Are Concealed Carry Licenses (CCL) Constitutional?

CCL, Concealed Carry License

Two attorneys in my home state of Illinois were reported, by Personal Defense World, to have challenged the state’s requirement for a CCL (Concealed Carry License) as unconstitutional.

I’d brought this up with friends and family, and a few arguments came up against Constitutional Carry: the position that it is unconstitutional to infringe upon one’s right to carry a weapon, open or concealed. The general consensus was that people should be required to undergo a certain amount of training in order to concealed carry.

I personally do not have a CCL, though I would like to get one. The classes are 16 hours for around 200 to 300 dollars, and then another 150 dollars for the permit. For some, that financial barrier, and finding 16 hours (two 8 hour days) of free time that aligns with class schedules, may be a difficult hurdle.

Those requirements probably put the “right” to self-defense a bit out of reach for people on lower incomes, the very people who probably live in the sort of impoverished neighborhoods where self-defense might be a greater necessity.

That being said, what exactly makes the police uniquely qualified to protect citizens? Well, Police are better trained, right? Actually, no. In fact, most police departments only train for 15 hours annually. Given that average police response, times are 15 minutes, I don’t expect police to arrive in time, or be any better trained to protect me, inside or outside the home.

But without permits people would carry guns everywhere. It’d be like the wild west! I’m as much convinced that requiring permits would prevent people from killing each other as I am that gun-free zones do.

Of the 13 states with constitutional carry, 4 of them do rank among the top 10 states with the highest homicide rates, but 5 of them rank among the states with the lowest homicide rates as well. In fact, 4 of the 5 lowest homicide states in the U.S. are constitutional carry states, while only 2 of the 5 highest homicide states are constitutional carry.

The best argument, in my opinion, for the CCL is that people with guns need to know how to use them safely, just like a person driving a car does, but driver’s licenses are proof themselves that licensing doesn’t guarantee safety. Most people take driver’s ed then once they’re not being graded on it they drive however the hell they want, without any regard for safety or the law until a cop shows up.

Every gun owner I know, even without training, is a strict adherent to gun safety rules. I think everyone should know basic gun safety because there’s a chance you may need to handle one someday. My uncle once found an officer’s misplaced service pistol on a road, and it couldn’t be left for a child to find. So, for any who don’t know, here are the basics:

  1. Treat EVERY gun as if it is loaded.
  2. Never point a gun at anything you don’t mean to destroy.
  3. Keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to shoot. Here are examples of proper and improper trigger discipline.
  4. Be sure of your target AND what is BEHIND it.

Also, the underlying logic of making something illegal for safety purposes is that you are going to preemptively punish someone because they might do something dangerous rather than that they have. Why punish someone because there’s a possibility they might injure or kill others when we already have laws in place to punish them when they actually do? We don’t arrest people for getting angry because they MIGHT assault the person they’re angry at. To do so is to convict someone of a crime they haven’t committed yet.

Psychologically we use punishment and reward to train people to do or not do things. When your child tries stuffing a fork in an outlet you take the fork and smack their hand, but punishing people for arming themselves isn’t training them not to do something unsafe, it’s training them to be reliant on the state. We do this from a young age. Children in school are told not to fight. If someone hits them, they should tell the teacher, they should rely on someone in authority to resolve the issue. As an adult, however, the violence you face might be more than a little shove on the playground, and the authority isn’t going to be someone within earshot, they’ll be miles away.

Let me paint a picture of what concealed carry licenses boil down to, for me. Imagine we live in a world with all the current laws and technology, except for that the police have special glasses that let them know, just by looking, whom has a concealed carry permit. The officer is driving down the street, when he sees one man, we’ll call him Bob, begin to violently assault Jim. It is obvious to the cop that Bob has initiated the violence. Jim, in response, draws a gun, and tells Bob to back off, but does not fire. The officer knows that Jim does not have a CCL, so he proceeds to pull over and arrest Jim for daring to protect himself without state permission.

Ultimately, for me, constitutional carry boils down to rights. I have the right to protect myself, and I don’t believe that I should require permission from the state to do so, and to imply otherwise is to imply that I should be fined, jailed, or killed (all of which are a threat of violence) for wanting to protect myself without getting permission from the government first.

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Dustin Seibel

Dustin Siebel has worked in the health information management field for ten years.