On Constitutional Carry


A recent lawsuit by Florida Carry, Inc., has renewed calls for the state to reconsider its ban on open carry, which allows a firearms owner to carry a pistol in a holster visible to the public and law enforcement.

While I am an open-carry proponent, I think it is time to at least start the discussion on a larger, broader step – Constitutional Carry.

Constitutional Carry occurs when the government gets out of the firearms regulation business. It’s also known as permitless-carry.

Law abiding citizens decide for themselves whether they want to carry a pistol – concealed or in the open. No state permit is required, as long as the person is legally entitled to own and carry a firearm.

So far, seven states have enacted Constitutional Carry, although in Montana and Idaho the law is not statewide.2A image

More than a dozen states are considering some type of Constitutional Carry legislation.

One of the best rationales I have heard for Constitutional Carry – a Libertarian argument – simply asks that if carrying a handgun for self defense is a right, why should the government regulate this right? And, why should we then pay the government to sell this right back to us, in the form of a concealed carry license?

One of the main arguments I have heard against Constitutional Carry is that convicted felons and others not legally eligible to carry a concealed firearm will start packing pistols.

Well folks, they’re doing that now. Anyone who thinks the bad guys stop to consider things like permits or licenses before tucking a Raven or Jennings .380 into their waistband is deluding themselves.

It’s a given that Constitutional Carry is self-regulating. That’s the appeal.

Some states with Constitutional Carry still offer a permit if the firearms owner wants to purchase one. They are most often used when the gun owner travels to other states, which offer reciprocity to their home state’s concealed carry program, as proof they have met their state’s concealed carry requirements.

Of course there are those lawmakers who will stop to consider the potential loss of state revenue involved: more than 1 million Concealed Carry Licenses have been issued since the program started, making it one of the most profitable licensing schemes ever seen in the Gunshine State.

I think it’s time to at least start discussing Constitutional Carry?

What are your thoughts?


About Author

Lee Williams can’t remember a time in his life when he wasn’t shooting. Before becoming a journalist, Lee served in the Army and worked as a police officer. He’s earned more than a dozen journalism awards as a reporter, and three medals of valor as a cop. He is an NRA-certified law enforcement firearms instructor, an avid tactical shooter and a training junkie. When he’s not busy as a senior investigative reporter, he is usually shooting his AKs, XDs and CZs. If you don’t run into him at a local gun range, you can reach him at 941.284.8553, by email, or by regular mail to 1777 Main St., Sarasota, FL 34236. You can follow him on Twitter: @HT_GunWriter and on Facebook @The Gun Writer.


  1. I’ve been pushing for constitutional carry for decades. I put forth a resolution to the Libertarian Party of Florida, but somehow it ended up on the cutting room floor.

  2. Lee Williams on

    Thanks for trying. The only objection I’ve heard from various gun groups is that it’s not the right time.

  3. It has been time for Constitutional Carry for a long time. Vermont was the first to try it and their experience was supportive of the suggestion C~al Carry does –not– cause an increase in crime. Alas, Vermont’s traditional crime rate has always been so low, driving it lower becomes a near-impossibility, so that claim cannot be made for C~al Carry.

  4. Robin 'Roblimo' Miller on

    I don’t like the high cost of a Florida carry permit. I mean, it’s okay for teapublican tightie whitie righties, but for the poor people who take the bus or walk/bike to work in poor neighborhoods and have the greatest need for a gun — and an even GREATER need if they have dark skin and need to worry about Zimmermans, too — That $100++ price is crazy.

    Most of the low-income people I know who feel they need to carry guns for protection don’t bother with permits. They figure it’s better to be busted for having a gun than to get killed.

    Thinking of which… why doesn’t the NRA or a similar group have a fund to help poor people get guns and permits?

  5. I can’t agree more.

    Most states allow for open carry and have encountered no real problems with it.

    The same can be said for states that have adopted Constitutional carry as well.

