Considerations When Getting A Concealed Carry License

Before applying for a concealed carry license, it's important to understand what's required to qualify and the potential limitations of the license. Carrying a concealed weapon is possible in all 50 states, but the requirements for doing so vary from state to state. Most states require that a person hold a concealed carry license, but even with this license there are some places where carrying concealed isn't allowed. Not everyone is eligible for these licenses, either. 

Potential Requirements

While the exact requirements vary by state, some potential examples include:

  • Being a U.S. citizen
  • Not being a registered sex offender
  • Not being addicted to drugs
  • Being at least 21 years old
  • Having passed a firearms training course
  • Not having a criminal record
  • Not being dishonorably discharged from the Armed Services
  • Not being mentally ill or legally incapacitated

Type of Jurisdiction

Some states are unrestricted jurisdictions, which means that a permit isn't required to carry concealed weapons. Vermont is one example. States that require people to meet certain criteria before getting the necessary license are called Shall-Issue jurisdictions, and include Minnesota, Mississippi, Arkansas, New Mexico, Rhode Island, Texas, Wyoming and Louisiana, as well as other states. States that are May iIssue jurisdictions have further requirements, placing the granting of permits at the discretion of local authorities. These include Massachusetts, California, Delaware, Maryland, Connecticut, New Jersey and New York. Some states that are May Issue jurisdictions, or some parts of these states, are in practice almost No Issue, meaning they don't typically issue concealed carry permits to private citizens. These include Hawaii, Maryland, the District of Columbia and New Jersey.

Traveling to Other States

Concealed carry permits aren't always recognized by other states, so check the laws of whichever state you're traveling to before carrying concealed to see if it will recognize your permit. California, for example, doesn't recognize out-of-state concealed carry licenses, while other states only accept the permits issued by certain states. 

Resident vs. Non-Resident

Some states issue permits or licenses only to those who are residents of the state, while others will issue permits to non-residents as well. This is important for those who are living in an area but not officially residents. For example, West Virginia and South Dakota only issue to residents, while Alabama and Kansas will also issue concealed carry licenses to non-residents.

Prohibited Places

There are places that the federal government has declared it illegal for most people to carry a concealed weapon, such as within 1,000 feet of a school zone. Some universities allow concealed carry, while others do not. Montana doesn't allow for concealed carry in banks. Weapons also aren't allowed on federal property, including post offices and government buildings.