Self Defense

Is Concealed Carry a Constitutional Right?

While the Supreme Court has not issued a ruling or opinion specifically regarding the constitutionality of concealed carry, the DC vs Heller and McDonal vs Chicago cases point to yes.

I came across a recent blog post recently where the author suggested concealed carry was unconstitutional. This conclusion was based on the author’s notion of having a right to be informed when being in the presence of guns in order to have the choice to leave that environment and therefore unconstitutional.

Unfortunately for the author, being informed of being in those situations is not a constitutionally protected right. It was clearly apparent the author has little to no knowledge of firearms when writing:

You may have a right to own guns, but I have a right to life. My right to life far outweighs anyone’s right to gun ownership. Change my mind.

Joshua Alexander Hill, February 25, 2019

This statement leads me to believe the author has a fear of firearms and probably believes a law abiding gun owning armed citizen is a life threatening danger. This could not be further from the truth.

UPDATE: The author of the blog post responded with a comment indicating that I failed to mention (or read) his opening line where he states, “I don’t care of you own guns.” Truth is I read it, I just didn’t find it relevant as he continues to explain why he cares if they are carried in public. Hence, one may infer a fear of firearms. In his response, he also claims “most of the weapons used in the mass shootings of late have been legally-purchased weapons by “law abiding citizens.” – which to the best of my knowledge is true. However, we are talking about 75 or so tragic instances where legally obtained guns were used in a mass shooting (the rest were either obtained illegally or the source is unknown. That’s less than 1% of 1% of legally purchased firearms in a single month. And then there is the fact that guns save lives much more often (we are talking about several degrees of magnitude) than take lives. But none of this deals with the constitutionality of the topic.

Yes, firearms maybe dangerous when found in the hands of a person who is bent on causing harm. And that individual will not likely let anyone know they are armed until they are ready to commit an atrocity. Which is the very reason, many law abiding gun owners chose to be armed with a concealed handgun. The armed citizens are the individuals who refuse to be victims and may aid law enforcement or step in to defend the lives those who are helpless.

As far as constitutionality of concealed carry goes, one may refer to the Supreme Court decisions and opinions on the D.C. vs. Heller case or the McDonald vs. Chicago cases. The cases effectively indicate firearm ownership for the purpose of self defense is constitutional – via the 2nd amendment. As far as I know there have not been any cases taken up by the Supreme Court with specific regards to concealed carry. However, one can extrapolate that concealed carry is a self defense practice and therefore would likely be constitutionally protected. Not to mention that fifteen (15) States now have “constitutional” (or permit-less) carry laws and three (3) States have limited provisions of similar laws.

UPDATE: The author of the post I referenced brought to my attention that through my own admission of not being aware of a Supreme Court case where the constitutionality of concealed carry has been challenged my response to his post was “wholly uninformed.” To that I say, there is more evidence to support the constitutionality of concealed carry in the court cases I mentioned than there is to support the unconstitutionality of it. I performed research looking for evidence to prove the unconstitutionality of concealed carry and failed to find any evidence of it short of some dissenting opinions and some circuit court decisions (most of which have been overruled). Please feel free to point me at a reputable source that has supporting evidence. Frankly, the author of the post (and his response) do not provide any evidence opposing the constitutionality of concealed carry.

I do agree with the author, everyone has a right to their life. I only hope the author would take the time to learn more about firearms and have a little more faith in the law abiding armed citizens who also believe every person has a right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Armed citizens have had to typically undergo extensive background checks and are held to a higher standard of law when armed in public. They are more or less the good guys we don’t have to worry about or be in fear of.

UPDATE: This post is not intended to be an attack of the author of the blog post I’ve referenced. In fact, I find him to be a well spoken person who has done a find job stating his position. I find we have plenty in common – the right to life, the opposition to mass-shootings and loss of innocent life, and the desire to make our country better than it is. But we do disagree on how we, as a country, should go about it from a gun regulation perspective. I believe in the constitution and I believe the other author does as well. However, it appears to me we have very different view points on the validity and need for the 2nd amendment. I really would welcome and enjoy an actual conversation with the author to better understand why our views on the 2nd amendment are so different and perhaps agree on some actions individuals, communities, and government agencies at all levels should take to save lives and eliminate all forms of violence.

