Despite potential electoral outcomes this year, courts decisions and public opinion will continue to swing in favor of concealed carry.
An October 2015 Gallup poll found that 56 percent of respondents believe concealed carry makes the United States safer, while 41 percent disagreed. More background checks have been administered in record numbers despite recent mass shootings.
What explains this? Americans realize and know the benefits of a well-trained, armed populace. It is, after all, enshrined in the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Due to greater threats to personal liberty and security, Americans aren't taking any chances. Instead, they are deciding to protect themselves more through concealed carry.
Here are five things to note about the future of concealed carry in the United States:
1. More guns, less crime
As more good people with guns start to thwart bad guys with guns, overall crime will continue to go down. Although most of these stories are thrown under the rug by the mainstream media, there are many unsung heroes doing their part to help law enforcement curb crime. Many people are choosing concealed carry as their preferred method of carrying, so more crime will be thwarted by these means. The next step would be for larger cities like Washington, D.C., New York City, Chicago, and Los Angeles to get their house in order and realize this.
2. Greater reciprocity between the states
With the trend tilting towards more concealed carry legislation, Americans can expect greater reciprocity of carry permits across more states. Here in Virginia, Governor Terry McAuliffe (D-VA) was forced to rescind the Attorney General's directive cutting concealed handgun reciprocity (CHP) with 25 states after mass outrage from residents and non-residents who enjoy reciprocity.
Three more states in addition to the original lot now share reciprocity with the Commonwealth of Virginia. Other states have broadened reciprocity, as well. Gun voters are paying attention and will hold politicians accountable if they fail to promote this policy.
3. Heavily gun controlled cities will be forced to restore gun rights to their residents
Big cities are ridden with the most crime because of strict gun control policies in place. However, with public opinion and precedence established by the courts, even these gun control havens will soon be forced to permit greater gun rights.
Washington, D.C.--one of the most dangerous cities in the United States--may finally soon see gun rights with respect to concealed carry reintroduced after decades of high crime. A court ruling this week found that a portion of Washington, D.C.'s gun law is likely unconstitutional, meaning permit applicants don't have to prove "good reason" to obtain handgun permits.
This is an important, but small victory for guns rights here in the nation's capital. Here's more about the case:
U.S. District Judge Richard J. Leon found that the law violates the "core right of self-defense" granted in the Second Amendment, setting aside arguments from District officials that the regulation is needed to prevent crime and protect the public.
"The enshrinement of constitutional rights necessarily takes certain policy choices off the table," Leon wrote in a 46-page opinion, quoting a 5-to-4 Supreme Court decision in 2008 in another District case that established a constitutional right to keep firearms inside one's home.
Leon said the right applies both inside and outside the home.
"The District's understandable, but overzealous, desire to restrict the right to carry in public a firearm for self-defense to the smallest possible number of law-abiding, responsible citizens is exactly the type of policy choice the Justices had in mind," he wrote.
4. More politicians favoring concealed carry legislation could be elected to office
5. More states will become shall issue states
Given the points made in the first, second, and third bullet points, more states will become shall issue states. Due to public opinion, greater need for self-defense, desire to take weight off of law enforcement, and the like, city councils and similar entities that enact laws must oblige with the will of the people to not deprive them of gun rights. If D.C. will soon become a shall issue place, other places like California, Massachusetts, and Illinois will realize gun control is deleterious to the law and well-being of residents.
Gun rights activists should be cautiously optimistic about the future of concealed carry in the U.S. While we don't know the electoral outcomes for the coming year, gun rights will be at the forefront as will concealed carry.