Over the course of the last 30 years, America has undergone a revolution of historic proportions. In 1986, only tiny Vermont permitted an unrestricted right to carry for all adults. 41 states including most of the southern US including Texas either prohibited the carrying of firearms or gate-kept it with strict requirements.
Today, in an unprecedented turnaround, 43 states either offer a shall-issue gun license (simple requirements most people will meet), unrestricted access (Constitutional carry), or both. There are only 8 remaining states gatekeeping carry rights and none that prohibit it altogether.
In April of 2023, Florida will become the 26th state to pass a form of Constitutional carry, marking the first time that the majority of US states recognize the natural right to self-defense.
That is not to say that Florida’s ascension to this important milestone has been without controversy. In a last minute compromise, the Florida senate stripped the open carry provision from the legislation. That leaves Florida as one of only three states that does not permit the open carry of firearms in some manner…along with California and Illinois.
Hopefully, wiser heads will prevail and that restriction, too, will be lifted. Free citizens enjoying their rights has never been the source of crime and violence associated with guns. The danger remains, as it always has, with those that live outside the law.
By passing Constitutional carry, Florida and 25 other states have acknowledged this well-known and well-documented fact.
Moreover, the states that have already passed Constitutional carry have put the lie to the claim that allowing Constitutional carry will lead to more gun violence. In fact, America has been in a gun violence decline for decades leading to a chicken/egg argument about whether less restrictive gun laws have lowered crime or whether lower crime has created the conditions for the legal reforms that Americans are now enjoying.
In reality, it may be some of both. Arguably the biggest factor has been the courts stepping up to acknowledge 2nd amendment rights, something SCOTUS had been loath to do previously.
If we’re being perfectly honest, the bloody war between inner city gangs and Mexican cartels in the 2010s also went a long way towards eliminating many of those most likely to commit murder and other violent acts.
With Heller and Bruen, the Supreme Court acknowledged both the self-defense aspect of the 2nd amendment as well as its status as a “first class right.” These rulings fundamentally change the landscape, as well as the calculus for both gun rights proponents and legislatures.
These rulings have also begun to change the courts. The famously liberal 13th circuit has moved dramatically towards greater recognition of the 2nd amendment as interpreted by the Roberts Supreme Court and, just recently, another federal judge threw out California’s latest effort to ban commonly owned handguns.
While we can acknowledge that many gun grabbers have good intentions, if poor reasoning, it is nonetheless clear that America is rejecting restrictive gun laws and putting personal responsibility, fundamental rights, and freedom front and center in our national public policy.
Congratulations Florida. With the majority of states now acknowledging our natural right to self-defense, its only a matter of time until the rest of the nation joins the chorus.
Researched and written by the American Gun Facts team. We are a group of Americans dedicated to providing factual information on firearms and fighting back against attempts to weaken or discard the Second Amendment. We write on topics ranging from firearm statistics, news, reviews, and more! AGF has been featured in the New York Times, NBC, MSN, Time, & many other publications.