January 17, 2018

Last week a New Hampshire “Constitutional Carry” bill passed its final step in the state House, passing by a vote of 200-97. It previously passed the Senate and will now move to Gov. Chris Sununu’s desk, who has been backing the bill.

A coalition of 19 sponsors introduced Senate Bill 12 (SB12) on Jan. 5. The legislation would allow any person “not otherwise prohibited by statute from possessing a firearm in the state of New Hampshire” to carry a concealed firearm.

Currently 5 states have adopted constitutional carry laws including: Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Vermont and Wyoming. Those state do not require any form of license or permit to carry concealed or otherwise.

Along with New Hampshire, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Texas, Utah and West Virginia have introduced constitutional carry bills to their state legislatures.

Doesn’t every state already allow for concealed carry?
Currently, every state allows for concealed carry but……many states have imposed strict rules about who can get a license to carry, the fees that must be paid to get a license, the required training before you can qualify to get a license etc. Additionally, some state do not permit out-of-state residents to carry concealed weapons within state lines or they only recognize permits or licenses from certain states.

Why are so many states backing constitutional carry?
Many see Constitutional carry as a big step toward embracing our natural rights under the Second Amendment to self-defense. The constitution already grants citizens that right so it should not be a requirement to get permission from the government to exercise that right.

Constitutional carry bills are a subtle way of undermining federal efforts to regulate guns. Any regulation to prohibit an activity becomes ineffective when states ignore it and pass laws encouraging the activity anyway. The federal government does not really have the manpower to enforce most of the bans on guns, so people feel more comfortable taking on the small risk of federal sanctions if they know the state will not cooperate with federal enforcement efforts. State passage of constitutional carry laws lower the barriers for concealed carriers wanting the option of defending themselves with a firearm and encourages a “gun-friendly” atmosphere that makes federal gun control more difficult.

As more states pass constitutional carry laws, we come closer as a nation to establishing national reciprocity where a legal firearms carrier from one state can legally carry a gun in any other state.

Anything that moves us closer to doing away with the tangled myriad of concealed carry laws that are different in every state can only be a good thing.