Poly-Ticks: Constitutional Carry Roundup

Caution, politics follows. Politics, n. From poly, Greek “many,” and ticks, “small bloodsucking arthropods.”

It’s been an interesting, and frustrating, year for Constitutional Carry, but so far, the Forces of History™ continue to move in the direction of greater freedom in the United States.

The predicted apocalypse has yet to appear, despite the press wigging out every time someone brings a young life of crime to an abrupt and proper end.

In 1990, the only state that allowed Constitutional or permitless concealed carry was very-low-crime Vermont. This has been Vermont law since at least 1791, so they win the “first” trophy. It’s a pretty lonely patch on the map for the next 200 years.

Constitutional Carry, 1990Note that these maps don’t really show the whole IPB and battle lines with reference to carry laws, as parallel to and years ahead of the Constitutional Carry movement, a movement for permitted carry and shall-issue permits was sweeping the nation, claiming most states in the 1990s from an early start with Florida and Texas. When the predicted bloodbaths didn’t materialize, the tide of permitted carry swept most of the nation, until the last no-carry holdouts were Illinois and DC, in the grip of organized crime and the Beltway peerage respectively.

Within a few years, Constitutional Carry was dipping its toe in the water as part of this nationwide (except the coastal, high-crime liberal enclaves) liberalization. The next state to come near CC was Montana, but the law wound up being watered down, excluding the rural state’s few cities. Note that we’re using pale blue for pale imitations of CC.

Constitutional Carry, 1992

Over 10 years passed before Alaska became the next state for CC. A bloodbath was predicted. Instead, nothing happened; criminals kept crimin’, although their odds of being shot by a victim or bystander did increase. There was no surge of justified shootings, as most carriers were, being a subset of “most people,” responsible folks. By this time legislatures in several states were facing Constitutional Carry insurgencies, and people watched Alaska to see what would happen: the anti-gun folks praying for bloodshed.

Constitutional Carry, 2003

With Alaska having failed to collapse into bloodshed,  Texas (which was a latecomer to even permitted carry, having maintained  Confederate- and Jim Crow-era bans on carrying for over a century) continued the experiment. Texas legislators couldn’t agree on full constitutional carry, but they responded to some police oversteps with a law that allowed people to carry in their own homes, businesses, and crucially, in their cars going to and from:

Constitutional Carry, 2007Arizona was next to take a leap of faith.

Constitutional Carry, 2010

Wyoming, then, but they restricted the law to residents. (Apparently they’re terrorized by tourists from California who have no gun-handling skills and less sense). The editorial writers, dreaming of getting out of Cheyenne and into New York or LA, wrote about the coming bloodbath in the streets. (The only bloodbath was continuing layoffs at the newspapers, which bring out the Sad Panda in all of us).

Two years ago, Arkansas passed a bill by wide margins, and the governor signed it. Editors wrote of the coming bloodbath in the streets. Despite being the very Ground Zero of Bubbadom, the level of violence in AR hasn’t changed, and it’s still being committed, mostly, by the same old career criminals it always was.

Constitutional Carry, 2013

And this year, we’ve seen legislative activity in many states. So far, the only successful one is Kansas. The K-C Star predicts bloodshed in the streets, naturally. Two other states have recently sent bills to their governors to be vetoed; several others have them in committee.

Constitutional Carry, 2015

This is slow, you may think. And indeed, it is. But it’s gathering momentum.

Constitutional Carry, 1990And we just looked at 25 years of it, one state at a time. Now, look at the first map and the last one ! That’s 1990 on the left, and 2015 below.

The changes seem a little more evident when you look at it this way. And the momentum is going our way, also. States are turning blue at a higher rate. The rate is unlikely to slow much unless or until the opposition is down to the last handful of anti-liberty holdouts.

Constitutional Carry, 2015Now, given enough time, this will be a moot point, as some kind of national reciprocity or full-faith-and-credit, either imposed by the courts or dictated by the Congress, is functionally inevitable at this point.

So, why persist in CC activism?

