Crime guns in impacted communities
Crime guns in impacted communities

The presence of firearms heightens tensions and exacerbates confrontations, potentially leading to violent consequences.

There is no widely endorsed research that expanding public carry — especially concealed carry — has any public safety benefits. Firearms are rarely used successfully in self-defense. In fact, individuals successfully defend themselves with a gun in less than one percent of crimes. Yet, there has been a massive shift in both legislation and litigation to allow more firearms in public. When a firearm is present, a situation that could have been diffused may instead end in injury or death. Whether during a bar fight, traffic altercation, argument at a gas station, or just a dispute between long-time friends, guns have the potential to turn a contentious situation into a deadly one.

Gun store rifles

Concealed Carry

Gun store rifles

Concealed Carry is the possession of a firearm either on a person or nearby that is hidden from the ordinary view of other persons.

While every state in the U.S. has a concealed carry permitting system in place, most states currently do not require a permit to carry a concealed firearm in public.

Concealed carry permitting systems help states ensure that those who are carrying firearms in public have been properly vetted and trained. They typically allow for the state or local issuing body to conduct a comprehensive background check as well as for additional vetting and certification. Further, many states require training in the handling of firearms, including live fire training and a course on state laws associated with firearm ownership and carrying.

Implications of NYSRPA v. Bruen (2022) on Public Carry

In June 2022, the Supreme Court held in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association, Inc. vs. Bruen there is a constitutional right to carry a firearm in public for the purpose of self-defense under the Second Amendment.

The Supreme Court closely analyzed the concealed carry permitting systems of all 50 states to decide the question presented – namely whether NY’s “proper cause” requirement to secure a concealed carry permit was constitutional. SCOTUS deemed the “proper cause” requirement unconstitutional and invalidated the concealed carry permitting systems for CA, HI, MA, MD, NJ, NY and Washington D.C.

In declaring the “proper cause” and “may issue” standards unconstitutional, the Supreme Court removed any right for states to have discretion to determine who establishes a need to carry a firearm in public.

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Permitless carry map web
States with Permitless Carry: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, West Virginia, Wyoming

Permitless Concealed Carry

Permitless carry map web
States with Permitless Carry: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, West Virginia, Wyoming

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, without a permit.

A decade ago, only four states — Vermont, Alaska, Arizona, and Wyoming — allowed permitless concealed carry. In recent years, there has been a new wave of legislation that has repealed requirements to have a permit for concealed carry in numerous states. As such, 29 states now have permitless concealed carry. 

Permitless carry enables potentially dangerous individuals to carry guns without detection. Law enforcement officials across the country have consistently opposed permitless carry laws, including those in Texas, Ohio, Louisiana, and West Virginia.

Because gun carriers do not have to undergo a permitting process in these states, there are no opportunities for law enforcement to identify potentially dangerous individuals before they carry concealed guns in public. In addition to putting communities at risk, permitless open and concealed carry legislation sows 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.

This poses an even higher risk to Black Americans, who are already 3.23 times more likely than White Americans harmed during a police encounter. When a person of color is carrying a firearm, whether concealed or not, they are in even more danger of law enforcement action or suspicion, even if they are doing so legally.


The American public – gun owners and non-gun owners alike – overwhelmingly believes that permits should be required to carry a firearm in public. In fact, 83% of gun owners believe that concealed carry requirements should be stronger than they currently are in permitless carry states. A June 2023 poll from Pew Research found that just 24% of Americans are in favor of allowing people to carry concealed guns without a permit.

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Permitless Carry and Weak Permitting Systems are Associated with Increased Violence

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A recent study conducted by the Center for Gun Violence Solutions analyzed the impact of weakened conceal carry permitting systems on violent crimes. The study found that states that loosened their concealed carry permitting systems saw a 9.5% increase in firearm related assaults over a decade.

Only the states that went beyond cursory background checks to enact misdemeanor prohibitions and live-fire training and suitability requirements saw no significant increases in firearm related assaults over the same period of time.

In states that have adopted permitless concealed carry laws, such laws have been associated with a 13% increase in firearm homicides and a 29% increase in violent gun crime.

A rigorous study of concealed carry laws, violent crime rates rose up to


after 10 years of enactment.


Sensitive Places

The Supreme Court, in Bruen, left it up to State and local legislative bodies to restrict the use of firearms in certain “sensitive places,” including but not limited to schools, government buildings, legislative assemblies, polling places, and courthouses.

