The phrase “constitutional carry” means, within the fifty United States, that an individual is permitted to carry a weapon without having a license or permit. The term itself was birthed from the 2nd Amendment of the US Constitution, which declared that citizens had the right to bear arms.
As of this writing, there are twelve current constitutional carry states and three states that only allow residents to permit-less carry.
If a person is of predetermined legal age and not prohibited in any other manner from carrying a firearm, they are legally permitted to do so without a permit. There is an exception to the constitutional carry in the states of Idaho, North Dakota, and Wyoming. In these states, the legal right to concealed carry without a permit is for residents of the states only.
States That Allow Constitutional Carry
As of 2020, the states that allow for constitutional carry include Alaska, North Dakota, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, Idaho, Wyoming, Missouri, Kentucky, West Virginia, Kansas, Arkansas, Arizona, Oklahoma, and Mississippi.
In January of 2017, Missouri’s Constitutional Carry became law. Although purchases of firearms are still required to pass a background check, the process is nowhere as extensive as the one that was previously used for obtaining a permit for concealed carry. Missouri was the 11th state to enact Constitutional Carry.
The country’s newest and most recent Constitutional Carry state is that of Oklahoma. With the passing of its House Bill 2596, residents age 21 and older are legally able to carry a firearm in public, without the need for a permit. It also allows for those 18 and older, and are in the military or veterans thereof to also legally carry without a permit. Oklahoma’s Constitutional Carry came into law in November of 2019.
There are three states which have a limited form for the concealed carry of a firearm without a permit:
Illinois– The state of Illinois has the stipulation that a permit is not required when the handgun is unloaded and is fully enclosed.
New Mexico– Whereas, in New Mexico, the carry of a loaded, concealed weapon while in a car, on a motorcycle, a bicycle, or even on horseback is legal.
Montana—With Montana, the issue the prevents it from being a Constitutional Carry state is that it legally authorizes individuals to be able to carry, without a permit, in certain restricted non-populated areas.
Lastly, although Arkansas is close to becoming a state for Constitutional Carry, it does fall somewhat short. The current law is specific in that a permit is not required when an individual is traveling outside the county they reside in unless the same individual is carrying with an intent to employ the weapon unlawfully against another individual.
As you can see, there are few states in the US where it is lawful and legal to Constitutional Carry a weapon. Although more and more states are coming around to legalizing carry, there is still a long road of legalities that have to be worked down before we see that happen.