So far this year four states — Alabama, Ohio, Indiana and Georgia — have passed constitutional carry or permitless carry laws, making them the 22nd, 23rd, 24th and 25th states to do so. Fifty percent of U.S. states have passed laws permitting constitutional carry or permitless carry in the last two decades.
What Is Constitutional Carry?
When a state does not prohibit individuals who can legally possess a firearm from carrying handguns it is called constitutional carry. When a state allows constitutional carry but individuals must meet certain qualifications to legally carry, it is referred to as permitless carry. For instance, Tennessee does not allow an individual to carry without a permit if he or she has received a DUI in the last five years or two or more in the last 10 years.
Constitutional carry or permitless carry has been on the rise in the last 20 years. Alaska was the first state to pass it in 2003. This was followed by Arizona and Wyoming (2010); Kansas, Maine, and Mississippi (2015); Idaho, Missouri, and West Virginia (2016); New Hampshire and North Dakota (2017); Arkansas (2018); Kentucky, Oklahoma and South Dakota (2019); Iowa, Tennessee, Texas, Montana, Utah, and Wyoming (2021); and Alabama, Ohio, Indiana and Georgia (2022). Vermont has been a constitutional carry state since 1793, with it written in its constitution. Nineteen of the 25 states (or 76 percent) have adopted constitutional carry or permitless carry in the last six years.
Which States Allow Constitutional Concealed Carry?
There are currently 24 constitutional carry or permitless carry states. These states include:
*(PC-[18/21]) refers to the age at which one may carry without a permit.
Alabama (PC-21 as of January 1, 2023)
Georgia (PC-21 and 18 for members of the military as of April 12, 2022)
Indiana (PC-18 as of July 1, 2022)
Maine (permits recognized; see Maine reciprocity section for details or PC-21)
Missouri (PC-19 or 18 for members of the military)
New Hampshire (PC-18)
North Dakota (PC-18 for residents only and concealed carry only)
Ohio (PC-21 as of June 12, 2022)
Oklahoma (PC-21 or 18 for military)
South Dakota (PC-18)
Tennessee (PC-21 or 18 for members of the military)
West Virginia (PC-21)
Regardless of the concealed carry gun laws in your state, a critical self-defense incident demands appropriate training. Learn the laws in your state and gain the skills you need with a USCCA Concealed Carry class.
Constitutional Carry in Alabama, Ohio and Indiana
On March 10, 2022, Gov. Kay Ivey (R) signed House Bill 272 into law, making Alabama the 22nd constitutional carry state. The law will go into effect on January 1, 2023.
“Unlike states who are doing everything in their power to make it harder for law-abiding citizens, Alabama is reaffirming our commitment to defending our Second Amendment rights,” Gov. Ivey said in a press release. “I have always stood up for the rights of law-abiding gun owners, and I am proud to do that again today.”
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine (R) signed Senate Bill 215 into law on March 14. It will go into effect on June 12, 2022.
“About half the states now have this provision,” Gov. DeWine told reporters, “and this is consistent with the United States Constitution.”
Gov. Eric Holcomb (R) of Indiana signed HB 1296 on March 21. The new law will go into effect on July 1, 2022.
“The Second Amendment has been debated for years, yet time and again our U.S. Supreme Court has reaffirmed this important constitutional right that I fully support,” Gov. Holcomb stated. “Twenty-three other states have laws comparable to HEA 1296. Vermont has had a constitutional carry law in place since it became a state, and several other states have had a similar law for more than a decade. HEA 1296, which I’ve signed today, entrusts Hoosiers who can lawfully carry a handgun to responsibly do so within our State.”
Georgia and Nebraska on the Brink of Concealed Carry Without a Permit
Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) has expressed his desire to support constitutional carry legislation. In January 2022, he spoke in favor of it at Adventure Outdoors Smyrna, Georgia. The House approved HB 1378 on March 11, and it is now being reviewed by the Senate. If approved, the bill will head to Gov. Kemp for his final approval.
“It’s great to see so much support for the 2nd Amendment, as the General Assembly considers bills to uphold this fundamental right,” Gov. Kemp tweeted the same day the House passed the bill. “I am committed to working with both the Georgia House and Senate to get Constitutional Carry across the finish line!”
On January 5, Sen. Tom Brewer (R-43) of Nebraska introduced Legislative Bill 773. The bill would remove the need for an individual to have a permit to carry a concealed weapon and prohibit regulation by cities, villages and counties.
“Concealed carry gives you the ability to protect yourself and your family and to do that in a way that no one else feels threatened — and again — this is a right, not a privilege,” Brewer stated. “Currently in the state of Nebraska, it is legal to open carry. Not an issue. But if you put on your coat and cover your firearm, you are now a criminal.”
UPDATE (April 1, 2022): On April 1, 2022, the Senate passed SB 319, which would permit constitutional carry in the state. It nows heads to Gov. Brian Kemp (R) who has indicated that he will sign it into law.
UPDATE (April 12, 2022): On April 12, Gov. Kemp signed SB 319 into law.
“SB 319 makes sure that law-abiding Georgians — law-abiding Georgians, including out daughters and your family too — can protect themselves without having the permission of the state government,” he stated. “The constitution of the United States gives us that right, not the government.”
UPDATE (April 25, 2022): HB 37, which would permit constitutional carry in Louisiana, passed the House on April 20 and now heads to the Senate for a vote.
“People can already open carry without a permit or any kind of training, there’s no instances. Honest, law-abiding citizens are responsible with their rights,” Rep. Danny McCormick (R-1) stated. “Twenty-five states have constitutional carry, Louisiana doesn’t. Every state that touches Louisiana has constitutional carry, we don’t.”
Which State Is Next?
Half of U.S. states have adopted constitutional carry or permitless carry. Most states have passed laws in the last 10 years. Will your state be next? Write your legislators advocating for it, and show you support by writing opinion pieces for your local paper. We all can play a part. Maybe next year your state will make the list. Also, arm yourself with knowledge if gun laws change in your state. Ignorance is never an excuse.
What questions do you have about state gun laws? Let us know how we can help in the comments below!