HB 72 by Republican state Rep. Danny McCormick would eliminate the need to qualify and pay for costs associated with a permit, making where allowed by law concealed carry legal for any legal state resident with a handgun legally obtained unless they don’t meet a long list of conditions associated with prior criminal behavior, mental instability, certain discharges from the armed forces, or drug use, or who have violated federal guns laws. It would eliminate the education requirement or a display of firearm competency, or an application statement vouching that training has occurred and that the applicant is not ineligible for the permit by virtue of one of the legally disqualifying conditions..
McCormick calls the fees connected with obtaining an existing permit a tax triggered merely by concealing the weapon. If carried openly, no permit or fee is necessary. He argues that the state shouldn’t put unnecessary impediments in the way of exercising a constitutional right.
All states, whether needing a permit, have authorized concealed carry, but a decade ago only Vermont didn’t require a permit. In one, although incomplete, meta-analysis the studies reviewed essentially came to inconclusive, if not contradictory, conclusions regarding the impact that concealed carry (of the shall-issue kind as opposed to may-issuance by discretion, which varies wildly). Since the phenomenon among a critical mass of states has developed only recently, no studies have reviewed the impact of permit vs. no permit jurisdictions.
But there’s no reason to think the effect would differ. The application process keeps only the honest who had no bad intent from being able to carry concealed legally; those who have nefarious motives have little disincentive from skipping the process. Note that the bill would not change that any private establishment can ban concealed weapons on its property, and that the significant limitations of carry on government property remain unaffected.
The only real change comes in showing proof of assumed competency in weapon usage (by law, accuracy and safe gun handling) and of gun laws. Few people currently with a permit ever will have to draw their weapons, much less fire them, and it’s debatable whether a few hours of training and likely long-forgotten statutes, even if refreshed periodically, will make any difference in their lives. About half of all states have a training requirement.
Understanding these dynamics leads to the conclusion that going without permits and the extra burdens they impose at the margins might produce an imperceptible increase in gun violence, and when balanced with the additional deterrent effect makes for no net negative societal costs. Thus, HB 72 deserves to become law.