Utah Becomes 17th State to Allow Constitutional Carry

Utah, a formerly shall-issue state, will allow law-abiding citizens to carry their handguns concealed without a permit. The state is the 17th to enact what’s known as “Constitutional Carry.”

Residents in Utah don’t need the government’s permission to buy handguns, and effective May 5, 2021, they won’t need the government’s permission to carry guns. Governor Spencer Cox signed the bill into law on February 12, 2021.

The other 16 states that allow Constitutional Carry are Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Mississippi, Missouri, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wyoming.

Gun-rights advocates believe the Second Amendment is all the permit citizens need to carry guns concealed or openly for personal safety. They also advocate national reciprocity, which would require states that allow residents to carry concealed to recognize permits from other states.

“I’ve long said that the Holy Grail for gun rights on the state level is constitutional carry,” Tom Knighton at Bearing Arms wrote. “If you hit that point in a given state, you’ve probably achieved almost everything there is to achieve…Frankly, more states need to consider it, especially in light of COVID-19. After all, how many stories have we written about places being unable to keep up with the demand for gun permits? There’s only a handful of states that deny permits for any reason beyond someone being criminally barred from carrying a firearm–something constitutional carry does not change–so why not remove the bottleneck by removing the requirement to have a permit?”

State and local officials have attempted to infringe on citizens’ Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms, citing the global pandemic. For example, a judge in one Georgia county suspended conceal-carry permit applications. The plaintiffs in the lawsuit said that the “natural right to armed self-defense does not cease to exist when a person steps over the threshold of their home and into the outside world.”

Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva tried to shut down gun stores, claiming they were non-essential businesses. The only way law-abiding California residents can buy guns is through a federally licensed gun dealer. Shutting down gun stores shuts down their ability to buy guns legally. After a backlash, Villanueva backtracked.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security added gun stores, gun manufacturers, and gun ranges to the list of essential businesses.

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