Recently, North Carolinians were handed a major Second Amendment victory: the General Assembly repealed pistol purchase permits; and rightfully so. The Jim Crow-era law was a stain on our great state, and it deserves to be relegated to the trash bins of history. That said, the General Assembly can and should do more.

It is time for North Carolina to join the growing trend of states that have embraced constitutional carry (also known as permit-less carry), a policy that allows law-abiding citizens to carry firearms openly or concealed without the need for a state permit. Constitutional carry is not only a constitutional right, but it also promotes personal safety, individual freedom, and responsible gun ownership. 

First and foremost, legalizing constitutional carry would further bolster the constitutional rights of law-abiding citizens. The Second Amendment of the United States Constitution clearly states that “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” This means that individuals who are legally allowed to possess firearms should not be required to obtain a permit or pay fees to exercise their constitutional right to carry a firearm. Constitutional carry aligns with the original intent of the Second Amendment, which is to ensure that law-abiding citizens have the ability to protect themselves, their families, and their property. 

Furthermore, there is no other constitutionally guaranteed right that requires a citizen to obtain a permit prior to the exercise of a specific right. For instance, we as citizens are not required to obtain a permit or take a course detailing what is ‘hate speech’ or what is slander before we exercise our First Amendment right to free speech and expression. Likewise, we don’t have to obtain a permit in order to have the right to a fair and speedy trial guaranteed to us under the Sixth Amendment. By and large, we are unencumbered in our desire and right to exercise our fundamental rights.  

So why do Second Amendment supporters put up with such egregious treatment of the Second Amendment? By doing so, we signal that there is something different about that particular right when in reality, they all should be equally treated for what they are: God-given, inalienable, natural rights. When we put the Second Amendment on a pedestal, we put ourselves in a position where we could inadvertently concede ground to the opposition. 

Secondly, constitutional carry would help to promote personal safety. In today’s society, individuals should have the ability to protect themselves and their loved ones from potential threats. Allowing law-abiding citizens to carry firearms without the need for a permit can provide a deterrent effect against criminals and reduce the response time in life-threatening situations. Studies have shown that states with constitutional carry or lenient concealed carry policies have lower crime rates, as criminals are less likely to target individuals who may be armed. Constitutional carry empowers individuals to take responsibility for their own safety and the safety of their communities, rather than relying solely on law enforcement. 

Constitutional carry also promotes individual freedom. It recognizes that law-abiding citizens are capable of making responsible decisions regarding their own safety and the use of firearms. It eliminates the need for government permission or oversight to exercise a constitutional right, which is a fundamental principle of a free and democratic society. Constitutional carry respects the autonomy and independence of individuals, allowing them to exercise their rights without unnecessary government interference. It also promotes self-reliance, as individuals are encouraged to take personal responsibility for their own safety and the safety of others, rather than relying solely on government protection. 

Lastly, constitutional carry encourages responsible gun ownership. Individuals who choose to carry firearms without a permit are still subject to state and federal laws that prohibit prohibited persons from possessing firearms, and they must still undergo background checks when purchasing firearms from licensed dealers. Constitutional carry does not mean that anyone can carry a firearm without any regulations or restrictions. It simply eliminates the need for an additional layer of permits or fees for law-abiding citizens who are already eligible to possess firearms.  

Legalizing constitutional carry in North Carolina would empower law-abiding citizens to exercise their Second Amendment rights without unnecessary government interference. It would promote self-defense, enhance personal safety, and uphold the fundamental principles of individual liberty and autonomy. By removing burdensome permit requirements and streamlining the process for law-abiding citizens to carry firearms, North Carolina can take a bold step towards restoring and protecting the constitutional rights of its residents. It’s time for our great state to join the growing number of states that have embraced constitutional carry as a common-sense approach to firearms regulation.