Maine Drops Concealed Carry Permitting Scheme, Joins "Constitutional Carry" States

Maine is the latest state to do away with concealed carry permitting, and will now join five other states that have so-called “constitutional carry” of concealed handguns.

Maine Gov. Paul LePage has signed a bill that will allow residents to carry a concealed handgun without obtaining a permit.

Maine will become the sixth state in the country with such a policy when the law goes into effect 90 days after lawmakers adjourn later this month.

Supporters of the bill signed Wednesday say permits are a burden on responsible gun owners and don’t prevent bad people from carrying firearms.

Maine residents will be able to begin carry concealed without a permit in October. It joins Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Kansas, and Vermont as the other states with constitutional carry. Wyoming has restricted version that allows it for Wyoming residents only.

Critics of constitutional carry like to point out that without a permitting system, concealed carriers won’t have a basic understanding of the concealed carry laws of their states, and are therefore a greater risk to the public.

I understand their argument. They are claiming that a baseline firearms education is needed, that there needs to be level of firearms proficiency proven, and that concealed carrier should know the laws justifying where they may carry and how they may use their handguns in self defense.

But here’s the thing.

I live in a state that requires classroom training to understand the intricacies of concealed carry law, and a firearms range qualification. While the part of the course covering concealed carry laws for our state was moderately informative, the fact of the matter remains that people are going to revert to their basic fight-or-flight instincts in a situation justifying the use of deadly force self-defense. The training was interesting from an academic perspective, but it wasn’t something that would have lives. At best,  its long-term practical effect was to get the idea in people’s heads that there are some places you can’t legally carry.

As for the shooting portion… well, the less that is said about this, the better.

Firearms qualifications are done at close range, with very generous time constraints (if at all), on stationary targets large enough that they would be difficult to miss while point shooting blindfolded.

Neither portion of the class prepares someone for concealed carry in any realistic manner.

Maine and the other constitutional carry states recognize that putting impediments on law-abiding citizens only prevents good guys from being armed. Criminals view and accept the risk of being caught with an gun in their possession illegally as a “cost of doing business.” By removing this feel-good hurdle, Maine puts their citizens in a better position to combat armed criminals.

More states should follow their example.