The very basic definition of “Constitutional Carry” is being able to legally carry a handgun without a permit. Therefore, you are not hindered by the government when it comes to exercising your inherent right to carry a handgun. There are no permits or training classes involved with Constitutional Carry.
Some states have special requirements in place for Constitutional Carry, so it’s not completely unlimited, depending on the state’s laws. For example, some states may require you to be a resident of that state, they may only allow either concealed or open carry, or there may be an age requirement.
Currently, there are 15 states that have some form of permitless carry, 16 once Oklahoma’s law kicks in. We included Oklahoma on the chart and list below since they will become a Constitutional Carry state starting November 1st, 2019. For the sake of brevity, I will be referring to Constitutional Carry (AKA permitless carry or “Vermont Carry”) as CC. Below is a map of the United States that shows CC states, and underneath the map is the list of states.
- Alaska – Due to the CC law being signed in 2003, they allow residents and non-residents to either open carry or concealed carry. However, you must be 18+ to open carry and 21+ to concealed carry.
- Arizona – Back in 2010, CC was signed into law which allows Arizona residents and non-residents to open carry at 18+ and concealed carry at 21+. They still have a permit system in place for citizens that wish to carry in places that serve alcohol or if they want to travel out of state.
- Arkansas – CC was tied up in the courts due to how murky the legal writing was written back in 2013. Finally, the Arkansas Court of Appeals issued a ruling that just carrying a handgun is not a crime in itself back in 2018. This finally allowed for permitless open and concealed carry for residents and non-residents alike.
- Idaho – Back in 2016, a law was signed that allowed CC to apply to residents for concealed carry. Originally, CC only applied to residents 21+ but as of July 1, 2019, the minimum age was lowered to 18.
- Kansas – Back in 2015, CC was put into effect so residents and non-residents over 18 can open carry, or concealed carry if they are 21+.
- Kentucky – CC was signed into law back in March 2019 and then it went into effect on June 27, 2019 – less than a week ago as of this writing. Now residents and non-residents who are 21+ can concealed carry without a permit. Open carry without a permit was already guaranteed by Kentucky’s State Constitution for residents and non-residents 18+.
- Maine – As of October 2015, CC was put into effect which granted residents and non-residents the ability to open carry at 18+ and concealed carry at 21+.
- Mississippi – Back in 2013, Mississippi passed the Unlicensed Open Carry Bill to allow open carry without a permit as long as the person was 18+. In 2015 and 2016, the law was fleshed out even more which granted CC to residents and non-residents that were 18+. There are some exceptions which require a permit, such as ankle carrying and carrying a gun in your pants without a holster (AKA “Mexican carry”), but those are easily remedied by simply carrying in a standard holster.
- Missouri – This state had some interesting loops to jump through in order to get CC enacted. A bill was passed in 2016 but the Democratic governor Jay Nixon vetoed it. To counteract that, the legislature reassembled in order to successfully override the veto. Finally, in 2017, the law went into effect which allowed residents and non-residents age 19 or older to open and concealed carry without a permit.
- New Hampshire – CC was first introduced by senators and representatives shortly after New Year in 2017 and then signed into law, effective immediately by Republican governor Chris Sununu on Februrary 22, 2017. This allows residents and non-residents who are 18+ to open and concealed carry.
- North Dakota – While North Dakota’s CC went into effect in mid 2017, there are a lot of requirements attached to it. For starters, it only applies to residents that have been living in North Dakota for at least a year. Also, if you’re a resident concealed carrying without a permit, then you must have some form of state-issued photo ID that is at least 1 year old and you must tell police that you are carrying if you are ever pulled over or stopped.
There’s actually a bunch of other legal mumbo jumbo that you can look up, such as literally being bound by the sun in regards to when open carrying without a permit is legal. Non-residents must still carry a permit recognized by North Dakota in order to open or concealed carry.
- Oklahoma* – Oklahoma governor Kevin Stitt signed the bill allowing CC, but it won’t take effect until November 1, 2019. This would allow residents and non-residents 21+ to carry concealed or openly without a permit. Or if they are actively in the military, the age is lowered to 18+.
*While not fully CC, Oklahoma was still included in this list since it is in the process of enacting CC.
- South Dakota – Back in January, the South Dakota state senate passed CC, which then passed the state House of Reprentatives a week later. Two days later, Governor Kristi Noem signed the law and it went into effect yesterday, July 1, 2019. The law allows residents and non-residents age 18+ to concealed carry without a permit while open carry was already legal without a permit prior to this law.
- Vermont – Just a little history background here, CC was the law of the land since the creation of the 13 original states until the 19th century. Yes, believe it or not, even heavily anti-gun states such as New Jersey, Massachusetts, Maryland, and New York had a history of being extremely pro-gun.
However, by the 20th century, CC was rescinded from all states except Vermont, which left Vermont as the lone CC state. Vermont doesn’t even have a permit because they’ve never needed one to begin with. All residents and non-residents that are 18+ can concealed or open carry. There’s even another nickname for Constitutional Carry – “Vermont Carry.”
- West Virginia – Similar to Missouri, the state legislature passed CC in February 2016 but it was vetoed by Governor Earl Ray Tomblin, which was then overrode by the state legislature. The law took effect on May 24, 2016 which meant no permit was needed for residents and non-residents to open carry as long as they were 18+, and concealed carry if they were 21+.
- Wyoming – Another state that enabled CC but only to its own residents, this went into effect in July 2011. Residents that are age 21+ could open or concealed carry without a permit. A resident under 21 can concealed carry but they must have a concealed carry permit. Residents and non-residents can open carry without a permit as long as they’re 18+. Wyoming does recognize out-of-state concealed permits, so non-residents with reciprocity can concealed carry if they wish.
That covers every state that has some sort of Constitutional Carry as of this writing (July 2, 2019). How do you guys feel about Constitutional Carry? Do you think it’s a bad or good thing? Let us know in the Comments section!