Please be aware that laws and regulations on this topic are continuously changing and are subject to state-level policy makers.
Most states allow gun owners to apply for a concealed carry permit.
Though laws, and recognition of permits issued in other states, will vary depending on where you live and where you’re traveling to.
You don’t want to go waltzing into another state, concealed carry jacket and all, without knowing the situation and regulations of the state you’re entering.
To get a quick snap shot of the laws in each state, I’ve put together an interactive map that produces the following information:
- Which states issue a concealed carry permit and which ones don’t
- Which states recognize permits issued by other states
- Links to the primary application or information hub for each state’s concealed carry permit laws
Most states fall under the banner of Shall Issue + Recognizes out-of-state permits. I’ve highlighted those states in the darker shade of blue. This means that they both issue concealed carry permits (based on meeting certain criteria) and they recognize permits that have been issued in other states.
The green states have unrestricted access to concealed carry, which means you don’t need a permit to carry a concealed handgun.
Yellow states have “May Issue” which means that concealed carry permits are issued, but at the discretion of local law enforcement, and are often more difficult to obtain.
I added a little more about each policy below the map.
Hover over your state to view a quick summary (at the bottom of the map) or click on your state to jump to the relevant info page.
Map of States that Allow Concealed Carry
Hover over a state to view a brief summary of its laws or click to go to its concealed carry policy page.
What does “shall issue” and “may issue” mean?
Generally speaking, a state will adhere to one of the following four systems concerning concealed carry:
- Shall Issue
- May Issue
- No Issue
In simple terms, they each mean the following:
- Unrestricted: No permit is necessary to conceal and carry a handgun
- Shall Issue: A jurisdiction where a license is required to conceal and carry a handgun, but where granting of that license is subject only to the meeting of certain criteria
- May Issue: A jurisdiction where a license is required to conceal and carry a handgun and the granting of that license is partially up to the discretion of local authorities (usually sheriff departments) in addition to meeting certain criteria
- No Issue: A jurisdiction where (with few exceptions) citizens are not allowed to carry a concealed handgun in public
None of the 50 states are No-Issue jurisdictions. However, the May-Issue jurisdictions are, in many cases, far more complicated than those in Shall-Issue jurisdictions and above, and tend to restrict the issuing of permits.
If you live in one of these states, It’s recommended that you do research at a local level and check with your sheriffs department to determine whether or not it will be possible to get a concealed carry permit.
More specifically, the NRA outlines it like this:
- Shall Issue: State law that provides that, upon completion of specified requirements, a law-abiding person shall be granted a permit to carry concealed firearms.
- Discretionary/Reasonable Issue: State law that provides the government with some discretion over the issuance of a carry permit, but which generally grants permits to all law-abiding persons.
- No Permit Required: State law that allows individuals to carry concealed firearms for lawful purposes without a permit.
- Rights Restricted – Very Limited Issue: State law that gives the government complete discretion over the issuance of carry permits, and where that discretion is normally used to deny the issuance of permits.
- Rights Infringed/Non-Issue: State law that completely prohibits carrying firearms for personal protection outside the home or place of business.
What about “Duty to Inform?”
Duty to Inform laws vary significantly between states, though nearly all states have some form of them.
What this means is that upon first contact with law enforcement, perhaps at a traffic stop, you’re obliged to inform them that you’re carrying a concealed weapon.
The primary differences occur based on whether you should volunteer this information or withhold it until you are asked.
Here’s a complete and in-depth resource on the duty to inform laws by state.
The only two states in which you are not required to, in some capacity, inform law enforcement that you’re carrying a concealed weapon, is Georgia and (oddly enough) Vermont.
Carrier, By Another Concealed. “Do You Have A Duty To Inform When Carrying Concealed? We Look At All 50 States For The Answers.” Concealed Nation Do You Have A Duty To Inform When Carrying Concealed We Look At All 50 States For The Answers Comments. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Oct. 2016.
NRA-ILA. “NRA-ILA | Gun Laws.” NRA-ILA. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Oct. 2016.
“Concealed Carry in the United States.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, n.d. Web. 12 Oct. 2016.
Flickr Commons Image Courtesy of Mr. Lujan