While the debate over weapons bans continues to rage on, most people would likely be surprised that twenty-five of the fifty states in the US now have some form of constitutional carry in place as of August 1, 2022. As more states continue to make constitutional carry a codified part of their laws, we thought it would be a good idea to provide a little more insight into this often misunderstood right.

What is Constitutional Carry?

The United States has always built its foundation on the Constitution. Among the rights enshrined in the Constitution, the Second Amendment provides the legal right for an individual to carry a firearm without a permit or license. Since this can quickly become an extremely complex issue, this is often implemented at a state level instead of a federal level – despite being guaranteed by the Constitution.

When looking at the broader view, it is natural to wonder if codified constitutional carry laws apply to just residents or those visiting or moving to a state but haven’t established residency. Since most states are responsible for these laws, there are often discrepancies between each and exemptions that need to be researched. Of the current states with constitutional carry laws, non-residents cannot carry firearms without a permit or license in Tennessee or North Dakota.

Young woman self defence putting gun in her small handbag

What is the Difference Between Constitutional Carry and Open Carry?

Open carry is considered openly carrying a firearm when in public. As you likely have already determined, this is the exact opposite of concealed carry. Like constitutional carry laws, open carry laws are mandated at a state level – meaning each state has codified its own laws to navigate this issue. Many Americans have shown their support for open carry laws, although strict restrictions exist nationwide.

While constitutional carry calls for the unrestricted ability to carry a firearm as outlined in the Constitution, there are no distinctions on how the weapon should be carried. This means the weapon could be carried openly or concealed, even without a permit or license. The best way to view this is the “unrestricted right” to have a firearm on your person. As previously mentioned, only 25 states have adopted constitutional carry laws that require no permit or license.

What States Allow Constitutional Carry?

Gun laws are in a constant state of change. So, it is vital to ensure you are verifying the regulations for that state before deciding to carry a firearm. As of January 1, 2023, the following states will have all adopted constitutional carry laws; however, Tennessee and North Dakota have codified laws that only apply to current residents.

  • Alabama (Begins January 1, 2023)
  • Alaska
  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • Georgia
  • Idaho
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Maine
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • Montana
  • New Hampshire
  • North Dakota (Residents & CCW Only)
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • South Dakota
  • Tennessee (Residents & CCW Only)
  • Texas
  • Utah
  • Vermont
  • West Virginia
  • Wyoming

Disclaimer: The information in this article is NOT legal advice. You bear all responsibility for the use or misuse of this information. Only a lawyer can guarantee your complete compliance with the law in your state. We encourage you to research local laws further before deciding to carry a weapon in public.