Constitutional Carry Part 1


First, a quick update: Yep, I’m back, and the surgery was a success. Virtually no pain now, but I was considerably weaker than I thought so it is taking longer for me to get back my stamina. I would like to thank each and every one of you for your good wishes and prayers. Seems I had a lot of folks on my side, and it worked.

I also want to apologize for the delay. Wouldn’t you know it, just as I’m getting ready to get back to work, the computer goes south on me.

While I was recuperating a question was brought forth to me regarding my thoughts on constitutional carry—a term generally meaning that no permit or license is required to carry a concealed firearm and relying solely upon the 2nd Amendment. Currently there are four states with constitutional carry: Alaska, Arizona, Vermont and Wyoming. Kansas will be added on July 1. Other states are considering it as well.

Just as there was when more states began the “shall-issue” procedure for concealed carry permits, some—primarily on the Left—began whining and handwringing that blood would run through the streets like flooded rivers and these areas would devolve into a murderous “Old West” society of lawlessness. Murder victims would be stacked up like cordwood. Well, as we have seen, all that worry has been for naught. Whether shall issue or constitutional carry, each of those states have seen a reduction in violent crime. There are several reasons for this, but undoubtedly one primary reason is that thugs don’t particularly care for getting shot as they ply their rather infamous trade.

Another reason for a reduction in violent crime in the states with constitutional carry is they are generally rural states with a deep-seated culture of respect regarding firearms. Even today in my home state of Wyoming it isn’t unusual to see a 30-plus-year-old pickup with a gun rack and a rifle in it. And I’ll bet a dollar against a tank of gas that it’s loaded and hasn’t been cleaned since Reagan was president. Around these parts we still feel it’s un-American not to utilize every opportunity to educate a coyote.

I’ve had a number of conversations with local law enforcement officers regarding this whole constitutional carry thing. In the interest of full disclosure, we’re all pretty much cut from the same cloth, gun-wise. The almost universal reply is along the lines of, “Isn’t that why we live here?” One sheriff’s deputy buddy who frequents my neighborhood regularly and I were discussing this recently and I asked him whether it has changed his attitude or tactics when he makes a stop. “Nah, I just assume everyone has a gun around here, and I’m pretty close to being right.” This buddy is as about as easy going a guy as you’ll ever find, but I would never bet on anyone ever getting the drop on him.

Now for those who feel that there should be some restrictions—a subject that I’ll delve into more extensively in the next blog—here’s one that’ll really blow your dress up: In Wyoming there are no legal differentiations regarding firearms ownership for minors and adults. The same rules apply to minors as they do for adults. However, if a minor were to strap on a sidearm and stroll into the local hardware store he or she could expect some questioning by the local constabulary. But if it becomes clear the youngster isn’t up to something nefarious, he’s free to go on his way.

Dave Campbell
Dave Campbell began his hunting career with a spear off the southern California coast in the late 1960s. It did not take long for him to graduate to the gun on land. Campbell is the founding editor in chief of the NRA’s tremendously successful Shooting Illustrated magazine. In 2006 he also edited the iconic book of terminal ballistics, Rifle Bullets for the Hunter—A Definitive Study. He returned to his beloved Wyoming in 2007 as a freelance writer, though he usually refers to himself now as a “recovering editor.”

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