Constitutional Carry Now The Law In Two More States

(AP Photo/Eric Gay, File)

There are no shortage of new laws going into effect across the country today, including new restrictions on the right to keep and bear arms in Virginia, but the biggest changes that gun owners will see are positive ones. In both Iowa and Tennessee, Constitutional Carry is now in effect, which means that most legal gun owners can now lawfully carry a firearm without the need to get a government permission slip.

In both states, the existing concealed carry licensing system will remain in place for those who want to be able to legally carry in other states that recognize Iowa or Tennessee carry licenses, and there’s a lot of speculation about how many residents will choose to take advantage of the new law. One Iowa gun store owner says he doesn’t anticipate many changes to the status quo.

Dave Bloom, owner of JLM Shooter’s Supply in Urbandale, said he’s gotten some questions about the new law but the vast majority of his customers won’t be affected.

“Most of them don’t care because they’re going to continue to have a permit,” he said. “They have a permit now. They’re going to have one in the future. Most of our customers this law is completely irrelevant. They just don’t care.”

Bloom said he does expect to see some new sales from people who didn’t want to go through the permit process before but are interested in buying a gun. But he doesn’t think it will be a big uptick.

“We don’t think it’s going to be a lot because so many people have the permits to carry,” he said.

That’s actually a good point. Many people who support the idea of Constitutional Carry are already lawfully carrying with a permit, and while they they may choose to let their license expire in the future, the new permitless carry law won’t have much of an immediate impact on them.

In Tennessee, critics of the new permitless carry law say they’re worried that with violent crime already on the increase, things could soon get worse.

“While this city opposed this legislation, it’s going to happen, and we need to be prepared for it,” said Memphis Police Chief C.J. Davis.

Davis says law enforcement is training to deal with this new law but will need the public’s help reducing violence.

For instance, she says much of the violence in Memphis is committed by criminals using guns stolen from cars.

The Memphis Police Department urges gun owners to secure their weapons.

“More than 40 percent of guns used in crimes are stolen from vehicles of law-abiding citizens,” Davis said. “The police department is here to protect, and we’re here to serve. But we can’t do this alone. We need your help.”

The issue of stolen guns is a valid concern, but it also doesn’t have anything to do with Constitutional Carry. After all, while it’s now legal for lawful gun owners to carry without a license, it’s still a crime to steal a gun or to carry around a stolen firearm.

It should also be noted that the homicide rate in Memphis was climbing before Constitutional Carry took effect. The city’s recorded 128 homicides this year, which is 17 more than where the city was on July 1, 2020, and legal gun owners aren’t driving the increase.

In addition to Tennessee and Iowa’s new Constitutional Carry laws taking effect, the state of Wyoming’s permitless carry law is also getting a tweak. Beginning today, non-residents who can legally possess a firearm can also legally carry it in the state without the need for a license. Strangely, I haven’t run across any criticism of that law in local news reports. Maybe that’s because the state’s Constitutional Carry law has already been in effect for residents for several years without any reported issues, or maybe it’s because this is Wyoming we’re talking about; one of the most Second Amendment-friendly states in the nation.

I suspect that much of the debate around Constitutional Carry in Iowa and Tennessee will quickly fade now that the law is fully in place. At least that’s been the experience in the nearly two dozen states that have adopted permitless carry over the past decade or so; a flurry of dire warnings in advance of the law’s implementation followed by a lot of silence as those doom-and-gloom predictions fail to come true. I see no reason why Tennessee and Iowa’s experience would be any different from Oklahoma, Kansas, and many other states that have embraced permitless carry in recent years. I just hope that the latest states to approve Constitutional Carry can help spur others to do the same.