Concealed Carry Permit: What You Need to Know

Concealed Carry Permit: What You Need to Know

Depending on the state in which you live, the laws regarding the concealed carry of a firearm can vary from place to place. What is allowed in one city may not be allowed in another, even in the same state. Some states require a permit to conceal carry a firearm, while others are moving to adopt permitless carry for individuals who are legally able to purchase a handgun. Today we will discuss some of the basics of what is involved with the concealed carry permit laws and permitting process. Ultimately, it is up to the individual to know and understand the local, municipal, county, and state laws where they live before deciding to conceal carry a firearm. And while this article means to give you a better understanding of the different facets concerning concealed carry permits, it is not intended to be a citation for legal advice in any way. This is merely an informational article for the reader.

Shall Issue vs May Issue Concealed Carry States

Across the United States, state-level gun laws vary from state to state. This is equally true when it comes to the lawful concealed carry and possession of a firearm outside one’s own home. Most states require that an individual obtains a concealed carry permit to legally conceal carry a firearm on their person, while a growing list of states has moved to permitless concealed carry. Of the states that still require a carry permit, they can generally be broken down into two different categories; shall issue and may issue. In a may-issue state, the issuing of the concealed carry permit is left to the discretion of the local law enforcement agency. This could either be a municipal chief of police or in some jurisdictions this falls to the elected county sheriff, depending on the laws of the state. If that law enforcement officer decides that he or she does not want to issue any permits, the decision ends there. This is in stark contrast with a shall-issue state. Shall issue states are just that; the permitting process may go through that local chief of police or county sheriff but if the applicant meets all the requirements and passes the background check, barring any legal issues, that applicant will be able to obtain their concealed carry permit. It stands to reason that if that applicant is legally allowed to purchase a pistol, then they are usually legally able to obtain a concealed carry permit.

Benefit of Obtaining a Concealed Carry Permit

So, is there an added benefit to obtaining a concealed carry permit? It is very state-dependent, but there are benefits. One of the most widespread benefits is that of state-to-state reciprocity. Reciprocity is where states have standing agreements with other states to honor the concealed carry permit from other states. For example, if you have a North Carolina concealed carry permit, you can legally cross state lines into numerous other states and still be legally allowed to conceal carry your firearm so long as you understand that each state has different laws and that you abide by them while physically in that other state. Laws vary, there may be a maximum allowable round count for magazines, or you may have a duty to inform a law enforcement officer during a traffic stop. It is your responsibility to know the laws beforehand when you decide to travel out of your home state.

Concealed carry permit holders also generally have more leeway when it comes to where a firearm can be carried concealed or openly. This also changes from state to state but as an example, some states will allow a concealed carry permit holder to have their firearm in their possession while in an establishment that serves alcohol, even though many states bar the consumption of alcohol while in possession of a firearm regardless of permit status. Most states also have minimum distance requirements for carrying a firearm openly near a school, but some states do allow exemptions for those carrying permits. All of these are just examples and will vary from state to state. Again, it is the responsibility of the permit holder to know all of the laws that apply to carrying firearms in their home state as well as any other state that they travel to while carrying a firearm.

Because most states mandate a firearm safety course to obtain a concealed carry permit, one of the lesser-known benefits is that a permit holder is seen as a better-trained individual. With more and more states passing permitless concealed carry laws, better known as Constitutional Carry, the legal system may view a concealed carry permit holder as someone who is more responsible and better trained than someone who conceals carries without a permit in a Constitutional Carry state. You may find that obtaining a permit, with its mandatory safety training and extensive background checks, is your best legal defense if you ever find yourself having to use your firearm in an act of self-defense (this is stated opinion and not legal advice).

Finding a Concealed Carry Class

So, when you decide that obtaining a concealed carry permit is right for you, you will find many different places that will conduct the required training. From knowing when you are legally allowed to use your firearm, to overall firearm safety rules and state laws, a concealed carry class will provide you with all of the knowledge required to successfully obtain your concealed carry permit. The best type of gun owner is one that is knowledgeable, trained, proficient, and safe always when handling or carrying a firearm. It is the duty of that gun owner to be fully responsible for the actions of their own firearms at all times. It is up to you to ensure that you are that responsible and trained gun owner, armed not just with a firearm but with the knowledge and training necessary to be an ambassador for the gun-owning community.


State-by-State Concealed Carry Permit Laws
Hand Gun Law US
USCCA’s Concealed Carry Reciprocity Map & Gun Laws by State

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