Every Picture Tells A Story, Vol. 2, No. 5 (Updated)

I really did not expect to be doing this post so soon after publishing Vol. 2, No. 4. Nonetheless, the South Carolina House and Senate got their act together to pass permitless carry. The Palmetto State now becomes the 29th state to allow permitless carry. Gov. Henry McMaster (R-SC) is expected to sign the bill into law as early as today.

HB 3594 will allow anyone age 18 or greater who is legally able to possess a firearm to carry concealed without a permit. The law will go into effect as soon as Gov. McMaster signs it. The law also authorizes the SC State Law Enforcement Division to create a twice monthly, free training class. That is still in development as is how it will be offered (online or in-person).

From The State on other provisions of the bill:

The bill includes stricter penalties for people who repeatedly carry guns into places they are not allowed to, including schools and courthouses. It also adds penalties for those who commit a crime with a concealed weapon who do not have a CWP.

A property owner, holder of a lease interest, or operator of a business can prohibit patrons from entering with a firearm by posting a “NO CONCEALABLE WEAPONS ALLOWED.” A person convicted of knowingly carrying a firearm into a liquor, beer or wine store for consumption on the premises is guilty of a misdemeanor.

Thanks to Rob Vance, we have an updated graphic to show the state of freedom in the United States.

Looking at the remaining “Shall-issue” states, North Carolina is the most likely to adopt permitless carry in the near to intermediate future. I could see Pennsylvania and Wisconsin passing it if they were to elect a Republican governor to go along with their Republican legislatures. I hate to say but the rest seem to be a lost cause and that includes Virginia. If anything, the remaining shall-issue states seem to be regressing when it comes to firearms.

Update: Gov. Henry McMaster signed the South Carolina Second Amendment Preservation Act into law this afternoon.

He said on signing it:

With my signature, South Carolina is now the 29th state in the country with constitutional carry. This bill expands the Second Amendment rights of our law-abiding citizens and will keep violent criminals behind bars with increased penalties for illegal gun use and possession.

From McMaster’s Facebook page.

Every Picture Tells A Story, Vol. 2, No. 4

Louisiana became the 28th state to sign permitless carry into law as of today. While it had been passed by the Louisiana legislature in past sessions, previous Gov. John Bel Edwards (D-LA) would veto it. What a difference a year and a new governor makes. Gov. Jeff Landry (R-LA) today signed SB 1 – Constitutional Carry – as one of the bills passed during the Special Session on Crime.

SB 1 allows for the permitless concealed carry by anyone age 18 or above who is not otherwise prohibited. The law does not restrict it to residents of the State of Louisiana. It goes into effect on July 4, 2024. The bill was sponsored by Sen. Blake Miguez (R-New Iberia).

Thanks to the efforts of Rob Vance, my long running series of Every Picture Tells A Story has the update which adds Louisiana. This series has been running since 2011 and the changes to the gun rights landscape have been monumental.

I am still holding out hope that a permitless carry bill of some stripe will pass the North Carolina General Assembly this spring. It will need a spending or fiscal component attached to it. We almost had it passed through the House of Representatives at the crossover deadline until opposition from the NRA caused Speaker Tim Moore (R-Cleveland) to pull the bill. Meanwhile, a bill allowing permitless carry in South Carolina is bouncing back and forth between the House and the Senate. I would not foresee any more of the “shall-issue” states passing permitless or constitutional carry in the near future.

Every Picture Tells A Story, Post-Bruen

Rob Vance and I have been doing the Every Picture Tells A Story series for over ten years. It started when the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals forced the State of Illinois to adopt concealed carry. Fortunately, it ended up as shall-issue carry. It wasn’t perfect and still isn’t. However, it was better than the regimes in May-Issue states like New York, California, etc.

Now, with the Supreme Court’s ruling in NYSRPA v. Bruen which tossed the “good cause” requirement, the remaining May-Issue states will have to adapt their laws to comply. The attorney generals of both California and New Jersey have already issued directives saying that the “good cause” requirement is null and void. While I expect these states to react to this like the Southern states did to Brown v. Board of Education – that is “with all deliberate speed” – shall-issue and permitless carry will be the order of the day.

This is what the the US will look like at the beginning of 2023. The updated graphic by Rob is below. You will note that No-Issue and May-Issue has gone to zero.

