‘Constitutional carry’ comes to Texas. The trend in five charts.

Second Amendment


Soon, most Texans will be able to openly carry a handgun in public. No background check or training necessary.

It will be a major expansion in gun rights, one that Texas is uncharacteristically late in arriving at. About 20 other states already have “permitless carry” (also known as “constitutional carry”) laws.

Why We Wrote This

When Texas changes its gun laws, the United States takes notice. But “permitless carry” already has been adopted in 19 other states. What are the effects so far?

Vermont is an outlier, having never regulated gun possession in its history. It’s legal to carry a concealed handgun in all 50 states, though most require a license, training, and a background check. In Texas, residents generally need to pass a written exam and a shooting proficiency test, complete four to six hours of training, and submit their fingerprints.

The new permitless carry law would nix that requirement, essentially making permits optional. Only those already barred from carrying a gun would be excluded.

It’s one trend in a rapidly changing gun rights landscape. Nineteen states with permitless carry adopted the laws in the past decade, due in great part to National Rifle Association lobbying efforts.

Supporters of permitless carry argue that it helps protect citizens’ Second Amendment rights and makes the public safer. But the laws have provoked fears of increased violence and have been opposed by law enforcement in many states. So, who’s right?

Irving, Texas

Soon, most adult Texans will be able to openly carry a handgun in public. No background check or training necessary.

It will be a major expansion in gun rights, one that Texas is uncharacteristically late in arriving at. About 20 other states already have “permitless carry” (also known as “constitutional carry”) laws, including Vermont.

Vermont is an outlier, having never regulated gun possession in its history. It’s legal to carry a concealed handgun in all 50 states, though most require a license, training, and a completed background check. In Texas, for open or concealed carry, residents generally need to pass a written exam and a shooting proficiency test, complete four to six hours of training, and submit their fingerprints.

Why We Wrote This

When Texas changes its gun laws, the United States takes notice. But “permitless carry” already has been adopted in 19 other states. What are the effects so far?

The new permitless carry law awaiting Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s signature would nix that requirement, essentially making permits – and the training and paper trails that come with them – optional. Only those already barred from carrying a gun would be excluded.

It’s one trend in a rapidly changing gun rights landscape. Nineteen of the states with permitless carry adopted the laws in the past decade, due in great part to National Rifle Association lobbying efforts. (Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee thanked the group in a tweet after signing the bill into law.)





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