June 03, 2022

There’s a common belief that the second amendment right to conceal and carry is too restrictive. However, there is more firearm freedom now than any other time in our nation’s history. From tactical gun holsters and accessories to laws and restrictions, let’s dive a little deeper to appreciate a quick history of concealed carry in America.

First Concealed Carry Laws

In the formative periods of the US, states followed English common law, which prohibited concealing a weapon. Kentucky and Louisiana banned concealed carry in the 1800s, and other states soon followed—these laws came about after the creation of the revolver. Bans for other firearms quickly followed suit in the 1900s.

The first Supreme Court case that addressed this followed rules created in the Old West; in Robertson v. Baldwin, a decision was made to allow concealed carry and the right to bear arms. During the 20th century, New York’s Sullivan Law of 1911 required a permit to own a pistol and paved the way for other states to require licensure.

Paths To Concealed Carry License

In the early 20th century, law enforcement and individuals of good character could obtain a concealed carry license. Usually, these permits were only issued to those with wealth and good political standing, which at the time mainly meant white males. However, New Hampshire led the way by passing the Shall-Issue law in 1923—this required a permit to be issued to applicants if they met specific legal requirements. Washington and Connecticut quickly adopted this concept.

The Second Wave of Concealed Carry

Modern day concealed carry laws are considered the second wave of concealed carry. Marion Hammer and the United Sportsmen of Florida’s advocacy laid the groundwork for today’s laws. Georgia’s 1976 concealed carry laws and the Indiana Sportsmen Association in 1980 helped to create a shall-issue conceal carry, which requires litigation to be enforced. Almost every state in the union followed—40, to be exact. Vermont, Wyoming, and Idaho don’t require licensure, while Delaware, Connecticut, and Rhode Island have a hybrid of shall-issue or may-issue.

Concealed carry laws have come a long way—from complete restriction, to laws that only benefitted white males, to laws that allow most individuals to acquire a permit to carry. This quick history of concealed carry in America can teach us all a thing or two about appreciating freedom in our second amendment rights.

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