Not even a week after I posted a primer on concealed carry laws in the United States, Kentucky became the third state just this year to go permitless (joining Oklahoma and South Dakota). There are now 15 states in which anyone who can legally possess a gun can carry it concealed in public without a license (although various other restrictions on what, where, and when you can carry still apply).*
One of these is Vermont, which has never restricted concealed carry. The other 14 have what my friend Matthew Carberry calls “Alaska Carry” regimes. So called because Alaska was the first state, in 2003, to adopt a system in which the government issues but does not require permits to carry concealed weapons in public.
One graphical representation of this expansion has been produced by Rob Vance and published over the years by John Richardson on his blog “No Lawyers Only Guns and Money.” This is an excellent way of visualizing the growing share of the US population that lives in states with more liberal (shall issue or “unrestricted”) permitting regimes.
Of course, this does not mean that everyone in these states carries concealed. But it does show the movement from 1986 when 90% of the population lived under more restrictive regimes to today when 70% of the population lives under more liberal regimes, including 10% in permitless carry states.
*Some count 16 permitless carry states, including Arkansas in the list. I have not historically considered Arkansas a permitless carry state since the state’s law only provides for carrying without a permit when “journeying” beyond one’s home county. Some legislation and a court ruling in 2018 has led some to classify Arkansas as permitless, but the fact that a state legislator introduced legislation in February 2019 declaring Arkansas to be a permitless carry state suggests the issue is not yet resolved.