Is a Concealed Carry Permit a Constitutional Right?

A police officer is down and bleeding. He’s been shot in the shoulder. His attacker is now pistol-whipping him and punching him. It’s a dark and nearly deserted Arizona highway. The helpless officer knows his time is short. Suddenly two shots ring out and his assailant falls dead. The officer has been saved by a passer-by with a gun who had the guts to step up. And save a life.

This really happened.

This is not a fictitious scenario created by the gun industry for promotional purposes. This dramatic event actually occurred recently in a state that does not require a concealed carry permit. It is not a unique story.

But what if that officer had been valiantly serving the public in a state that requires a concealed carry permit? What if the Good Samaritan did not have one? It’s unlikely the officer would still be alive.

And that brings us to this crucial question: Is carrying a concealed handgun without a permit a Constitutional right, or should each state get to decide?

North Dakota Joins Permit-Less States

This subject is once again in the news, thanks to a recent decision by North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum. He’s allowing his state’s residents to carry a concealed handgun for self-defense without a permit.

The bill he signed was passed by the North Dakota Senate two weeks ago (by a 34-13 vote). It already passed the state’s House in February (83-9).

There are now 14 states that allow permit-less concealed carry. The others are Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Idaho, Kansas, Maine, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, Vermont, West Virginia and Wyoming.

A concealed carry law that does not require a permit allows law-abiding citizens 18 and older to carry a concealed handgun for self-defense. As long as they have a valid ID and notify law enforcement of the weapon during instances such as a traffic stop.

Sounds like a logical law to me, yet 72 percent of our states still require a permit to carry a concealed weapon!

Second Amendment Is Clear

The Second Amendment to the Constitution reads, in part, “…the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”

Forcing a law-abiding citizen to obtain a permit before he can exercise his constitutional right is not exactly what I would call “constitutional.”

Yes, our society is very different than the one that existed in 1791 when the Second Amendment was added to the Constitution as part of the Bill of Rights. And yes, there are definitely a number of people who should not be allowed to carry weapons – with or without a permit – including criminals and mentally deranged individuals.

But law-abiding Americans should be able to protect their fellow citizens when they are being attacked by lawbreakers.

And they shouldn’t have to acquire a permit to do it.

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