We can think of several solid reasons.

  1. Without activism, nobody sees the momentum gathering.
  2. Each victory enables the next. The argument that, “Arkansas did this and had no problems,” is an extremely powerful one, except with the editors, who so far have been ineducable.
  3. Each new victory is a bountiful source of lessons learned. For example, while many have believed “the best is the enemy of the good,” in Constitutional Carry, a near thing has prevented the real thing in several cases. For example, the anti-gun Governor of Montana was very comfortable vetoing a bipartisan Constitutional Carry bill this year, and the “motor carry” in Texas removed a great deal of the urgency behind Texans’ pro-gun agitation. Another lesson learned: even in a Constitutional Carry state, it’s good to keep an “enhanced” permit to boost your citizens’ rights in other, less free, states. In this way the new Kansas bill is a model for the other states.

If you want to win on this issue in your state house (we lifted some of these ideas from somebody, but we lost the link; can someone in the comments help us give credit?):

  1. Engage if possible, neutralize if not, law enforcement. The big political groups will be against you (appointed Chiefs, etc). So you need your own poster cops and poster chiefs. Some are on your side and will be willing to counter the bansters who claim to speak for them. You absolutely must have your pro-gun cops, because the antis will flood the state house with blue uniformed bureaucrats, getting a per diem for being away from their paper-shuffling HQ jobs.
  2. Use humor. A collection of newspaper pearl-clutching juxtaposed with crime stats from states that have gone before helps.
  3. Neutralize the NRA. Unfortunately the NRA-ILA does not support Constitutional Carry and their lobbyist can be your worst enemy. Why they oppose this, we don’t know; some of the lobbyists are Fudds who don’t personally support the 2A, and some may be hiring themselves to the NRA and Bloomberg. Also, there are rent-seeking trainers who find training mandates a rich source of income. (This may also be a factor in the NRA’s opposition).

Which state will be next? You can have an impact, if yours has not already made the move towards greater liberty and public safety.

22 thoughts on “Poly-Ticks: Constitutional Carry Roundup

  1. Tam


    Texas requires a mandatory training class, a qualification course, periodic re-certification, and one of the highest fiscal barriers to CCW in “Red State” America. If they’re “light-blue-watered-down-CC”, so is every other Shall Issue state. Both the Granite State and the Hoosier State, for example, have gun laws that are closer to Vermont’s than they are to Texas’s.

    (Incidentally, Indiana would have had CC this year but the poorly-written bill, backed by the state org, was allowed to die in committee without receiving support from the national org, and I don’t blame them. We’ll be back next year during a short session with a better-written bill and we’ll get it then.)

    1. MattL

      Tam, as a Texan here, I’ll agree with you that our CHL laws do pretty much suck compared to many other freedom-loving states. However, like Hognose was saying, car carry really is a big deal, since that’s all most people want to do with their guns anyways. I don’t think permit-less car carry is the national norm, although I could be mistaken on that point.

      I won’t be satisfied until we get full CC down here, of course. But I did appreciate at least being able to drive around with my guns, pre-CHL, while here at home… quite unlike in Michigan, where I go to college.

  2. Tam

    (Addendum: Having spoken with people at the national org, their lobbyists likely would have supported our bill had it not been a crap-sandwich that just crudely excised all licensing laws right out of the Indiana Criminal Code. Which is great except I would have instantly become a federal criminal every time I stepped off my property due to the proximity of a school. Also, I like carrying when I visit New Hampshire without having to get a Utah or Florida non-resident permit, which would have become an impossibility if our dumb bill had just rendered my LTCH invalid.)

  3. RobRoySimmons

    FTR I thought my 8 hour class for the Illinois CC very informative as to the law of when deadly force is legal and justified. So maybe we could take charge of the culture war we could be the authority and not leave the masses to Grand Theft Auto, Dirty Harry or the vermin propagandist media for their information

  4. rocketguy

    Here in WV we’ll be showing Gov. Tomlin the door at our first opportunity. Running out the clock on CC has a lot of people wound up.

