This year has been an interesting one, with four new states passing Permitless Carry Laws. By July 1st, 2021, those laws will have gone into effect, bringing the total number of permitless carry states from 16 to 20.
In addition to Permitless Carry states, five states require some form of permit to carry concealed; however, they do not require training to obtain that permit.
25 US States Allow Some Form of Legal Concealed Carry Without A Required Class or Training
In the below map, red states are states where an adult resident who can legally possess a firearm can carry it concealed without having to take any class. Hover over the states to distinguish between the two groups.
This map shows 25 states as red. Half. They represent 29.78% of the US Population. Half of the states. 1/3 of the population.
It Is Unconstitutional To Think Training Should Be Required
Additional states are still debating the option, and of course, EVERY TIME a state proposes passing permitless carry, we see a select number of firearm instructors argue against it.
I admit that I was once among that group of instructors. When I was a “young” instructor in the state of Utah, I rejoiced when the Governor vetoed a constitutional carry bill thinking it would be unsafe to have so many people out there carrying a gun without any training.
I was wrong in more ways than one, and if I'm honest, I was biased since I was making money from that government mandate to take a class.
Each of us gets to interpret the second amendment however we want. However, we must follow the law based on the interpretation of that amendment by our governing body and court system. As of today, while there is a lack of clarity from the US Supreme court on many firearm-related issues, it is my personal belief that requiring a person to pay for and obtain training is an infringement on our rights.
Please Explain This:
I don't understand how a person who works in the gun industry and claims to be a supporter of the second amendment can believe BOTH:
That one should NOT have to petition the government or take a class in order to own a gun to use in their own defense generally
That those same people should have to pay the government and pass some arbitrary amount of training in order to use that same gun in defense from beneath clothing and/or in public.
I understand that there need to be some reasonable restrictions on any constitutional right, and the 2nd amendment is no different. For example, I think it is reasonable that while incarcerated in prison or on parole/probation that inmates lose their 2nd amendment rights. And it is reasonable that I shouldn't be allowed to carry a firearm should I choose to visit an inmate in prison.
Sadly, we don't all agree on what is a reasonable restriction. IF you believe that training should be required and that such a requirement is a reasonable restriction, I would ask you to please justify that belief with some analytical data, fully aware of the counterarguments.
Let's talk more about data and arguments.
There Is No Data To Suggest People In These States Are More Dangerous
Anyone can spout emotional reactions or point to random isolated experiences or incidents to support their emotional response. The news likes to use quotes from firearm instructors like these.
I have some students come through my class that, without my direct supervision and tutelage, would hurt themselves and couldn't hit the broad side of a barn with the gun.
My counterargument to that kind of specific argument is that that person would almost certainly have sought out training anyway. They would have found a friend or a neighbor, or they would have just taken a class regardless. Or even more likely, that person probably would never have carried around a gun at all because the pathway forward to getting training wouldn't have been as clear or obvious.
Accuracy is Not The Only Consideration:
And, as much as we preach that the gun is not a magic wand that stops criminals in their tracks, we also recognize that there are incidents that resolve merely because the defender brandished the firearm. On the one hand, they use these incidents to support the truth that people save lives with firearms every day. But then say that any people who don't have “acceptable” shooting abilities shouldn't defend themselves until they pay the government and sit in a class.
Regardless of emotional sounding off and arbitrary not common sense, there is no data to support these claims.
As a nation, we have a large amount of data: many, MANY years of states practicing constitutional carry. Yet there is no research, no data, no information that even comes close to suggesting that gun owners in states where no training is required to carry are any less safe.
Arizona is a good one to point out as an example since the state has 7.29 million people and has been practicing constitutional carry for over a decade. Indiana hasn't required training to obtain a concealed carry permit for as long as I can discover by my research. At least 15 years. And despite more than 14% of the adults in Indiana (state population of 6.7 million) having obtained a permit, there is no data to suggest that they or the adult population in Arizona is any less safe than any other state.
This article from Urban mentions many of the standard arguments I mention in this post.
6 Other Reasons Why Training Should Not Be Required
So, in addition to it being an unreasonable infringement on our constitutionally guaranteed right, here are 6 other reasons I think the government should not require training.
