Concealed carry without a permit

Also known as “constitutional carry”, a number of States do not have a permit procedure to carry a firearm concealed. More States are now considering such allowances. The Washington Post recently reported on it, and said this:

The American public has recently been tilting toward gun rights; a Pew poll last month showed guns rights supporters pulling ahead of gun control supporters 52 to 46.

But Americans also want background checks, which permitless concealed-carry laws could do away with. A Quinnipac poll last year also showed that an overwhelming majority of voters, both Democrat and Republican, support background checks for all gun purchases. A similar majority would also bar people suffering from mental illness from purchasing guns.

“Permitless concealed carry” laws would not do away with background checks, since Federal law still requires an NICS check for every firearms purchase through a Federally-licensed (FFL) firearms dealer.

More States are pushing for “constitutional carry” simply to eliminate the ability for law enforcement to deny permits on faulty grounds. For example, after Illinois was basically forced by a Federal Court to allow concealed carry, the Illinois State Police just started denying permits without reason — and it appeared to be doing so to predominantly black applicants, even those without any criminal record or history of any kind. Part of that is due to Illinois being a “may issue” State, not a “shall issue” state like Missouri.

Speaking of Illinois, being arrested too many times — regardless of whether charges are actually pursued — can also disqualify you for a concealed weapons permit. And they can also deny a permit if they have “determined by a preponderance of the evidence that you pose a danger to yourself or others/are a threat to public safety“.

But beyond that, background checks for concealed carry permits tend to pull up things that don’t bar a person from actually possessing a gun. A person convicted of a felony as a juvenile who has had that record expunged may be able to obtain a firearm once they reach appropriate legal age (18 for long guns, 21 for pistols), but that previous record could come back to bite them when they apply for a concealed carry permit.

For example, one person wrote on the Expert Law forum detailing his experience in which a juvenile misdemeanor offense was used against him to deny him a permit:

My question involves criminal records for the state of: California

When I was 14yrs old I was arrested for fighting at school. I took a plea bargain as a infraction was fined 35.00 and given 2 day of work detail. I had my record sealed when I was 18 and have not been in trouble ever since. I have TS clearance in the military last done 2009. I am now 41 years old and have been denied my concealed weapons permit in the state of Georgia for a battery charge in a city (that doesn’t exist on the same date that I got into the fight in 1987. I called the county juvenile department and was told the records do not exist and would not have followed me as it was a infraction. I spoke to the probate court in Georgia they said they never seen anything quite like this before due to the fact that it only had a date and charge and had to deny the permit as a open case against me on file.

On the forum The High Road, a corrections officer in the State of Georgia found himself denied a permit due to clerical errors with the Court:

my so called terroristic threat charge from when I was sixteen (which was simply a cruel rumor started by classmates which is why it held no legal grounds) is still listed as a charge on my record. The probate judge who handles CCW’s did not have any info other than the actual charge on hand…..he had no information on what happened to the charge after it was filed almost 10 years ago. So I had to explain what happened and show him a peice of paper from the DA’s office that stated that the charge was dismissed almost as soon as it was written.

He was also charged with being a minor in possession of alcohol, which is a simple misdemeanor.

And YouTube user MrAk47master posted a video on March 4, 2011, showing the letter in which he was denied a concealed weapons permit by the prosecuting attorney’s office for Houghton County, Michigan, for a juvenile record in California that, under Michigan law, would’ve been a felonies if they were adjudicated in an adult court. The juvenile record does not prevent him from purchasing firearms.

So this is a person who was never convicted of a felony and so is not barred by Federal law from purchasing a firearm. His juvenile record does show he has misdemeanor convictions in the State of California. If he were an adult and those charges adjudicated in criminal court, as opposed to juvenile court, then they would’ve been felony-level charges under Michigan law (who knows what they would’ve been under California law), and Michigan used that to deny him a concealed weapons permit.

Now while a lot of people might say that such records should be disqualify someone from getting a concealed weapons permit, I must vehemently disagree.

You see in the United States we have this thing called “due process”. And under due process, you cannot refer to someone as a felon unless they have actually been convicted of a felony! The due process clause states, quite plainly, that you may not take away a person’s rights without due process of law. And before a person can be deprived under Federal law of their Second Amendment rights, they must be a felon, which, again, requires they be actually convicted on felony charges. And if the Court determines that a person’s juvenile record should be sealed, then that means it should not be used against them later in life — not as an impediment to obtaining a firearm, and not as an impediment to carrying that firearm.

But to gain the ability to legally carry a firearm concealed in public, we have to file application for what should be readily recognized as a right given the Second Amendment. And that application process operates on a “guilty unless a search comes back empty” premise. I’m sorry, but that’s not how it works.

And at the same time, a person who has not been convicted of a felony should not be denied a concealed carry permit simply because the charges on which a person was actually convicted would have been felony charges if the circumstances were a little different.

That is what “constitutional carry” laws prevent. A person who is legally able to purchase a pistol should be legally able to carry that pistol, concealed or open, without first having to apply to the government for permission to do so.

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