I fully expect the current May-Issue states to adopt onerous and expensive training requirements, extended mental health checks that may include an evaluation by a psychologist or psychiatrist, liability insurance, marksmanship qualification standards, and the list goes on. This will be in addition to the cost of purchase permits for handguns which are quite expensive if you live in New York City. All of these requirements will lead to more litigation and more delays. If the lower courts abide by Justice Thomas’ opinion which throws out intermediate scrutiny, then these will be resolved in our favor. Indeed, if the more liberal judges applied the same standards that they used pre-Dobbs for abortion to carry, we’d have nationwide permitless carry.

Every Picture Tells A Story, Part XVII

Georgia becomes the 25th state to enact permitless or constitutional carry. Gov. Brian Kemp (R-GA) promised to sign the bill if it came to him and he did it this afternoon in Douglasville, Georgia. With the addition of Georgia, over 36% of all Americans reside in a state with unrestricted or permitless concealed carry.

The graph originally developed by Rob Vance back in 2011 has certainly changed a lot over the years. At first, it was the addition of shall-issue concealed carry into the states of Wisconsin and Illinois. I said at the time that shall-issue was the new normal.

Then it started adding more and more states who had adopted permitless carry. This year it is had to be revised a number of times. It may be revised again if Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) has his way down in Florida. If that happens, almost 43% of all Americans would live in states with unrestricted carry.

Shall-issue is no longer the new normal; unrestricted carry is the new normal.

Below is the latest graph by Rob that shows the addition of Georgia.

Contrast the current graph in 2022 with the graph from 2011 shown below. You see two things: the growth of unrestricted carry and the decline of effectively no-issue to virtually nil. If I had to come up with reasons for this change, I’d say it is due to three things. First, wins in court. Second, the election of pro-rights legislatures in many states. Finally, governors seeing the writing was on the wall and knowing their own political fortunes were in peril if they didn’t sign the bill.

While I’d love to see the yellow or may-issue section decrease, I don’t think we will see any movement in that until and unless the Supreme Court rules against New York in the Bruen case. I am keeping my fingers crossed on that one.

Every Pictures Tells A Story, Part XIV

Alabama became the 22nd state with permitless, unrestricted, or constitutional carry this afternoon. Gov. Kay Ivey (R-AL) signed House Bill 272 which will go into effect in January 2023. When I first started publishing this graphic created by Rob Vance in 2011, the unrestricted or blue section at the upper right of the graphic was rather small. Now over a quarter of all Americans live in a state with unrestricted carry.

Furthermore, as I write this, the governors of the states of Ohio and Indiana both have unrestricted carry bills awaiting their signature. If those states join Alabama, another 7% of the United States population will reside in unrestricted carry states.

Gov. Ivey had this to say in her signing statement:

“Unlike states who are doing everything in their power to make it harder for law abiding citizens, Alabama is reaffirming our commitment to defending our Second Amendment rights,” said Governor Ivey. “I have always stood up for the rights of law abiding gunowners, and I am proud to do that again today.”

The primary sponsor of this bill was Rep. Shane Stringer (R – Mobile). He brought the amended bill to the floor of the Alabama House today and it was approved in a 70-29 vote mostly – but not entirely – along party lines. The Alabama Senate then approved it in a 24-6 vote. The House had originally passed it on February 22nd but then the Senate made amendments which pushed it to a conference committee.

Rep. Stringer had this to say about the bill’s passage:

“I am deeply thankful to my colleagues in the Legislature for passing this constitutional carry measure, which allows Alabamians to exercise their fundamental rights without first having to pay a gun tax in the form of permit fees,” Stringer said in a statement. “Those who still wish to purchase a permit for reciprocity with other states or other reasons continue to retain that option under this law.”

Stringer also noted that the law does establish a database of prohibited persons which he contends is more important than whether one had a permit or not. He contended there were some Alabama sheriffs who did not conduct background checks before issuing – or selling – permits.

Stringer himself has had a long career in law enforcement. He served as a deputy in the Mobile County Sheriffs Department and was also the police chief of the towns of Citronelle and Satsuma.

George Owens, Legislative Director of the Alabama Gun Rights Network, pointed out some of the details of the bill in this post.

First it means that if you can legally own a pistol you don’t need a permit to carry that pistol openly or concealed, or in your vehicle.

Second, you can still buy a permit including the lifetime permit that will become available later this year.

Your permit remains important to legally protect you from being criminally charged under certain circumstances.

