fact, a recent study found a nearly 13% increase in officer-involved shootings in ten states that moved to permitless carry systems between 2014 and 2020 compared to states that had permitting requirements in place.

We know that permitting laws work. Permits are neither expensive nor burdensome, but protect public safety.

The claim that firearms are used to prevent crime is simply false. People successfully defend themselves with guns in less than one percent of crimes, while people living in homes with firearms are more than four times as likely than those living without firearms to be fatally shot.

The Implications of NYSRPA vs. Bruen (2022)

In June 2022, the Supreme Court decided in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association, Inc. et al v. Kevin P. Bruen, that there is a constitutional right to carry a firearm in public for self-defense, limiting how state governments can regulate firearms in public to protect public safety.

This decision is dangerous and an unprecedented change to centuries of practice and regulation. Lower courts now have more power to strike down gun laws, due to the Supreme Court’s ruling that history and tradition should be the sole factors in determining whether or not a law is consistent with the Second Amendment. This test could lock the United States into the past, at a time when people of color, women, and others were not allowed to participate in the political process and when assault weapons were not yet in existence.

For every other right, laws may evolve with the times and are permissible if they further an important public purpose without unduly restricting rights.

Bruen is part of an extremist agenda alive in the Court that protects special interests at the expense of the health and safety of the American people.

In selecting “tradition,” the Supreme Court majority cherry-picked examples that favored a specific ideological outcome leading historians and legal experts to decry the decision as historically flawed, not based in fact, and riddled with error. Since then, this misguided decision has emboldened gun-rights activists to challenge numerous life-saving gun safety laws in courts across the nation, including bans on assault weapons, regulations on untraceable ‘ghost guns,’ and more. As of 2023, at least 44 gun safety laws have been overturned on the basis of Bruen while dozens of others remain in the courts for review.

What is the state of permitless carry laws in the U.S.?

The concept of widespread permitless concealed carry is relatively new. Prior to 1980, 21 states did not allow any concealed carry, 24 states had may issue concealed carry permitting laws, four states had shall issue permitting laws, and only Vermont allowed for permitless carry.

As part of their “guns everywhere” agenda, the gun lobby has pushed permitless carry by creating an imagined threat and stoking fears of a country where individuals need to be able to defend themselves with a firearm at all times. As a result, permitless carry laws have increased exponentially in recent years. Currently, 26 states have enacted permitless carry laws and 11 of those laws have been passed in the last three years.

At least 26 states currently have permitless carry laws.

Alabama (2022)

Missouri (2016)

Alaska (2003)

Montana (2021)

Arizona (2010)

New Hampshire (2017)

Arkansas (2021)

North Dakota (2017)

Florida (2023)

Ohio (2022)

Georgia (2022)

Oklahoma (2018)

Idaho (2016)

South Dakota (2019)

Indiana (2022)

Tennessee (2021)

Iowa (2021)

Texas (2021)

Kansas (2015)

Utah (2021)

Kentucky (2019)

Vermont (1777)

Maine (2015)

West Virginia (2016)

Mississippi (2016)

Wyoming (2011)

*26 states as of April 2023

What do we know about gun violence in permitless carry states?

  • 7 out of the 10 states with the highest firearm mortality rate (2016-2020) have permitless carry laws in place.

  • 6 out of the 10 states with the highest firearm homicide rate (2016-2020) have permitless carry laws in place.

  • In Mississippi, the firearm homicide rate increased by 71.1% in the five years following the passage of a permitless carry law (2014-2015 vs. 2019-2020).

  • In Missouri, the firearm homicide rate increased by 56.5% in the five years following the passage of a permitless carry law (2014-2015 vs. 2019-2020).

  • In West Virginia, the firearm homicide rate increased by 66.0% in the five years following the passage of a permitless carry law (2014-2015 vs. 2019-2020).

Listen to our podcast to continue learning about permitless concealed carry

Together, we discuss why some Americans might practice concealed carry, and how people, particularly those working to prevent gun violence, can better understand concealed carry and those who practice it.


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