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Permission not Required: “Constitutional Carry” Bill Introduced in Minnesota

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ST. PAUL, Minn. (Jan. 15, 2017) – A “Constitutional Carry” bill introduced in the Minnesota House would make it legal to carry a firearm without a license in the state, and foster an environment hostile to federal gun control.

A coalition of 15 representatives filed House Bill 188 (HF188) on Jan. 12. If passed into law, the legislation would make permits to carry optional in Minnesota. Constitutional Carry, also known as “permitless carry,” allows any person who is not already prohibited from owning or carrying a firearm under existing federal and state law, to carry a firearm without a permit.

Permits to Carry would still be available for reciprocity reasons through the same process as exists today. The bill reads, in part:

A person who is not prohibited from possessing a firearm by any law of this state or any federal law shall have the right to carry, hold, or possess a firearm in a motor vehicle, snowmobile, or boat, or on or about the person’s clothes or the person, or otherwise in possession or control in a public place.

“Constitutional carry is a big step toward being able to exercise a natural right that has been infringed at all levels for far too long,” ShallNot.org policy lead Scott Landreth said.

While constitutional carry bills do not directly affect federal gun control, widespread passage of permitless conceal carry laws in states subtly undermines federal efforts to regulate guns. As we’ve seen with marijuana and industrial hemp, a federal regulation becomes ineffective when states ignore it and pass laws encouraging the prohibited activity anyway. The federal government lacks the enforcement power necessary to maintain its ban, and people will willingly take on the small risk of federal sanctions if they know the state will not interfere. This increases when the state actively encourages “the market.”

Less restrictive state gun laws will likely have a similar impact on federal gun laws. It will make it that much more difficult for the feds to enforce any future federal gun control, and increase the likelihood that states with few limits will simply refuse to cooperate with federal enforcement efforts.

State actions like passage of HF188 will lower barriers for those wanting to the option of defending themselves with firearms and encourages a “gun-friendly” environment that would make federal efforts to limit firearms that much more difficult.

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HF188 was referred to the House Committee on Public Safety and Security Policy and Finance where it will need to pass by a majority vote before moving on in the legislative process.

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