You must have a permit if you carry a pistol onto a school grounds or at any school function like at a football game. This includes having a pistol in your vehicle when picking your child up. This is a federal law and it is taken very seriously.

You may not carry onto the private property of another person unless you have a permit, OR have the permission of the owner of the property.

Your permit will still grant you carry privileges in the roughly 22 states that have reciprocity agreements with Alabama. That includes Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, Tennessee, to name a few.

Regardless of whether you prefer to call it the Yellowhammer State or the Heart of Dixie, congratulations to all Alabamans on the hard won freedom.

Every Picture Tells A Story, Part XIII

Texas officially became the 20th 21st state to enact permitless or constitutional carry yesterday. Gov. Greg Abbott (R-TX) kept his promise and signed HB 1927 into law. It becomes effective on September 1st. The bill allows anyone who is age 21 and over who can legally possess a firearm to carry, openly or concealed, a handgun so long as it is a non-prohibited public place. There is an exception made for those convicted of certain misdemeanors within the past five years. They are only allowed to carry in their homes or vehicles.

GOA Texas has an excellent summary of the exceptions, the prohibited places, and what the bill contains.

With Texas becoming the 20th 21st state to allow permitless carry, there are almost as many states allowing permitless carry as there are with shall-issue carry. The addition of Texas jumps the percentage of the US population living in a permitless state from 17.6% to 26.4%. As Rob Vance who has created the graph below notes, “This is what a preference cascade looks like.”


When Rob Vance and I started this series almost ten years ago, Illinois still had not enacted shall-issue carry. I commented that in 2011, shall-issue carry was the new norm. In 2021, we are almost to the tipping point where permitless carry will be the new norm. If large shall-issue states like Florida, Pennsylvania, Georgia, Ohio, or North Carolina were to adopt permitless carry, then we would have tipped.

We are still waiting on Gov. John Bel Edwards (D-LA) to either sign or veto Louisiana’s SB 118 allowing permitless carry. He has said he will veto it but the legislation passed with a super-majority meaning his veto would probably be overridden. Since the bill passed within the last 10 days of the legislative session, Edwards has until approximately June 24th to veto it or it becomes law without his signature.

The usual suspects are crying that blood will now run in the streets of Texas. The Demanding Moms plan to picket the Governor’s Mansion and other places to attract attention from their compliant media allies. Progress Texas is condemning it claiming a majority of Texans didn’t approve of it. As we have seen time after time, despite the hyperbole, nothing of the claimed actions does actually happen.

Every Picture Tells A Story, Part XII

And now for some good news!

Yesterday, Gov. Bill Lee (R-TN) signed SB 0765 which provides for permitless carry of handguns in Tennessee for all legal adults over the age of 21 and for members of the military ages 18 to 20. This makes the Volunteer State the 20th state to adopt constitutional or permitless carry. It should be emphasized that this only applies to handguns and not to long guns. The law goes into effect on July 1st.

There is one change made in this version of Every Picture Tells A Story over the previous editions. One of the criticisms of the earlier versions is that they went by what the law said and not what was actually happening on the ground. Thus, in the past, we counted Hawaii as “may issue” as the law specified as opposed to “no issue” which they are in fact. As of today, no private citizen has been issued a concealed carry permit in the state of Hawaii which is, in itself, shameful.

Rob Vance calculated the percentage of the US population that lives under each carry regime.

  • No Issue (HI) — 0.4%
  • May Issue (CA,DC,MD,MA,NJ,NY,RI) — 27.0%
  • Shall Issue — 55.7%
  • Permitless — 16.9%

While the state of Indiana punted on constitutional carry, it appears that bills are advancing in both Louisiana and South Carolina to adopt some form of permitless carry. What happened in Indiana is similar to what happened in North Carolina a few years ago. Top Republicans in the State Senate decided not to go forward with it after the State House had passed the measure. In North Carolina, Sen. Majority Leader Phil Berger (R-Rockingham) was fearful of losing his super-majority. He lost it anyway.

Every Picture Tells A Story, Part XI

Iowa becomes the 19th state and 3rd state this year to adopt permitless or constitutional carry. What a change since the times when only Vermont had constitutional carry and a number of states didn’t allow carry in any form.

On Friday afternoon, Gov. Kim Reynolds (R-IA) signed House File 756 into law. In addition to adopting constitutional carry, the bill also removed Iowa’s pistol purchase permit. I hope the North Carolina General Assembly is paying attention to that facet of the bill!