1: How Much Training is Arbitrary
The idea that we can nail down some reasonable standard that everyone will agree on in terms of what training should be required is unrealistic.
States already disagree. Illinois requires 16 hours of training and New Mexico 15 hours. Then look at Colorado or Virginia, accepting any class of any length, even if only 30 minutes long.
To think that a certain number of hours or amount of content is the correct standard is to believe that when people complete that class or number of hours, they don't need additional training. That is a destructive and incorrect attitude.
2: Financial Tax to Exercise the Right
The constitution guarantees this right for several different reasons. The right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are central to our fabric, and yet if one cannot defend themselves, all their rights are at stake.
Forcing people to pay for a class and then pay the government money for the permit is effectively a tax paid to exercise the right. People will have to purchase a firearm, a gun safe, and other related gear to use and practice with the gun already. Adding on class and permit fees only makes it harder for many in low-income situations to access their guaranteed rights.
Some say, “then just make the classes free.” Okay, who is going to teach these classes for free? What type of instructor will offer to teach for 5 or 10 hours and not ask to get paid for their expertise? Especially where many people are shooting on a live-fire range? We all know the answer.
3: We Are Not Cops
We often hear people argue that if police officers are required to seek training, concealed carriers should also.
Concealed Carriers are NOT cops. Police officers should be required to seek training because they must come to the aid of strangers and society at large. Police officers must walk into dangerous situations.
A non-LEO private citizen does not need to do any of those things. They only need to defend themselves and their loved ones. Concealed carriers have a different mindset.
Furthermore, much of police training requirements intertwine with liability to the governing jurisdiction.
4: False Sense of Qualification
Perhaps the most dangerous concern about the idea of required training is that it gives the gun owner the sense of being qualified after completing that required training.
After all, if the government says this is all the education and training that I need to receive, I must be prepared fully, right?
Firearm instructors as a community generally complain about the tendency for the vast majority of their students to never come back for additional training after that initial class. Yet then turn around and voice concern that the government might stop requiring state curriculum as all that is needed.
The state mandates are in part responsible for the students not seeking out more training.
5: Lowest Common Denominator
A marketplace where gun owners are required to take a state-mandated class and curriculum is a marketplace where the consumer's incentive is to find the cheapest class offering in the market, regardless of the quality of the instructor or instruction.
Firearm instructors gripe all the time about how it sometimes seems that the lowest quality or poorest instructor in the market gets all the students because they charge so little.
Mandatory state training creates this environment where the lowest cost is the only driving consideration from the customer's perspective. After all, the student will presume that the class content will be the same no matter the instructor because the state mandates what content to include.
Suppose we trust the American gun owner to buy a gun and have it in their home for personal protection. In that case, we also need to trust the gun owner to proactively seek out training in a marketplace where instructors compete over the highest value product offering at the lowest cost.
6: What About Open Carry?
The disconnect between public safety and concealed carry permits couldn't be on display any more than in states that require training to carry concealed but require no such license to carry a gun openly. Are we supposed to think that we should hold someone to a higher proficiency standard because they choose to carry a gun underneath a thin layer of cotton?
Whether you are a firearm instructor or not, I support your right to believe states should require training for concealed carry. I happen to disagree personally, and our company as a whole disagrees with this premise. I get it. Training is important. If I didn't think so, I wouldn't have a company dedicated to firearm training. I have an issue with the governmental requirement and the false argument that without concealed carry licensing, the country will turn into the OK Corral.
After all, criminals are not going to seek out concealed carry training or get a license. And if we believe self-defense is an inalienable right, then any government hindrance should be backed up with unambiguous evidence that the proposal's benefits overwhelmingly outweigh the cons. Not just merely 51% to 49%, but must overwhelmingly favor the need for the proposed hindrance. In the case of concealed carry training and safety, nothing even close has been shown.
If you like legal content related to concealed carry, consider checking our Legal Boundaries By State book. It is available in paperback and digital copy. By purchasing either, you get lifetime updates to the e-version. It is a fantastic resource for anyone traveling across the country with a firearm.