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Right-to-Carry Summary

Monday, May 16, 2011

Self-defense is a fundamental right. The constitutions of the U.S. and 44 states, common law, and the laws of all 50 states recognize the right to use arms in self-defense. In Beard v. U.S. (1895), the Supreme Court approved the common-law rule that a person "may repel force by force" in self-defense, and concluded that, when attacked, a person is "entitled to stand his ground and meet any attack made upon him with a deadly weapon." Courts have ruled that the police aren`t required to protect you, and cannot be held liable for failure to protect you.

In U.S. v. Cruikshank (1876), the Supreme Court recognized that the right to arms is an individual right, stating that it "is not a right granted by the Constitution. Neither is it in any manner dependent upon that instrument for its existence." In District of Columbia v. Heller (2008), the Court ruled that "the inherent right of self-defense has been central to the Second Amendment right," and that the amendment protects "the individual right to possess and carry weapons in case of confrontation."

Before 1987, only 10 states had laws that did not impose arbitrary obstacles to the legal carrying of concealed firearms for protection. These laws are still in effect. Vermont law does not require a permit to carry a firearm openly or concealed; it prohibits carrying only with criminal intent. Seven of the 10 states have "shall issue" laws requiring firearm carrying permits to be issued to applicants meeting fixed, statewide standards, and two states fairly administer "discretionary-issuance" laws allowing permit-issuing authorities to approve or reject permit applications of qualified applicants.

In 1987, Florida adopted a "shall issue" law that became the model for laws adopted in 29 states thereafter. Thus, today, there are 40 Right-to-Carry (RTC) states. Of the 40, 37 have "shall issue" laws; two fairly administer "discretionary issuance" laws. Alaska, Arizona and Vermont do not require a permit to carry. (Alaska and Arizona also have "shall issue" permit laws, for individuals who wish to carry in states that honor out-of-state permits.)

Of the 10 remaining states and the District of Columbia, eight states and D.C. unfairly administer discretionary-issuance laws; Illinois and Wisconsin prohibit carrying entirely.

RTC laws have worked as intended. Since 1991, during which time 23 states have adopted RTC laws, violent crime has declined by 47 percent; in particular, murder has declined 51 percent. Those trends are through 2009, and the FBI has reported that total violent crime and murder dropped more than six percent during the first half of 2010. Permit-holders are more law-abiding than the rest of the public. For example, Florida, the state that has issued the most carry permits (having a large population and having had its RTC law since 1987), has issued nearly two million permits, and revoked only 0.008 percent (eight one-thousandths of one percent) of them due to gun crimes by permit-holders.

Criminologist Gary Kleck analyzed National Crime Victimization Surveys and concluded, "robbery and assault victims who used a gun to resist were less likely to be attacked or to suffer an injury than those who used any other methods of self-protection or those who did not resist at all." A study for the Department of Justice found that 34 percent of felons had been "scared off, shot at, wounded or captured by an armed victim," and 40 percent of felons have not committed crimes, fearing potential victims were armed.

H.R. 822, the National Right-to-Carry Reciprocity Act of 2011, by U.S. Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.), proposes that any person with a state-issued carry permit may carry in any other state, as follows: In a state that issues carry permits, its laws would apply. In states that don`t issue permits, a federal standard would permit carrying in places other than police stations; courthouses; public polling places; meetings of state, county, or municipal governing bodies; schools; passenger areas of airports; etc.



Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Appropriations Act Signed Into Law With Important Pro-Second Amendment Provisions

On Wednesday, November 25, the President signed S. 1356, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2016 into law. Included in the bill were some very important pro-gun provisions that represent the culmination of long-term efforts by ...


Friday, May 15, 2015

Obama Administration Opposes CMP Handgun Sales

The House of Representatives has approved Congressman Mike D. Rogers’ amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act, which—if accepted in ...

Gun Laws  

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Guide To The Interstate Transportation Of Firearms

CAUTION: Federal and state firearms laws are subject to frequent change. This summary is not to be considered ...


Friday, November 20, 2015

“F” Stands for Fail: Gun Turn-in Event Nets a Stack of Paper Pledges and Some Surplus Sporting Goods

Recently, we reported on Hillary Clinton’s praise for local firearm “buyback” events and her view that forcing Americans to participate ...


Friday, November 27, 2015

President Obama Signs NRA-Backed Measures into Law

President Barack Obama signed into law the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). It includes several NRA-backed provisions -- expanding gun rights on stateside military bases; prohibiting the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from banning traditional ammunition; and saving taxpayer dollars ...


Friday, November 20, 2015

Anti-gun Politicians, Media Exploit Paris Attacks in “Terrorist Gap” Rehash

The Paris terrorist attacks were not easily pinned on America’s supposedly lax gun laws or the NRA, but ...

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Michigan: Governor Snyder Signs Firearm Inheritance Protection Act

Today, November 24, Governor Rick Snyder (R) signed Senate Bills 225 and 226.


Friday, November 20, 2015

Brussels Pushes Gun Control in Wake of Paris Attacks

On November 18, the European Commission expedited a plan to overhaul the European Union’s already restrictive gun control laws. The ...


Friday, November 20, 2015

Overwhelming 81 Percent of Current and Former Military have Unfavorable View of Clinton

More bad news for Hillary Clinton. Coming off the heels of survey results that found the former Secretary ...

Washington Times  

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

White House to GOP: Worry about gun control

The White House said Monday that Republicans concerned about Syrian refugees waging terrorist attacks in the U.S. should focus their energy instead on banning guns sales to people on the government’s terrorist watch list.


Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.