By Claire Davis, age 13 and IndyKids Staff
Around the country, some lawmakers are attempting to make it easier to carry a gun in public without training, a permit or being subject to a background check. Already this year, states such as Texas, Utah and Tennessee have joined the list of 20 states which have passed “permitless carry” laws, and many more, including Ohio, are now considering similar laws.
Permitless carry laws allow people who have potentially never handled a gun before to legally own one and carry it in public. Some states, such as Tennessee, allow people to carry their guns in plain sight, while states like Utah, where permitless carry was legalized in May, forbid them from being visible.
These loosening gun laws are concerning, considering 2021 is on track to become the deadliest year of gun violence in the last 20 years, according to the Gun Violence Archive (GVA). In 2020 alone, 43,567 people were killed by gun violence in the United States, according to GVA findings.
Gun lobbyists like the National Rifle Association (NRA) have been pushing to rebrand the term “permitless carry” to “constitutional carry.” This changes the tone of the issue and portrays it more as an issue of constitutional rights rather than a legal issue. Having less restrictions in place means more people are able to purchase firearms. The gun industry in the United States is worth more than $63 billion.
Some believe that the right to permitless carry will benefit public safety and help arm citizens to protect themselves and others. The Economist reports that the NRA argues that guns help boost public safety. However, researchers at Stanford have found that since these laws have been passed, violent crime in those states rose 13-15%.
Requiring a permit helps to promote responsible gun ownership, according to Everytown for Gun Safety, a nonprofit organization which supports gun control. “Permitless carry legislation is part of the NRA’s broader agenda to weaken and repeal important gun safety measures,” they argue on their website, “allowing more guns in public and undermining public safety.”