Is Nationwide Constitutional Carry Inevitable?

Over at National Review Online this morning the always prescient Charles C.W. Cook treats us to a look at one of the emerging trends in gun rights activism that is sweeping the nation, the reassertion of the core natural right to bear arms without a permission slip from the government.

Its popularity keeps spreading inexorably across the country. And so the train keeps rolling on. For years, advocates of the Second Amendment have fought tooth and nail to ensure that no American was left without the right to obtain a carry permit. Now an even more salutary standard has become fashionable: The abolition of the permitting system in its entirety. In 2015, three states added their names to the growing list of those that have adopted “constitutional carry” — states, that is, in which Americans do not need to obtain permits before legally carrying guns. Last year, another three joined their ranks. This year, the number joining could be as high as five. And after that? Le déluge.

Over at the Crime Research Prevention Center, John Lott Jr. notes that the number of “constitutional carry” states will reach 16 or 17 by the end of this year. Given that 15 years ago there was only one (two if you count Montana, which I’d classify as a “mostly constitutional carry” state) — and that 30 years ago most states had extremely restrictive permitting processes to boot — this is nothing short of remarkable. Elections, as it is said, have consequences.

It’s hard for most Americans to come to grips with the fact that federal gun control is entirely a 20th century invention, and stands on very dubious constitutional grounds at best. The Founders were very, very clear in their views that the federal government has no standing to pass gun control laws. “The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed” by our federal government is an absolute. These unconstitutional federal laws will either be undone in the high court, or as we’re seeing, with the Hearing Protection Act and other proposed bills, via the legislative branch.

The drive for “constitutional carry” that seems to be rapidly gaining steam is part of a larger battle that was joined in the 1980s, as concealed carry reform began at the state level and spread across the nation in fits and starts, and which is nearly complete today.

Americans have seen progressives throwing gun laws up with reckless abandon for over 80 years on the state, federal, and local level, with no discernible positive long-term effects. It’s almost like the American people have realized that restricting liberties is a flawed proposition, and one that doesn’t make us safer in any way, shape, or form.

Expect to see the constitutional carry movement to move much faster than the fight for concealed carry. The groundwork has already been laid, the old myths are busted, and as Mr. Cook so wryly notes, “Elections have consequences.”

Radical progressives, while still firmly entrenched in both the entertainment and news media, are ever-more radicalizing and appear to be collapsing as the dominate force in the Democrat Party, and may even sink the party itself into regionalized, urbanized obscurity. Opposition to constitutional carry laws will be vocal, but thin. As more states pass these laws and suffer no ill effects, the fear-mongering of the “there will be blood on the streets!” shriekers will become nothing more than background noise, and in many places, it already is.

The gun control movement had their play at forcing policy down the throats of citizens for decades, and yet accomplished nothing. Now the pendulum is swinging back the other way towards liberty.

What a wonderful time to be alive!