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7 comments on “Is Concealed Carry a Constitutional Right?

  1. The author of this quoted a line from my blog post where I speak about how my right to life (indeed, every American’s) is priority number one over anyone’s right to bear arms. He claims I have a fear of guns, and that I am somehow attempting to paint “a law abiding gun owning armed citizen [as] a life threatening danger.” Further, the author failed to read the first line of the post, which clearly states “I don’t care if you own guns.” I was born and raised in the south. I have been around guns. Most law-abiding gun owners are, in fact, *not* “life threatening dangers.” Yet, most of the weapons used in the mass shootings of late have been legally-purchased weapons by “law abiding citizens.” It’s been heavily reported during each mass shooting, as they occur (and it’s unfortunate that I even have to say “as they occur.”
    The author goes on to write “As far as I know there have not been any cases taken up by the Supreme Court with specific regards to concealed carry,” which in and of itself is an admission that this rebuttal to my blog post (though completely unsolicited) is wholly uninformed, by the author’s own admission. The author is claiming that concealed carry isn’t unconstitutional, yet turns around and blatantly states that, to their best knowledge, there haven’t been any cases sent to the Supreme Court to determine its constitutionality (or lack thereof.)
    To take it one step further, a study published in the American Journal of Public Health in October of 2017 posits that “more permissive concealed-carry laws not only do not promote public safety, but are detrimental to it.”
    Source: http://www.bu.edu/today/2017/concealed-carry-laws-and-homicides/

    In short: Your gun never has, nor ever will, take precedent over my life. Full stop. The right to bear arms will not mean more to America than the bodies of history riddled with bullet holes. It seems like that now, but fortunately, society is changing, evidenced by the fact that Americans from very walk of life (Liberal, Conservative, Democrat, Republican, black, white, hispanic/latino, ad naseum) OVERWHELMINGLY support a sweeping *federal* gun reform legislation package. The approval for that kind of thing is at 86%. 93% of people want background checks for ALL gun buyers, no matter the circumstance. This includes 80% of Republicans and 70% of gun owners. These polls were conducted by Quinnipiac University.
    Source: https://www.salon.com/2019/03/06/new-poll-identifies-two-policy-proposals-90-percent-of-americans-support/
    The crazy people who believe each American should have the right to a potential full-out nuclear arms race per citizen are ludicrous (and those people really do exist), and the ones who think that America will just continue to sit idly by while innocent people are dying from gunshot wounds (you know, the cause of death on a death certificate; not “crazy shooter,” but “gunshot wound”) are delusional if they think that we’re just gong to do nothing because “criminals will always find ways to get guns.” It’s the biggest cop-out in the history of cop-outs.

    It’s bs for the supposed “greatest country on Earth.”

    • Thanks for you reply. I appreciate your candor and the time you took to respond. I’ll post an update to blog post shortly in an effort to better explain my interpretation of your post which was intended to respectfully challenge your position (as we have opposing view points) and begin respectful discourse. Thanks again.

      • This dialogue is most refreshing. Honestly, I wrote the original blog post in a moment of annoyance after a personal heated debate with a friend. It was not by any means researched or fact-checked. It was filled with my own thoughts, unfiltered. In future, I intend to be more fact-oriented when writing/posting.

      • I welcome the dialogue and I encourage you to keep blogging. Thanks again for participating.

  2. My right to defend myself and my family is God-given and absolute, whether is is “constitutional” or not. It is no one’s business but my own that I am carrying a concealed weapon. If there is a problem with that, I am not the one with the problem.

  3. I love it how WordPress lets you compose a comment without being logged in, then makes you login and you have to start over.

    My right to defend myself and my family is God-given and absolute, whether is is “constitutional” or not. It is no one’s business but my own that I am carrying a concealed weapon. If there is a problem with that, I am not the one with the problem.

    • Looks like you other (pre-login) comment was posted as well… just landed in the moderation queue.

      I agree with your comment. The ability to protect one’s self and family is an inalienable right enumerated and protected by our constitution’s bill of rights via the second amendment. So is the ability to defend our liberties. I also agree that carrying a concealed weapon is your business – I argue it falls under the right to privacy, which is another inalienable right enumerated and protected by the fourth amendment.

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