Concealed Carry Permits: A Guide to Firearm Information by State

Every state has some type of concealed carry laws on the books. That also means there are different laws in every state. Clicking a state in the map below will bring you to that state’s concealed carry guide.

Concealed Carry Legend

The Second Amendment establishes our right as Americans to bear arms. A key component to the Second Amendment is actually being able to carry a gun on our person. If you are away from home and need to defend yourself, then those guns in your storage cabinet at home won’t do you any good.

Luckily, in all 50 states, concealed carry is now legal. Concealed carry allows firearm owners to carry a handgun in public under most circumstances.

But each state has different rules and requirements, and concealed carry permits may be necessary before you can keep a handgun on your person.

Wondering if you need a concealed carry permit in your state? Check out our guide to concealed carry permits, to see if you need a gun permit in your home state or a state you will be visiting.

Concealed Carry Definitions
  • CCW - Concealed Carry Weapon
  • CCP - Concealed Carry Pistol
  • CCP - Concealed Carry Permit
  • CCL - Concealed Carry License
  • CPL – Concealed Pistol License
  • CHP – Concealed Handgun Permit
  • CHL – Concealed Handgun License
  • CWP – Concealed Weapons Permit
  • LTC – License To Carry
  • LTCF – License to Carry Firearm
State Statuses
  • Shall Issue
  • May Issue
  • Constitutional Carry
  • Rights Denied

Each state uses different definitions to describe the act of legally carrying a handgun in public.

In general, they all mean the same thing. You can refer to these as concealed carry permits.

When it comes to state gun law, there are four main categories of concealed carry status. This status determines if you need to obtain a permit, along with who can acquire a permit in each state.

State status is as follows:

  • Shall Issue
  • May Issue
  • Constitutional Carry
  • Rights Denied

Each state can also decide if concealed carry is available for both residents and nonresidents, or if it’s restricted to residents only.

Frequently Asked Questions

General Rules for Obtaining Concealed Carry Permits

Requirements for obtaining a concealed carry permit vary by state. In general, you need to be a US citizen, be at least 21 years of age, and be a legal resident of the state where you are applying. You may need to complete a firearm safety and concealed carry course. To find an instructor, visit our Firearm Instructor Directory.

You should have a clean criminal record, free of felonies, misdemeanors, and mental illnesses, as a background check will be completed.

What does Shall Issue mean?

States considered Shall Issue are those that will issue a concealed carry permit to anyone who meets all of the requirements for obtaining a permit. Once requirements are met, there is no reason for states to deny a permit.

Some Shall Issue states and territories only extend permits to state residents. These include Alabama, Colorado, Georgia, Guam, Louisiana, Michigan, Nebraska, and New Mexico.

Other Shall Issue states extend permits to both residents and non-residents, so long as all permit requirements are met.

These include the District of Columbia, FloridaIllinois, Indiana, MinnesotaNevada, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin.

What does May Issue mean?

States that May Issue are those that can choose to extend a concealed carry permit to those who have met all of the requirements. These states retain the authority to make a judgment call on a case-by-case basis of awarding permits, even though you may meet all the requirements.

May Issue states that extend permits to residents only include California, Delaware, and Virgin Islands.

May Issue state that extends permits to both residents and nonresidents include Connecticut, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York.

What does Constitutional Carry mean?

Constitutional Carry, otherwise known as permitless carry or unlicensed carry, is the act of citizens carrying concealed firearms without the need to acquire a permit. In these states, there are no laws prohibiting the open carry of a firearm, so long as the carrier is legally allowed to purchase and own firearms.

Some Constitutional Carry states still issue permits for those who choose to acquire one, while others don’t issue permits at all.

Constitutional Carry states that issue permits to residents only include Alaska, Montana, and Wyoming.

Constitutional Carry states that issue permits to both residents and nonresidents include Arizona, Arkansas, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, KentuckyMaine, Mississippi, Missouri, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, and West Virginia.

In September 2021, Texas removed the requirement to have a permit when carrying a handgun, classifying itself as a Constitutional Carry state.

Vermont is the only Constitutional Carry state that does not issue any type of permit.

What does Rights Denied mean?

In Rights Denied territories, private citizens are not allowed to carry handguns in public, and they do not issue concealed carry permits. Currently, the only territories operating as a Rights Denied state are American Samoa and N. Mariana Islands.
Some Constitutional Carry states still issue permits for those who choose to acquire one, while others don’t issue permits at all.

Constitutional Carry states that issue permits to residents only include Alaska, Montana, and Wyoming.

Constitutional Carry states that issue permits to both residents and nonresidents include Arizona, Arkansas, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Mississippi, Missouri, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, and West Virginia.

In September 2021, Texas removed the requirement to have a permit when carrying a handgun, classifying itself as a Constitutional Carry state.

Vermont is the only Constitutional Carry state that does not issue any type of permit.

Other Rules Regarding Your License to Carry Firearm

There are many instances where carrying a firearm, even if legally allowed to do so, is restricted. This can include carrying a handgun openly in a vehicle, carrying a handgun in bars and restaurants, carrying a handgun on school and college campuses, and notifying law enforcement of having a concealed carry permit.

When it comes to college campuses, some states allow concealed carry across the board, such as Alaska and Arizona. Other states, like Alabama, leave discretion to the individual campus.

When it comes to bars and restaurants, state rules vary. In some states, you can carry into both, unless a sign prohibiting firearms is posted. In some cases, firearms can be carried into restaurants, but not bars. And in some states, firearms can only be carried in restaurants if alcoholic beverages are not being consumed.

Regarding vehicle carry, some states require firearms to be stored unloaded in a secure and discreet location, such as a case in the trunk of the vehicle. Some states allow the carry of loaded firearms, either in plain view or in a factory-installed storage compartment.

Know Your Rights and Know the Law

Concealed carry permits are a complicated matter. Some states make it simple by offering Constitutional Carry, while others complicate the matter by requiring permits.

Because concealed carry rules can vary widely by state and by instance, it’s up to you to understand the laws of your home state and any state that you plan to visit. What might be okay in one state can get you in serious trouble in another.

Luckily, when traveling, many states will honor a concealed carry permit issued in another state. This is known as Concealed Carry Reciprocity. To view which states reciprocate towards your current permit, check out our map here.

We try to keep the information on this page as up-to-date as possible, but due to changing laws, it is your responsibility to verify all information. The information on this page is for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. You should contact your attorney to obtain advice concerning any particular issue or problem. Use of and access to this Website, emails, or any of the links contained within the site do not create an attorney-client relationship between i156 LLC and the user or browser. The opinions expressed at or through this site are the opinions of the individual author and may not reflect the opinions of i156 LLC.

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