Here are the States Shrinking 'Gun Free Zones' or Expanding Concealed Carry in 2017

Getty - George Frey/Stringer
 The Wildfire is an opinion platform and any opinions or information put forth by contributors are exclusive to them and do not represent the views of IJR.

If you thought the panicky hyperbole about gun violence has been bad for the last couple of years, hold on to your hats. Whether you credit the NRA-endorsed president-elect or the silent majority deciding that enough was enough, gun rights across the U.S. are rapidly recovering from a years-long assault.

Salon begins 2017 by bemoaning the return of the Wild West to the latest states to expand gun rights. Of the newly-adopted Constitutional Carry law in Missouri, the article laments:

Despite a veto from Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon last year, the Republican-led legislature voted to override the blockade. The new measure allows owners to avoid a state-approved training course previously required in obtaining a permit to carry. Owners of firearms will be able to conceal and carry them anywhere in Missouri. Some public places, such as courtrooms and jails, are still off limits to concealed carry, but breaking that rule will be considered a misdemeanor rather than a felony.

And of Ohio's recent gun rights expansion, the author warns that citizens who presumably observed the law to obtain a license to carry from the state by passing a background check will suddenly be a danger by carrying concealed firearms in places they previously could not:

The new law allows concealed carry permit holders to bring firearms inside school safety zones as long as the guns are in their vehicles. That means that gun-owners in Ohio can legally carry hidden, loaded handguns near daycare centers and on some college and university campuses.

Scott Olson/Getty Images

But gun rights advocates are winning, and winning big.

As of January 1, 2017, 11 states have adopted “permitless,” or Constitutional, carry:

  • Alaska
  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • Idaho
  • Kansas
  • Maine
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • Vermont
  • West Virginia
  • Wyoming

Some of these states apply permitless carry only to residents, and some still require a permit to carry concealed but not to carry openly.

The next state to adopt Constitutional carry may be Texas. Even if constitutional carry doesn't happen in Texas this year, some lawmakers there have proposed an end to costs associated with getting a license to carry in the state.

Furthering the hope that 2017 might be the year Second Amendment supporters score major wins, Rep. Richard Hudson (R-NC) has just introduced The Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017, according to The Washington Free Beacon.