Republican lawmakers in nine states are considering bills to change existing gun restrictions by letting people carry concealed weapons without requiring a permit.
Following the lead of 15 states that already allow concealed carry without a permit, legislation aiming to relax the rules has been introduced in Utah, Montana, Tennessee, Texas, South Carolina, Florida, Indiana, Alabama and Georgia, Fox News reported.
To obtain a concealed carry permit, most states mandate that individuals undergo background checks and weapons training, but pro-gun groups and lawmakers claim the requirements undermine Second Amendment rights.
In Utah, the proposed changes would permit any United States citizens over the age of 21 to carry a concealed weapon without a background check or firearms course. The legislation also allows gun owners to obtain a permit if they want to concealed carry in another state.
The bill is backed by the state’s recently elected Republican Governor Spencer Cox, and proponents of the change said laws preventing felons from owning a gun or carrying while intoxicated are sufficient restrictions to ensure guns are used safely.
“I have that right to protect myself, the Constitution says we have the right. Why are we putting a barrier for law-abiding citizens?” said GOP Rep. Walt Brooks, the Utah lawmaker sponsoring the bill.
A similar push is expected in Tennessee, where Republican lawmakers seek to allow adults 21 and over to both concealed or openly carry firearms without a permit or background check and firearms training.
The state’s governor supported the proposition in 2020, but the idea was delayed due to the pandemic.
Meanwhile, the Montana House passed a bill allowing citizens to concealed carry firearms in most places without requiring a permit.
In Texas, the legislature has the concealed carry issue listed among its top eight priorities, despite years of efforts that failed to move forward.
The push in Texas comes following the National Rifle Association announcement that the pro-gun organization will be moving to the Lone Star State from its home state of New York.
“This strategic plan represents a pathway to opportunity, growth and progress,” says NRA CEO & EVP Wayne LaPierre. “Obviously, an important part of this plan is ‘dumping New York.’ The NRA is pursuing reincorporating in a state that values the contributions of the NRA, celebrates our law-abiding members, and will join us as a partner in upholding constitutional freedom. This is a transformational moment in the history of the NRA.”