Constitutional carry (sometimes called Vermont carry) is a political and legal term used by gun rights advocates to describe jurisdictions where no license is required for either concealed carry and open carry of weapons. These include firearms, such as handguns (pistols and revolvers) and long guns (rifles and shotguns), knives, and any other form of hand-carried weapons.
|“||A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.||”|
In practice, a "constitutional carry" law would be one that allows either the concealed or the open carry of firearms and prohibits police from stopping someone based merely on the fact the person is carrying a firearm.
Constitutional carry means that the carrying on one's person or in/on one's vehicle of firearms, concealed or not, is generally not restricted by the law. A constitutional carry state is a "free state" from a gun law perspective (see "Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms"). However, this should not be confused with the use of "free state" by libertarians who use that phrase to advocate for political migration to achieve political power.
The legal term "constitutional carry" describes the Bill of Rights legal interpretation that the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution allows/permits no regulations or restrictions on gun ownership (e.g. "Shall not be infringed", in the Second Amendment). In actual practice, the 2008 District of Columbia v. Heller Supreme Court decision undercuts the descriptive power of the phrase "constitutional carry" because the opinion suggests that some state or city-county government controls may be allowed, at least as to certain types of weapons. The decision was limited to the possession of firearms in one's home.
According to the "uniform crime reporting statistics" of the FBI, as reported by the NRA, handgun murders decreased in Alaska, Arizona, and Wyoming after those states enacted Constitutional Carry laws in 2003, 2010, and 2011, respectively.
States with Constitutional Carry
- Vermont: Since the Constitution was first ratified in 1789, Vermont was the only state to permit "Constitutional carry". From 1789 until the 1800s, Constitutional carry was the "law of land". During the 20th century, all states except Vermont had legislated gun control bans on concealed carry. In most states, however, there was an exemption for those citizens with a permit. Vermont has a strictly worded state constitution, and anti-gun liberals have not been able to have any restriction added on the method of how one carries a firearm. For this reason, Constitutional carry is often still referred to as "Vermont carry" among old persons.
- Constitutional Carry state by state
- Barron, Alex, "Idaho Constitutional Carry bill advances & rally is called#nra #Idaho #2A". Idaho, American Redoubt: Charles Carroll Society. Published February 12, 2015. Accessed February 12, 2015.
- https://medium.com/@NRA/why-you-dont-need-to-freak-out-over-permitless-carry-1a3709355897 Why you don’t need to freak out over permitless carry
- https://ucr.fbi.gov/crime-in-the-u.s FBI -- Crime in the U.S.
- Hawkins, Awr (June 7, 2017). FBI: Handgun Murders Dropped when These States Abolished Concealed Permit Requirements. Breitbart News. Retrieved June 7, 2017.
- Hawins, Awr (May 22, 2017). Report: Concealed Carry Witnesses Largest One-Year Surge Ever. Breitbart News. Retrieved May 22, 2017.
- Hawkins, Awr (September 1, 2017). 12 States Where the Second Amendment is Your Carry Permit. Breitbart News. Retrieved September 1, 2017.
- Hawkins, Awr (March 12, 2019). 16 States Where Constitutional Carry is the Law of the Land. Breitbart News. Retrieved March 12, 2019.
- Shaw, C. Mitchell (March 13, 2019). Constitutional Carry Gaining Ground: Kentucky 16th State to Allow Permitless Concealed Carry. The New American. Retrieved March 13, 2019.
- Fischer, Howard. Concealed weapons bill goes to Brewer for signature. Daily News-Sun.
- Arkansas Act 746 of 2013 Press Release. arkansascarry.com.
- Arkansas Act 746 of the Regular Session. 89th General Assembly - Arkansas State Legislature.
- See Opinion No. 2013-047, footnote 7 dated July 8, 2013 at http://arkansasag.gov/opinions/index.php.
- Wyoming House approves concealed carry bill. Laramie Boomerang.
- "Wyoming governor signs concealed gun bill", 2 March 2011.
- Idaho’s CWL Law At AGlance (July 1, 2016). Retrieved on July 14, 2017.