    1. Hognose Post author

      Young people have a hard time believing this, but there used to be a lot of pro-gun Democrats. Long serving Congressman John Dingell of Michigan was a great friend of gunowners. Just to name one example.

      I don’t know why Democrats came to the conclusion that you must be MA or NJ Webbles of anti-gun to represent the party.

      1. rocketguy

        My wife gets upset when i make blanket statements about Democrats. “I know lots of Democrats who are good people.” Of course, she’s a teacher so her co-workers are all Dems. I still haven’t been able to convince her that the chasm between locals who vote D because their parents did and the national party is wide and deep.

        Apparently, I “spend too much time on the internet and get too upset about politics”.

  5. McThag

    If Texas is limited constitutional carry, the Florida should be as well.

    I compared notes with a friend who lives near Austin and that 2007 law basically made TX laws resemble FL for where and how you could tote your gun. Florida is no permit open carry on your own property, for example.

    1. Hognose Post author

      The reason I put Texas on the list is because of the provision for home, business, and auto carry. My impression is, the auto thing is pretty rare.

        1. Tam

          I know that back when I still lived in Georgia (it feels like it was a whole different century! ;) ) that GA law stated that no GFL was required to carry a loaded pistol in the car, provided it was either in plain sight or in a lockable storage compartment, such as a glove box or console. Good to know that it’s even better now!

      1. Pericles

        Texas had no permit required carry while “traveling” since 176, but the carry had to be concealed. What changed a couple of sessions ago, was that if you are in your vehicle, you are now presumed to be traveling as a matter of law. OC was added for your property or premises under your control, so Texas is still a hybrid. CC is currently being derailed in the legislature and we will probably end up with permitted OC.

  6. Miles

    To advise;
    As far back as I have been able to research, Missourians have always had permitless concealed carry on their own property and in their businesses.
    And since 2004, in their vehicles. The last was one of a combination of several CCW bills into one that began shall issue CCW.
    It’s been speculated that the relatively low number of CCW permits issued in Missouri, compared to polling numbers of who might get a CCW permit, is because of that permitless concealed vehicle carry, which is probably what many people actually wanted anyway. Before that, vehicle carry had to ‘open carry’.

    1. Hognose Post author

      IIRC, prior to sometime recently (2004?) there was no permitted carry in MO, Miles. I do remember it being a major theme of John Ross’s novel, Unintended Consequences. (John was also a key activist for licenses in the state).

      IIRC, again, MO’s original permit law was a Jim Crow law, intended to be applied differently based on the applicant’s race (although that detail wasn’t in writing. It was merely “understood” by all that licenses weren’t for everybody).

      1. Miles

        You are, in essence, correct.
        Before the 1964 civil rights act, there was, and is, no known, documented prosecution, or conviction of a white man in Missouri for the sole crime of ‘carrying concealed’.

        From then up to ~1975 when then Mo AttyGen John Danforth proclaimed that all Deputy Sheriffs actually had to perform some LEO function to receive full LEO ‘benefits’, the Sheriffs would hand out ‘Special Deputy Sheriff’ commissions as political patronage.
        These commissions specifically stated that the bearer had no LE function but was allowed to carry CCW. And since AFAIK there were been no black Sheriff’s elected in Missouri during that timeframe, I would imagine that very few Special Deputies were black.

        This was the only way, legally, to carry concealed in Missouri after the original outlawing of CC in the 1870s besides being an actual Reserve Officer of some city’s police department. Which didn’t much happen outside of the true metropolii.

        This practice apparently so offended Danforth’s straight laced Episcopalian sensibilities that he made his ruling.
        It was very shortly after that ruling when most Sheriff Departments began forming more Reserve units than just patrol reserve. Emergency Disaster Reserve, Dispatch Reserve, Jail reserve, Detective Reserve, you name it.
        And again, another process was available for CCW but this time you had to spend a little time (~8 hrs a week) doing something LE.

