Permitless Carry

July 9, 2015

Bottom Line: The gun lobby pushed legislation in states around the country this year that would have dismantled state concealed carry permitting systems and let people carry concealed, loaded guns in public without a permit or safety training. These permitless carry bills lower the bar for who may carry hidden handguns in public—allowing violent criminals, teenagers and people with no safety training to carry in crowded town centers and on city streets. This reckless legislation ignores the 88 percent of Americans who support requiring safety training and a clean criminal record in order to carry a concealed handgun in public.

The vast majority of states require that a person get a permit before carrying a concealed gun in public. Permitless carry legislation dismantles these state permitting systems.

  • In the vast majority of US states, a person must have a permit to carry a loaded, concealed handgun in public. This ensures that certain core public safety standards are preserved when people carry guns in public places.
  • Permitless carry bills would repeal this important public safety law, allowing people to carry concealed guns in public without a permit or safety training.
  • Eighty-eight percent of Americans think you should get a permit before carrying a concealed handgun in public.Strategies 360 Survey, March 2015.

Permitless carry legislation dramatically lowers the bar for who can carry a concealed handgun in public—to include violent criminals and weapons offenders, teenagers, and people who have no firearm training.

  • Violent criminals: In many states, people convicted of violent crimes and weapons offenses are disqualified from getting a carry permit. But under permitless carry, these convicted criminals would be legally allowed to carry hidden guns on city streets.
  • No firearms training: Thirty-eight states currently require a handgun safety course before a person can get a permit to carry a concealed handgun—including 20 states that require live-fire training. In those states, permitless carry would let people who have never handled a gun carry one concealed and loaded in public.
  • Teenagers: In 36 states, the minimum age to get a concealed carry permit is 21. Permitless carry would let people as young as 18 carry concealed guns in public—even though this demographic commits nearly four times as many gun homicides as adults 21 and over.FBI Supplementary Homicide Report, 2012, and US Census population data, 2012. Persons aged 18 to 20 make up 4.2% of the US population and committed 17.35% of all gun homicides for which the age of the offender was known. Adults aged 21 and over are 72% of the population and commit 76.5% of all such gun homicides.
  • Dangerous people: Twenty-nine states give law enforcement the authority to deny a permit to people who pose a danger to the community. In those states, permitless carry would strip law enforcement of this authority and force them to allow people with recent violent criminal histories to carry concealed guns throughout the state.