Open and Concealed Carry Laws are Changing Across the U.S. – Will You Be Impacted?

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In many U.S. states, you can get a permit to legally carry a concealed weapon, provided you haven’t been institutionalized and you’re not a convicted felon. According to data published by Game & Fish, nearly 20 million Americans have concealed carry permits and thanks to the pandemic, that number is growing.

While the pandemic has created a sharp increase in the number of first-time gun owners and CCW permit holders, lawmakers are attempting to limit the right to open carry. This isn’t sitting well with people who can’t get a CCW permit and would need to fall back on open carry. After all, if they can’t openly carry a firearm on their person, why bother owning a gun for protection?

Getting a permit for concealed carry makes sense, but having to prove an immediate need for protection isn’t possible for everyone. Many people want protection against unexpected threats, and if they can’t get a CCW permit, they can’t protect themselves or their families in public.

Open carry is on the chopping block

Although there have always been a select number of places where it’s illegal to carry – open or concealed – recent court decisions are making it hard to carry at all. For example, open carry is prohibited in Hawaii, and a San Francisco Court of Appeals recently upheld this prohibition.

If it sounds strange for a U.S. court to uphold a blanket ban on open carry, it’s because some courts believe the Second Amendment doesn’t give anyone the right to carry a firearm outside of their home.  

Senate Bill 21-256 allows for local gun control laws in Colorado

While a federal ban on open or concealed carry is highly unlikely, counties in Colorado can now pass their own laws at the local level. Thanks to SB 21-256, local Colorado governments can pass gun control laws that were previously up to the state.

With this new legislation, we’re guaranteed to see states all over the U.S. enact similar laws that will eventually prohibit citizens from owning certain types of firearms and using certain types of ammunition. Additionally, there will certainly be carry restrictions.

Already, states are attempting to change CCW laws in both directions – some with more leniency and others with more restrictions. For example, Louisiana tried to pass a bill that would allow anyone 21 years of age or older to carry a concealed weapon without a permit or training. Governor John Bel Edwards vetoed the bill, which means LA residents must still obtain a permit and training to carry a concealed firearm.

Jefferson County, Colorado is moving in the opposite direction with proposed legislation that would ban all firearms from its parks, trails, and facilities. Currently, Jeffco only prohibits open carry in these places, but it looks like concealed carry permitted citizens are about to lose their right to carry.

Since the bill is new, it might be a while before other local counties follow suit. Unfortunately, this bill could spell bad news for concealed carry permit holders. Local jurisdictions could potentially ban concealed carry locally even when the state issues permits such. This would create a situation where state law permits concealed carry, but those permits would rarely be issued.

If open carry is banned, concealed carry will likely remain intact

For the most part, it’s just open carry on the chopping block. There is a reason concealed carry isn’t being attacked as much as open carry. Openly carrying a firearm in a public place tends to scare people. When people conceal their weapons, they’re not visible to the general public, so there’s no concern.

Are your carry rights affected?

Although many states are revisiting CCW laws, the right to carry a concealed firearm is probably not going to disappear completely in every state. However, laws are changing, and your right to carry could be impacted.

If your right to carry is a priority, you need to stay on top of the laws, especially now that bills are being passed at the local level. The implications are huge. Local legislators can enact whatever local laws they want to regulate firearm ownership and the ability to carry. For example, passing an assault weapons ban at the federal level banning all AR and AK firearms has been tough.

However, now local governments can enact an “assault weapons ban” that would prevent you from owning any AR pistol or rifle. You’d have to choose between hiding your weapon (which would make you a felon), moving to a different county or state, or surrendering your firearm.

If you want to avoid getting caught in this type of situation, keep an eye on your local legislation. Now that it’s legal, strict, local gun control laws are about to become widespread.

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