  6. Lee Williams on

    Crime rates have been dropping for years. While I think the increase in concealed carry has helped decrease crime, there are other factors, such as better domestic violence laws.

  7. Michael Hayden on

    I assume you also would like assault weapons, with 30 round clips to be included in this wild west dream of yours. Get a life.

  8. Lee Williams on

    Thanks for stopping by, Michael. “Assault weapons” are a bit hard to conceal, and they take magazines, not clips.

  9. Mike the Limey on

    As a frequent visitor to the US I am concerned that in certain states (Florida being one), I am prevented from carrying an effective means to defend myself. In most other states, I am at least allowed to openly carry a firearm so long as I comply with BATF regulations.
    I guess my life is worth less in those states that deny my natural Rights than in others that don’t.
    I would still rather be able to carry concealed but I guess that’s a way off yet for any state & legally present aliens.

  10. @roblimo.really we shd start funding poor people their guns!mayb they could just trade in their obama phone

  11. As a retired State Trooper who has closely watched Violent-Crime-Stats for the past 40 years, I have seen the U.S. at its worst.
    Over time, we evolved into a more civilized Nation. States have learned, that by ceasing their infringement on 2nd Amendment Rights, people have armed themselves through Constitutional Freedoms and consequently reducing Violent-Crime in the U.S to its lowest levels in 40 years.
    The uneducated opponents said Concealed Carry Laws would cause a Wild-West Shoot-out.
    Now we have learned: ‘An Armed Society is a Polite Society.’
    We have also learned ‘Gun Control’ (Chicago) & ‘Gun-Free-Zones’ like ‘Virginia Tech’ ‘Newtown’, ‘Ft Hood’, ‘Century Theater’, etc., etc. actually attract Violent-Crime.

    It only seems natural we further evolve our Non-Violence through “Constitutional Carry”
    Also, we must stop making excuses for Violent-Criminals and imposing hardships on the Law-Abiding-Citizens through Gun-Control SCHEMES.

    Constitutional Carry would be a Giant-Step towards eliminating Corruption in our Nation. We need to stop paying pseudo-Dictators to rent our inherent, unalienable Constitutional Rights given to us by our ‘Creator’…. not government dupes.

    LT. C. Christopher (Ret)

  12. What character qualities did Lee display as he helped his friend Jason feel better. We can keep attempting to improve our initial work, as if we’re incapable of selling any manuscript if we can’t sell this type of one.
    love it http://tinyurl.com/l656lje

  13. I live in Alaska where Constitutional Carry for handguns was implemented in 2003. The results have been mainly reducing the angst of law abiding citizens when they do carry. Police officers see little difference. As it turns out, the average person is much more trustworthy and responsible than you may imagine. Also you get a odd fuzzy feeling that your fellow citizen has your back even if you do not carry.

  14. Con-Carry only changes one thing, gov out of permit business. That’s it. It does not increase or protect the carrier from the patchwork of laws and regs that weave a trap for the unwary, at least in this state and I suspect others as well.

    Disarm going into a library, or any gov building. Drive onto the post office parking lot to drop a letter and it is a felony if you possess in your car, not just carry on your person, a firearm. Same for daycare. School, have to pull over before you drive onto school property and place firearm into a container with latch in trunk. Then when you leave the parking lot, reverse. Gun free zones, etc.

    If Con-carry opened this up, that would be freedom.

  15. Hans Tressler on

    Having read this I believed it was really enlightening.

    I appreciate you taking the time and energy to put this short article
    together. I once again find myself spending a lot of time both reading and commenting.

    But so what, it was still worth it!

  16. Susanna Elrod on

    It’s wonderful that you are getting thoughts from this post
    as well as from our argument made at this time.

