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In the United States, the term constitutional carry, also called permitless carry, unrestricted carry, or Vermont carry, refers to the legal public carrying of a handgun, either openly or concealed, without a license or permit. The phrase does not typically refer to the unrestricted carrying of a long gun, a knife, or other weapons. The scope and applicability of constitutional carry may vary by state.The phrase "constitutional carry" reflects the view that the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution does not abide restrictions on gun rights, including the right to carry or bear arms.
The U.S. Supreme Court had never extensively interpreted the Second Amendment until the landmark case District of Columbia v. Heller in 2008. Prior to this, a tapestry of different and sometimes conflicting laws about carrying firearms developed across the nation. In deciding the case, the Court found that self-defense was a "...central component of the 2nd Amendment" and D.C.'s handgun ban was invalidated. The Court further stated that some state or local gun controls are allowed. The Heller case was extended by the Supreme Court in the 2010 decision McDonald v. Chicago, which held that the 2nd and 14th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution were "fully incorporated" and thus the right to "...keep and bear arms applies to the states and not 'in a watered-down version' but 'fully applicable'...," and limits state and local governments in enacting laws that restrict this individual and fundamental right to "...keep and bear arms," for self-defense.

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