Common Questions About Constitutional Carry

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What is constitutional carry?

Constitutional carry is the carrying of a handgun, either openly or concealed, without some form of license or permit. In some states this is also known as “permitless carry.” Constitutional or permitless carry reflects the view that the Second Amendment does not allow for restrictions on gun rights.

Though there are many interpretations of the Second Amendment, the Supreme Court never fully ruled on it until District of Columbia v. Heller in 2008. In the verdict for this case, the court stated that self defense was central to the amendment, but some state and local gun controls were allowed.

Which states have constitutional carry?

Carry laws vary from state to state. Currently there are 21 states that allow for constitutional carry. Of these states, it is important to note that North Dakota is the only one who restricts permitless carry to permanent residents of the state.

MissouriMontanaNew Hampshire
North DakotaOklahomaSouth Dakota
VermontWest VirginiaWyoming

Vermont was the first to allow for permitless carry. The state’s constitution forbids lawmakers from regulating firearms, both open and concealed. As a result, constitutional carry is sometimes nicknamed “Vermont carry.”

Of the 21 states that currently have constitutional carry laws in effect, four are new additions as of 2021. Iowa, Tennessee, and Wyoming’s laws went into effect on July 1, and Texas’ law went into effect on September 1.

States with partial permitless carry

Like any rule, there are exceptions. In this case, there are three states that offer a limited form of constitutional carry within their borders. If you have a Firearm Owners’ Identification Card (FOIC) in Illinois, you can carry an unloaded weapon that is fully enclosed in some type of case. “Case” is a loose term, but basically anything that encloses a handgun and fastens closed is fair game as a case in the state.

Illinois allows for partial permitless carry.

New Mexico allows anyone age 19 and up to carry openly without a permit or to carry an unloaded firearm. The permit comes into play for anyone who wants to conceal and carry a loaded gun. 

Like New Mexico, Washington state also allows for permitless open carry. Carrying concealed is also allowed when doing certain outdoor recreational activities, such as hiking, hunting, fishing, or horseback riding.

What is the age to carry?

Just like permit laws differ from state to state, the age required for carrying does as well. Age requirements don’t run along the same lines as the states’ permit statuses though.

Currently 37 states require people to be 21 or over to carry with or without a permit. This is 74% of the country. Twelve states, or 24% of the country require residents to be at least 18. But 37 and 12 only adds up to 49, meaning that once again there is an exception to the rule. Missouri is this exception, as the state has an age minimum of 19 to carry.

The Pennsylvania House recently sent a bill for constitutional carry to the governor, but he vetoed it.

As we move into 2022, Ohio will officially be jumping on the constitutional carry bandwagon. The state’s House of Representatives voted to pass Bill 227 back in November, and the Senate just voted to pass it as well. This bill allows for permitless carry for anyone in the state.

Pennsylvania, on the other hand, will have to hold off. The Pennsylvania House of Representatives sent a bill to the governor’s desk for a signature, but he vetoed it earlier this month.

Regardless of whether or not a state requires a permit, we believe anyone planning to conceal and carry should be properly trained on how to safely and responsibly handle a firearm, as well as learn gun laws pertaining to the state. At Concealed Coalition, we offer this training online and in-person nationwide. Find the class nearest to you today!

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