  17. Karol Padbury on

    What i don’t realize is actually how you are no longer really a lot more neatly-appreciated than you might be now.
    You’re very intelligent. You recognize thus considerably relating
    to this matter, produced me for my part consider it from so many varied angles.
    Its like men and women don’t seem to be involved unless it’s something to do with Lady gaga!
    Your personal stuffs great. Always care for it up!

  18. The 2nd Amendment is our Constitutional Carry Permit. I am concerned about the use of the term “Constitutional Carry” being misused so frequently. Here in Idaho the term has been used to describe an effort to eliminate the inconvenience of acquiring a concealed weapons permit. The proposed legislation would have only eliminated the requirement to obtain a permit in order to legally carry a concealed weapon. It did nothing to eliminate the many infringements to the 2nd amendment in state law. I believe that the only way to arrive at Constitutional Carry is to remove all of the state restrictions (laws) to do so. Any law that is created to “allow” concealed carry without a permit is best described as “Permitless Carry”.

    I think that the Constitution is too important to use as a propaganda cover for legislation that is about convenience rather than Freedom. Once again in plain English, to arrive at Constitutional Carry it is not necessary to create new law, it is necessary to remove infringing laws.

  19. First, thank you for all that you do for each of us regarding our rights. It is amazing (and wonderful) that our founding fathers were intelligent and steadfast in their belief that the central government that they just formed, would likely become something that might assume responsibilities the general population did not want them to assume; and therefore be deemed ‘tyranical.’

    If a thing is deemed a ‘right,’ why then does anyone need to pay a government for a paper that reads.. we ‘PERMIT YOU’ to pursue the thing you already have and had a right to pursue without that paper permit?

    There can only be two TRUE purposes for such nonsense: 1. Knowing who has firearms and 2. Where they are being held. We all know why.

    Criminals do not buy guns where you and I buy guns… they won’t be permitted… government will not know where those guns are. So when the confiscation is through; all of the law-abiding people’s guns will be collected and NONE of the criminals guns will be collected. That is more than a little scary… it is terrifying!

    Does a man or woman require any government’s permission to protect him/herself, their children, and/or other defenseless and innocent (and unarmed) people that are simply carrying on in their day-to-day lives legally?

    There is no law that perfects obedience from one who is without moral compass. For one of character and distinct moral compass… no law is required.

    There is no police force anywhere that is equipped well enough to protect an entire nation of unarmed people. The very nature of criminal activity offers the element of surprise which serves the perpetrators, not the police or the populace.

    The only ones capable of dealing with such a natural presence of danger… are those citizens who are at the brunt and front of that criminal activity that is ‘in their face’ at such times.

    In such situations, the ‘perp’, and then the (proposed) victim(s) are the only ones privy to the impending danger. As such, the outcome without a weapon of defense in the hand of the victim yields an easily-guessed end. The outcome if the proposed victim is armed, can be, and typically is likely a different one.

    There have been numerous times in this country’s history, when, (if) an armed law-abiding person were present that__ far less victims would have lost their law-abiding lives. If the time arrives when no law-abiding citizen can protect his family; who will be around to stop the break-ins and life-taking of any of us? It is in fact, the freely armed law-abiding citizens that also protect those of us who choose ‘not to arm…’ that are somewhat protected because the perp doesn’t know who is armed and who isn’t armed. It is that ‘not knowing’ that scares him enough to think twice before smashing down a door. But when he KNOWS we are not armed.. what stops him?

    In closing I would like to say.. When a government fears its people, it is called ‘representative government,’… When a country’s people fear its government, it is called tyranny.

    God bless America… Home of the brave, land of the free .. land where our fathers (and at times, mothers) died defending the rights that God Almighty Himself gave each of us. I am old… but I love my country and my free neighbors… and enjoy those rights that I possess in order to be free to protect myself, my family, and my neighbor’s family. In one of (or ..the only) countries in our world where I am free to succeed.. or to fail in my life .. without expecting government guarantees or prohibitions. Thank you for providing this forum upon which you have allowed me this free voice.

Leave A Reply