On Friday, North Dakota’s Republican Governor Doug Burgum signed legislation making their state the 14th that allows carrying without a concealed handgun permit. The bill had passed the legislature with overwhelming majorities (34 to 13 in the state Senate and 83 to 9 in the state House). North Dakota thus joined New Hampshire in passing Constitutional Carry this year, though it seems unlikely that any more states will pass these laws during the current sessions.
Currently, it costs $60 for the application fee plus an additional amount for training for someone over age 21. While the number of people with permits will decline, we expect a significant increase in the number of people who actually carry as a result of eliminating the permit fee and mandatory training. Though there is evidence that these individuals will still get training.
In thirteen states, permits are not required at all: Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Idaho, Kansas, Maine, Mississippi, Missouri, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wyoming. Montana requires permits in city limits so they are not required in 99.4% of the state. The states are spread all across the country.
Much of the media relies on the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence (LCPGV), a gun control organization, for information on permit rules by states. Yet, they leave out Arkansas and Montana from their total. The University of Arkansas Law School has posted this note on their state laws: “Last year (2014) the Arkansas legislature passed a new gun bill that supposedly made only technical changes but may, in fact, have legalized carrying a gun, openly or concealed, without a license. The result was likely unintended by most of the legislature or the governor, who signed the bill, but the language seems to point in that direction. In fact, many prosecutors including our prosecutor here in Washington County have interpreted the statute basically to have legalized carrying a gun in almost all circumstances.” A 2015 advisory opinion by the state Attorney General does not agree with this interpretation (though no explanation for her reasoning is provided), but the decision to prosecute is made by local prosecutors and the vast majority appear unwilling to prosecute these cases. There has been no move by the state legislature nor the governor to try to undo this effect of the law.
The LCPGV also ignores Montana. It might be one thing to say that Montana doesn’t allow carrying without a permit in the entire state (true), but it is another thing to say that they don’t allow carrying without a permit. On the other hand, while virtually the entire state allows people to carry without a permit, a large percentage of the state lives within city limits (48% lived within city limits in the state in 2015). Still, people who travel to cities will need a permit, though open carry is allowed without a permit.
The LCPGV pushes completely false claims about concealed handgun holders produced by the Violence Policy Center.
These states now account for 40% of the US’s landmass and 10% of the population (as of July 2016). Arizona is the populous state with 6.9 million people and Missouri has about 6.1 million. Even if you exclude Alaska, it is still 28% of the US landmass.
|Vermont||Since they became a state|
|Montana (99.4% of state, about half the population)||September 15, 1991|
|Alaska||September 9, 2003|
|Arizona||July 29, 2010|
|Wyoming||July 1, 2011|
|Arkansas||August 16, 2013|
|Kansas||July 1, 2015|
|Mississippi||July 1, 2015|
|Maine||October 15, 2015|
|West Virginia||May 24, 2016|
|Idaho||July 1, 2016|
|Missouri||January 1, 2017|
|New Hampshire||February 22, 2017|
|North Dakota||August 1, 2017|