In the United States, each state has its laws surrounding whether or not it is legal to carry weapons. In some states, open carry is permitted, which means that a firearm can be carried out in the open if the individual meets all requirements of the state. In other states, concealed carry is allowed. This means that a person can carry a legal weapon in their vehicle or on themselves, but it must be hidden from sight.
While most people associated concealed carry with guns, other weapons may also be included in these laws. In the state of Florida, pepper spray canisters that are over 2 ounces can only be carried by a person with a concealed weapons permit.
All 50 states have laws in place that allow citizens to carry concealed weapons. However, some states will not issue permits or make it extremely difficult to acquire a permit. In 2018, over 17 million permits were issued throughout the nation.
Since all 50 states have laws in place, we will break down the permitting policies found throughout the nation.
In some states, concealed carry is in the form of Constitutional Carry. This means that anyone that can legally carry a weapon may do so without a permit. The Constitutional Carry states are:
- Alaska (residents only)
- New Hampshire
- Vermont (does not issue permits)
- West Virginia (residents only)
Other states have shall-issue laws. This means that a license is required to carry a concealed handgun. However, the permitted carrier does not have to demonstrate “good cause” for carrying the weapon. There are 27 shall-issue states, seven of which are shall-issue to residents only and 20 of which are shall issue to residents and non-residents. These states can be identified on the map above or in the table below.
Other states have may-issue laws. This is when a permit is required, and local authorities help determine whether permits are given. These states are:
- California (residents only)
- Delaware (residents only)
- New Jersey
- New York
- Rhode Island
In some states, there are no-issue laws. This means that most private citizens are not allowed to carry a concealed handgun. In California, this is the case in 12 counties. In other areas, while these laws are not technically on the books, they are in practice. The states that have these laws in practice are: