Posted on November 18, 2016
Concealed Carry Laws progressed significantly over the past few decades in favor of gun owners. In 2002, Vermont was the only state in the Union to have an unrestricted concealed carry law. Since then an additional 10 states have changed their laws to constitutional carry status.
At the original formation of the United States, all 13 states allowed conceal and carry as interpreted by the second amendment. The first bans on carrying concealed weapons came in Kentucky and Louisiana in 1813. Others followed their precedent and by the turn of the 20th century, every state except Vermont had some form of restrictions on conceal and carry.
Following unrest from the threats of terrorism, many states have since become more relaxed when it comes to concealed carry gun laws. Now every state permits some form of conceal and carry, with some offering more freedom than others.
Alaska became the first state to change their law back to unrestricted status. The Last Frontier was strictly against the carrying of concealed weapons until 1994 when the law changed to allow conceal and carry with permit only.
In 2003, Governor Frank Murkowski signed House Bill 102 which allowed for concealed carry of a firearm in Alaska with a few exceptions. Owners must inform or surrender their weapons if contacted by a law enforcement member. Also, if you are a guest at someone's private home you must first inform a residing adult that you are carrying a concealed weapon.
The state of Arizona eliminated the permit requirement for carrying a concealed weapon in July 2010. Governor Jan Brewer signed Senate Bill 1108 into law legalizing conceal and carry for anyone ages 21 years and older.
Arizona previously required a permit to carry a concealed weapon from 1994 and residents can still obtain permits today. A permit is only required if you carry your gun into an establishment that serves alcohol or if you are traveling to another state.
After several decades of requiring a permit, Idaho recently joined the ranks of the unrestricted in July 2010. Senate Bill 1389 was signed into law by Governor Butch Otter allowing Idaho residents 21 years or older to carry a concealed weapon.
The bill also allowed 18-20-year-olds the right to carry a concealed weapon by permit for the first time in the state. All non-residents must still obtain a permit to legally carry a firearm in Idaho.
Senate Bill 45 received overwhelming support from each house of the Kansas state congress in 2015. Governor Sam Brownback signed the bill into law making concealed carrying legal in the state of Kansas.
"The Free State" of Kansas kept carrying a concealed firearm illegal until 2006. In the nine years following that change, residents could obtain a permit on a shall-issue basis. Today the citizens of Kansas only need to obtain a permit when leaving the state.
Similar to Idaho, Maine also allowed the carrying of a concealed firearm by permit only for many years. In 2015, Governor Paul LePage signed Maine bill LD 652 on the books allowing for the concealed carry of guns without a required permit.
However, it is the duty of the gun owner to inform all law enforcement officers of the concealed handgun when contacted. This includes any scenario from a routine traffic stop to an arrest.
The state of Mississippi has allowed concealed carry with a permit since 1990, but recently passed measures to allow unrestricted carry under certain conditions. Since July 2015, you are allowed to carry a pistol or revolver in a "purse, handbag, satchel, or other similar bag or briefcase or fully enclosed case."
In April 2016, an additional amendment was added to allow the carrying of firearms in holsters and sheaths on the belt and shoulder. If owners wish to carry their weapon in an ankle holster, this would still require a permit under the current law.
Missouri is the most recent state to enact full constitutional carry. Anyone 18 years or older that is legally allowed to own a gun may carry their firearm without a permit starting in 2017.
Missouri was the second state to obtain constitutional carry by overruling a Governor veto. After passing through both houses of legislature, Senate Bill 656 passed in September 2016 allowing for permitless concealed carry.
Vermont is the only state that has stood the test of time when it comes to an unrestricted concealed carry policy. Despite being labeled by most as a liberal state in recent years, Vermont has never been able to pass concealed carry restrictions. This is due to the strong stance taken on the issue in Vermont's State Constitution.
In March 2016, West Virginia became the first state legislature to overrule a governor veto en route to unrestricted conceal and carry. The Mountain State required a permit to carry for years prior to the passing of House Bill 4145. West Virginia has been a constitutional carry state since May 2016.
Conceal and Carry was legal for many years in Wyoming with a valid permit. In July 2011, the state moved to a fully unrestricted conceal and carry policy to its residents as well as open carry privileges.
Out-of-state visitors must still obtain a permit whether directly through the state of Wyoming or through another approved state. Like in Vermont, police cannot disarm a citizen without due cause.