In fact, the Supreme Court made it clear that its holding in Bruen was “neither a regulatory straightjacket nor a regulatory blank check,” and that restrictions on guns in sensitive places are still permissible, so long as they are objective.

Brady supports legislation that restricts the concealed carry of firearms in sensitive places such as schools, parks, restaurants, hospitals, movie theaters, places that serve alcohol or marijuana, voter service centers, places where local and state governments conduct their business, first amendment expressive spaces and more. Each of these locations has been evaluated in terms of their individual characteristics; the nature of the activities taking place in each of these locations, as well as the presence of certain vulnerable populations, warrant each location’s classification as a sensitive place. These are all areas where it will only benefit the health and safety of the public to restrict the concealed carrying of firearms.

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

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.

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

Concealed Carry Reciprocity

Many states allow reciprocity for a license to carry handguns from another state. The federal Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act, a longtime top priority of the gun industry, would allow virtually anyone to carry a concealed handgun almost anywhere in the United States, regardless of state law, and would disincentivize law enforcement from ensuring that individuals carrying concealed firearms are doing so lawfully.

This means that a person who can legally carry in their home state may do so in a state that has concealed carry reciprocity, even though the licensing requirements for those states may be completely different and despite the fact that law enforcement in the visiting state may not be able to verify the validity of a person’s permit.

Concealed carry reciprocity prevents states from meaningfully or effectively regulating the public carry of concealed handguns. Under concealed carry reciprocity, law enforcement officers are disincentivized from enforcing the law, because they will be unable to determine whether individuals are lawfully carrying firearms and would be civilly liable if they even attempt to detain or arrest an individual to make that determination. Ultimately, reciprocity allows nearly any individual to carry a concealed handgun across state lines, regardless of their criminal history, with little fear of recourse.

Citizens of permitless carry states are already allowed to carry handguns in public without a permit and it would only add fuel to the gun violence epidemic to allow visitors from other states, and non-residents to carry without a permit within their borders.

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Open Carry

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Open Carry is the practice of carrying firearms visibly, in public.

As it stands, only four states and the District of Columbia prohibit the open carry of all firearms in public, and an additional two states prohibit the open carry of handguns in public. In every other state, it is legal for people to carry firearms, including assault weapons, in public.

Open Carry and Armed Intimidation

States are failing to take action to regulate the open carry of firearms in public, while our nation’s democracy faces a palpable threat. On January 6th, 2021, the United States Capitol experienced a shocking attack in which insurrectionists stormed the building and threatened the lives of our national legislators with the express intent of undermining our democracy, causing fear and havoc, and even kidnapping elected officials. In the aftermath of this insurrection, the FBI released a warning that "militias" were planning armed attacks on all 50 state capitol buildings throughout inauguration week in an attempt to foment violence. The threat of armed violence has always existed, but increasingly extremist political rhetoric is pushing individuals to take action, and they are bringing their firearms with them.

In some states, armed insurrectionists do actually take action.

In Spring 2020, legislators at the Capitol in Lansing, MI sustained a series of heavily armed protests in response to Governor Whitmer’s COVID-19 lockdown orders. Over a two month period, angry protestors flooded the Capitol grounds dressed in camouflage fatigues and armed with semiautomatic weapons, demanding entry into the Capitol. At least two of these protestors were affiliated with a paramilitary group known as the “Wolverine Watchmen” and plotted to kidnap and harm Governor Gretchen Whitmer. This group practiced combat tactics, which included assaulting motor vehicles using semiautomatic assault rifles and live ammunition, in furtherance of their domestic terror conspiracy. They hoped to spark a second Civil War and believed that kidnapping the Governor would be the catalyst.

The presence of firearms in this context would amount to armed intimidation, intended to silence or stifle the spirited debate and public discourse that is intended to occur during these hearings between both legislators and advocates.

This is unfortunately particularly true when considering that gun violence prevention advocates are frequently victims or survivors of gun violence, or otherwise intimately connected to the issue. For many, the presence of firearms is deeply emotional and may trigger emotional and physical reactions that may make an advocate feel unsafe to share their perspective.

Today, the risk of armed intimidation and violence is more concerning than ever as the rate of firearm ownership has grown exponentially alongside deepening ideological divides. This potent combination has led to the proliferation and increased threat of extremist "militia" organizations nationwide that continue to use firearms in threatening and intimidating ways, including near, around, or inside state legislatures around the country, attempting to pressure or outright coerce lawmakers in state capitals across the country.


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