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'Constitutional Carry' Advancing In States

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For decades, Vermont was the only state in the Union that didn't require citizens to obtain a license or permit to carry a concealed gun. Over the past few years, however, as shall-issue CCW permitting has become the law in most of the nation, pressure to do away with permit requirements altogether has grown. Four states, Alaska, Arkansas, Arizona, and Wyoming, have joined Vermont by adopting what has become known as "Constitutional Carry." Legislators in additional states are introducing bills to do the same.

Idaho’s legislature saw a new bill introduced that would not affect the state’s “enhanced” carry permits required to carry concealed on college and university campuses. Interestingly, Idaho already allows elected officials to carry without a permit or license.

"Idaho citizens want to be part of that exception," said Greg Pruett of the Idaho Second Amendment Alliance. "They feel that the second amendment is their permit, and they shouldn't have to get permission to defend themselves."

In New Hampshire, neighbor to the longtime permit-less Vermont, SB 116 which would remove the requirement for a license to carry, received an “Ought to Pass” vote by 3 to 1 in the state’s Senate Judiciary Committee. As is usually the case, the state would continue to issue carry licenses for those who wish to have them for carry in reciprocal states that require permits.

A Constitutional Carry bill was introduced by Republican state Rep. Curt Oda in Utah. The proposed law would allow anyone over the age of 21 to carry a concealed gun without any license or permit.

But there is a catch.

The law would require that no round be chambered in the gun. Republican Utah Gov. Gary Herbert vetoed a constitutional carry bill last year. Utah is an open carry state, but the state’s law requires that openly carried guns do not have a round in the chamber.

West Virginia saw SB347 introduced by Republican state Sen. Dave Sypolt. The proposed law would remove penalties for carrying a concealed weapon without a state license, effectively establishing Constitutional Carry. Open carry is already legal in West Virginia without a permit.

Indiana, Kansas, and Texas are among other states that are seeing new bills proposed to establish Constitutional Carry.