By Sam Hoober, Alien Gear Holsters
On March 11, Kentucky’s governor signed Kentucky Senate Bill 150 into law, making Kentucky the 16th state in the union to have constitutional carry. Prior to the passage of this law, Kentucky had a shall-issue system for concealed carry, meaning that a person was required to have obtained and keep on their person a permit.
The law will not take effect until the end of June 2019, but any resident of the state of Kentucky will be able to conceal and carry a handgun on their person without needing a permit so long as they are legally allowed to possess one.
At present, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Idaho, Kansas, Maine, Mississippi, Missouri, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Vermont, West Virginia and Wyoming also do not require a permit to conceal and carry for those not barred from possession of firearms.
The first, in case you’re curious, was Vermont. Most states, you see, have gone through various progressions of concealed carry laws. Vermont has never passed a law putting any restriction on carrying a handgun, beyond barring possession to convicted felons and so on.
Kentucky, on the other hand, took a while to warm up. In fact, Kentucky passed one of the first laws outlawing concealed carry of a firearm in the early 19th century. However, once progress arrived, it took place quickly; the Bluegrass State passed a shall-issue concealed carry law in 1996, going from no-issue to constitutional carry in about 20 years.
The late 80s into the late 90s is often referred to as the “Second Wave of Concealed Carry,” starting with the passage of Florida’s shall-issue law. By 2006, 39 states had shall-issue laws.
The past 10 years have been the start of the constitutional carry wave, if you had to put a name on it. Constitutional carry laws, which remove the barrier of a permit to carry, are gaining a certain amount of traction but face some stiff opposition in states that have more restrictive attitudes towards lawful carry by citizens.
As of the time of this writing, a constitutional carry bill is also before the state legislature in Ohio.
There is some controversy with constitutional carry. Don’t believe what comments sections say; gun owners are not a monolithic bloc with uniform attitudes, beliefs, voting records or any other attributes. Some hold that a permit system not only enables the background check system to screen for people that would otherwise be barred from possessing a firearm.
Then there’s the matter of training. On the one hand, requiring a person pay for a firearms course imposes a cost on citizens that wish to protect themselves. Doing so can make it so the working class and working poor have a hard time being able to fully protect themselves within the bounds of the law, which is discriminatory. On the other hand, you also won’t find anyone that doesn’t think some basic training in firearms safety, basic defensive shooting and/or marksmanship and in self-defense law is not a good thing. The issue, of course, is whether it should be compulsory.
And it’s a fair point to say that the Constitution doesn’t say “right to bear arms if they’ve taken a course.” It doesn’t, but if you don’t live in a constitutional carry state, you aren’t going to get far trying to tell that to a judge.
With that said, the fewer barriers to citizens lawfully carrying to protect themselves and others, the better. If we mean to affect violent crime in this country and combat it, the more people having the means and will to not be victims, the better.
Sam Hoober is Contributing Editor for AlienGearHolsters.com, a subsidiary of Hayden, ID, based Tedder Industries, where he writes about gun accessories, gun safety, open and concealed carry tips. Click here to visit aliengearholsters.com.