IRGO Noblesville, IN

Once again the Indiana House has passed legislation allowing law-abiding gunowners to carry a firearm without getting a permit from the Indiana State police. Now the bill is heading to the Senate.

What does this mean? The term used across the country to describe this legislation is, “constitutional carry”, or “permitless carry.”

We have asked our friend and attorney Mike Nellinger to explain “constitutional carry” and why it matters to responsible gun owners throughout the state.

Please enjoy the article and let us know if you have questions or comments!

Stay sharp and stay safe.

Jim Anthony – IRGO Founder

Constitutional Carry, also known as Permitless Carry, refers to the legal, public carrying of a handgun, either openly or concealed, without a license or permit. The phrase does not usually include the unrestricted carrying of a long gun or a knife, as neither of these weapons would typically require a permit to carry them in most states within the United States.

The designation ‘Constitutional Carry’ refers to the right of an individual to keep and bear arms that have been a part of the United States Constitutional legal system from the time of the founding fathers. The Heller decision of 2008 prompted many states to move further toward allowing their citizens that right by eliminating the requirement that those citizens apply for and be issued a special license to avail themselves of that Constitutional prerogative.

Prior to the Heller case (District of Columbia v. Heller in 2008), there prevailed an array of different and conflicting laws about the carrying of firearms across the various states. That case held that an individual’s right to self-defense with a firearm was a “central component of the 2nd Amendment” and accordingly struck down Washington D.C.’s then-current handgun ban.

The vast majority of states today allow for the lawful carrying of a handgun. However, many states still require special permits, issued by their state, and variously classified as “constitutional carry,” “Shall issue,” “May Issue,” or “No Issue .” Following the Heller decision in 2008 and McDonald v. Chicago in 2010, the number of No-Issue states has been reduced to zero. The number of Constitutional Carry or Permitless Carry states now stands at 21 and counting.

In fact, during 2021, five additional states have enacted some form of constitutional (permitless) carry, which is remarkable considering that just over 30 years ago, only one state (Vermont) allowed concealed carry without a state-issued permit. Those five states are Iowa, Montana, Tennessee, Texas, and Utah.

The current list of Permitless Carry states includes the following as of June 2021: Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, North Dakota (residents only; concealed carry only), Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee (handguns only), Texas, Utah, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wyoming.

Indiana is in the process of again debating the passage of Permitless Carry during the current legislative session, and the proponents for this legislation may well carry the day this year. A similar piece of legislation was debated and narrowly escaped passage during the 2021 session. There are many arguments for and against such legislation, but we save those for another time. Suffice it to say that statistically speaking, when law-abiding citizens are allowed to carry handguns, whether with or without a license, violent crimes and murders tend to significantly decrease (see More Guns, Less Crime by John Lott, Jr.).

Michael Nellinger