Where Will Constitutional Carry Pop Up Next?

With the passage and signing of a constitutional carry bill into law in Louisiana, followed by the signing of constitutional carry in South Carolina we’re now at both both a tipping point and running into limits for future growth.

First, let’s talk about that tipping point. A couple of years ago, we crossed the threshold where a majority of the states have no permit requirement to carry for people who can otherwise lawfully possess a firearm. But many of the states out here in “flyover country” don’t have the population density that blue coastal states have, so a majority of Americans still lived in states with a permit requirement, many of which make it practically impossible to carry.

With South Carolina on board and Louisiana coming as of July 4, we’re likely gong to go over 50% of the population living in permitless carry states. That may in turn lead to more advancement of gun rights later, but I’ll come back to that in a minute.

Sadly, though, we’ve hit that tipping point without much opportunity for additional gowth.

Constitutional Carry Map of the United States, with Louisiana in purple until the new law takes effect. CC BY-SA 4.0, Link

If you’re at all familiar with electoral politics, you’ll notice some similarities between these two maps.

States by the winner of the most recent senate election (User:DemonDays64, base map File:Blank US Map (states only).svg, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons)

There are a couple of crossover states, but for the most part, all the red states have permitless carry. That leaves only deep blue and “purple” states still with carry permit requirements and things are now going to either go more slowly or not advance at all from here in the near future.

How Do We Get More Green On That Map?

We didn’t get to the point where a majority of the United States (both by population and by number of states) has constitutional carry by wringing our hands, bemoaning the task ahead and writing it off as impossible. So now it’s time to take a good look at the wall in front of us and look for cracks.

One of those crack is cultural. With no permit requirement for the majority of Americans now, it’s going to be a lot harder for the media, politicians, and the Gun Control Industry to treat these rights violations as the norm. Gun control groups will pretend that it’s perfectly reasonable for people to ask permission to exercise an enumerated civil right, but more people will look around at 29 other states and conclude that’s not reasonable at all.

When the average person wises up and sees that — all hair-on-fire predictions to the contrary — there hasn’t been a massive wave of violent crime and rivers of blood running in the streets where permitless carry was enacted, it will become more politically difficult for the purple states to hold it back.

There’s also the question of whether this can now be addressed federally. Obviously, there won’t be a federal constitutional carry bill passed with Joe Biden in the White House, but Joe won’t be sitting behind the Resolute Desk forever. Even then, it would be highly optimistic to expect that gun rights would be a big priority in another Trump administration, so federal constitutional carry is still a very long shot. Don’t bet the farm on it.

Another crack in the wall is legal. The NYSRPA v Bruen decision was pretty clear. Unless a law had widespread precedence at the time of the ratification of the constitution, it’s not constitutional now. There were no permitting laws at the the founding or ratification, so it’s likely that if such a challenge makes it to the Supreme Court, the end result would be 50-state constitutional carry.

Having said that, the road to such a victory isn’t without challenges. Lower courts are doing their level best to delay the Second Amendment cases from advancing any way that they can, and in some ways that they shouldn’t. The hope there is that Biden stays in office and a few conservative justices kick the bucket, allowing for a newly constituted court that would come up with an excuse to let gun control laws survive.

Given the unpredictable nature of politics these days and the many ways that both Trump and Biden can succeed or fail this year, it’s anybody’s guess what we’ll see on that score. They’re both up there in age and they’re both loose cannons in their own ways.

What The Average Gun Owner Can Do To Help

Really, the further advance of permitless carry comes down to cultural change and our priorities.

If we want to see constitutional carry grow into purple and even blue states, we need to decouple gun rights from conservatism and the Republican Party. Like every other freedom, the right to keep and bear arms should not only be bipartisan, but universal. People of all ages, races, and backgrounds need to learn the value of exercising their right for it to gain traction outside of the places it’s confined to now.

Most gun shops and ranges today do a great job of being friendly to women, minorities, and basically everyone, while some still need to improve on that. Even places run by smart people sometimes have a few loud retired guys who like to hang out, drink coffee, and talk about politics for hours on end, especially more controversial issues that might discourage a potential new gun owner from sticking around.

Every business and social circle needs to make their own decisions on that, though. But every business and social circle can play a part in reaching out and expanding the acceptance of gun ownership to people in states that may seem impossible now.

4 Responses

  1. YouTube content creator ‘Washington Gun Lawyer’ recently posted a video in which he explains his reasoning why the CC wave will soon exhaust its momentum as any remaining States that would (under current leadership) even consider CC might do so. He opines that the current tally of 29 States (thanks to recent additions LA and SC) will likely max out at perhaps 32, at which point the “lines will be drawn” between those that value this liberty and those that do not. It will be at this point that the political standoff between the two camps will increase with vigor, and will be a potential indicator for identifying the two sides of a coming “soft” C!vil War. “Soft” hopefully being the case, and not kinetic.

    I tend to agree.

    1. I think 33 is the absolute max (absent an unlikely SCOTUS ruling nuking permit requirements). But any additions to the current tally is gonna take some luck.

      North Carolina is the best possibility *if* the GOP wins the governorship. (Absent this, Dem gov will veto it). Outside chance of Nevada, although I suspect they’d have to have an “except in Clark County [Vegas]” rule to get it passed there. Wisconsin is another possibility *if* the GOP can ever get someone elected governor (same dynamic as NC).

      In theory, PA might be in play with a GOP gov, but that’s not happening anytime soon, and I rather doubt a CC-supporting GOP candidate could get elected.

      Attempts in the remaining 17 states are doomed and hopeless.

      1. 75% of Nevada’s population resides in Clark County. I think their existing “no casinos” exception would be sufficient to placate the naysayers within their Legislature (crosses fingers). Vegas and the area loosely known as the “Strip” (it has expanded quite a bit beyond the classic Boulevard) have become overrun by homeless and petty criminals. I used to go there at least twice per year, but now my wife and I only go to visit friends who live several miles away from downtown, and we no longer venture there. In fact, all our friends (in Clark County) own guns and carry, mostly with CCWs. The people there understand the need for protection against the growing criminal element.

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