        Mr. Ross should also be acknowledged for his work in finally getting the MOAttyGen to make a firm ruling on defining exactly what the MO revised statues meant concerning NFA goodies and also his work on the latest changes to MO CCW and NFA law.

  7. Tom Stone

    I’m a 5th generation Californian and while I will cop to having no sense ( My first wife was ample proof), my gun handling skills are decent. Our local Shurf demands that you attend one of two local schools and “Show good cause” before he will issue a CCW. Good cause means you are connected ( donating a substantial sum to a certain reelection campaign helps) politically.
    Oh and those two schools happen to be run by people with strong connections to (deleted, I do have some sense). The classes I attended taught by a POST certified instructor don’t count.

    1. DAN III

      Would a copy of a USA issued birth certificate and an extract from 2A, USC, “….shall not be infringed” be enough “proof” to “show good cause” ?

      Your good sheriff, along with a host of others, deserves nothing less than a short rope and a tall tree.

  8. TRX

    Arkansas, unfortunately, is not a Constitutional Carry state.

    What happened was, there was an old, pre-CHCL law that allowed you to carry a firearm if you were “on a journey.” Otherwise, the only way you could lawfully carry a gun off your own property was with a badge. A couple of years ago the legislature “clarified” the old law by noting that “a journey” was to mean “crossing a county line.”

    Somehow very vocal people got the idea that this somehow meant “Constitutional Carry.” I’ve read the bill, it says no such thing. The Arkansas Attorney General has reviewed it, and he says the same thing.

    As far as I know there’s no case law yet on the “on a journey” amendment, but the pre-CHCL statutes and case law – all still in effect – were very anti-gun, and you’d only be covered *after* you crossed a county line, though presumably if you could prove to a court’s satisfaction that you were on your say to do so or returning from such a trip. And presumably once you arrived at your destination, you wouldn’t be “on a journey” any more…

  9. MtTopPatriot

    I think there is another factor to consider also. It goes along the lines of the preponderance and invasiveness of administrative law, or diktat as it is sometimes referred to, encroaches upon every facet of our lives, the primal concepts of rights and freedoms and the juxtaposition of increasingly contrasting differences between liberty of the natural kind verses the man made ‘laws’ based on personal power, politics, ideology and or agenda become ever more apparent.
    I believe people for the most part do not operate from a position of ulterior motives or employ dissimulation as a default dynamic in the course of their lives, that is the domain of the political elites. They just plain and simply want to be left alone and meddling in their personal affairs is a repugnant distasteful experience. The political class just doesn’t seem to get it. Of course they rig the system where no one meddles in their affairs. That is not conducive to garnering respect or cooperation from those they meddle with.
    At some point the concepts and ideas of primal rights begins to be seen as profound rightful belongings, regardless of “laws” or diktat from on high by those who commit wonton and or malicious disregard for any kind or type of laws but what they deem are useful to advance their special interest.

    Of course, controlling the little peoples guns, which is really two things, denying of or confiscation of private property, and the timeless natural right of defense and protection from evil, is of paramount importance to those in power.

    The contrast between the two things is creating a plurality in America. Or should say, the elitist desire to deny people property of their own free will is creating the veery thing the elites fear most.
    At some point this plurality becomes the most natural of grass roots movements.
    I think the evidence of this plurality is taking place in the form of an awakening and subsequent awareness of how primal and paramount unfettered use of arms, their possession, and uses truly are to rightful liberty.

    At some point if this plurality grows and becomes self aware, if the political class doesn’t back down from its attempts to disarm America, could very well be non compliance and refusal to comply with man made laws and regulation is unenforceable without the application of violent force on the part of those who deem themselves above any law but what suits them.
    Lets all hope for our sakes it never gets to that point where our government employs violence.

  10. Oregon Hobo

    This reminds me of what might be my favorite .GIF in the entire history of the Internet:

    It doesn’t go into the nuances of unpermitted carry that Mr. Hognose does, but it does show it in the context of the larger national trend of progressive liberalization* of CCW laws.


    * ie becoming increasingly more free over time — see what I did there?

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