Gov. Reynolds said in her statement:

House File 756 “protects the Second Amendment rights of Iowa’s law-abiding citizens while still preventing the sale of firearms to criminals and other dangerous individuals,” the governor said in a statement.

The new law also takes “greater steps to inform law enforcement about an individual’s mental illness helping ensure firearms don’t end up in the wrong hands,” she said.

“We will never be able to outlaw or prevent every single bad actor from getting a gun, but what we can do is ensure law-abiding citizens have full access to their constitutional rights while keeping Iowans safe,” the Osceola Republican said in the statement.

Thanks again to Rob Vance, we have a graphic that illustrates the growth of constitutional (and shall issue) carry since 1986. A better way of putting it is that it is a growth of freedom whereby now 19 state governments have recognized a citizen’s inherent right to self-defense without the need for a permit.

I anticipate that a 20th state – Tennessee – will be added to this list before much longer. Indeed, I was a bit surprised that Iowa beat them to the punch.

Predictably, gun prohibitionists and Iowa Democrats are not pleased by Gov. Reynold’s signing of the new law. They threaten to make it a campaign issue in 2022 when she comes up for re-election. If I were Gov. Reynolds, I’d quote the immortal words of Dirty Harry and say, “Make my day!”

Every Picture Tells A Story, Part IX

Every Picture Tells A Story is the longest running feature on this blog. It first ran on October 6, 2011. As of today, it has now hit its ninth iteration.

It started out as a way of showing the transition from restricted or no carry rights to shall-issue carry rights. When the feature started, there were states like Illinois that did not allow any concealed carry. It is still very hard to obtain a permit in states like New Jersey, Hawaii, Maryland, etc.

The graphics were created by my reader Rob Vance who has been updating it for the last 10 years.

The graphic plots the percentage of the United States population over time that had no-issue, may-issue, shall-issue, and constitutional carry with regard to concealed carry of firearms.

I said at the time:

If I may add a couple of other things, I’d say that shall-issue is the new norm in 2011 as opposed to no-issue or severely restricted may-issue back in 1986. The other thing I would add is that the experience with shall-issue concealed carry in the early adopting states like Florida paved the way for its adoption elsewhere. That is, people applying for concealed carry licenses are law-abiding citizens who have taken the responsibility seriously. Unlike what the Violence Policy Center would have you believe, the streets are not running with blood nor have they.

With Gov. Spencer Cox (R-UT) signing Utah’s constitutional carry bill on Friday, there are now 17 states that no longer demand a permit to carry concealed. The Utah law goes into effect on May 5th. As might be expected, the Utah media is aghast. Even the LDS-owned Deseret News was all a-twitter. They are worried that people won’t get training anymore. The permit itself is not going away and people who want to carry in other states under reciprocity would still need it. As Clark Aposhian of the Utah Shooting Sports Council noted, open carry was already legal without a permit in Utah and all the new law does is allow you to put a coat over the gun.

Tennessee and Montana could be added to the list later this year. Montana already allows permitless carry outside of the city limits and the bill pending in their legislature expands it to cities as well.

I may have to rethink what I said in 2011 about shall-issue becoming the new normal. In “free” states, I think constitutional or permitless carry is fast becoming the new normal.

Every Picture Tells A Story, Part VIII

Every Picture Tells a Story has been an ongoing series on this blog since 2011. It graphically illustrates the growth in firearm carry rights over time. Going back to 1986, over 90% of Americans lived in states with either no carry permitted or may-issue carry permits. By contrast, approximately two-thirds of all Americans live in a state with either shall-issue permits or constitutional carry.

The area that has shown the most growth in terms of number of states is constitutional or permitless concealed carry. With the recent addition of South Dakota and Oklahoma, there are now 15 states that do not require you to have a permit to carry concealed. This equates to about 11% of the population of the United States.

As the creator of this graphic, Rob Vance, notes, “While the Supes are figuring out if the word “bear” in the 2nd Amendment actually means something – 15 states have already clarified that simple reading of the English word meaning ‘to carry.'”

This number would have jumped even more if the Republican leaders of the North Carolina Senate had not refused to bring up the bill allowing permitless carry in the state. The bill had passed the NC House but Senate Republican were afraid of losing their super-majority if they went on record voting for permitless carry. Ironically, they lost their super-majority anyway.