When it comes to exercising your Second Amendment Rights, you need to know ahead of time these can be murky waters. The Second Amendment has had a few Supreme Court Decisions over the past fifteen years or so that have tested and established that the intent of the Amendment is indeed for individuals and that all laws will be tested in history and tradition. With that, concealed carry laws have never been more fluid, confusing, and dynamic. Let’s take an overarching look.
Concealed carry gun laws vary by state. The states can be split into three categories, Constitutional Carry, Shall Issue Concealed Carry, and May Issue Concealed Carry. In all honesty, this should be only two categories via the Bruen Scotus decision, but the May Issue States have been making strides to carry a gun harder than before that Pro 2A decision.
As of the writing of this, there are twenty-five Constitutional Carry States. Meaning that any citizen or resident of that state may carry a handgun concealed at any time without needing a state-issued concealed carry permit. There may be some restrictions, such as schools, government buildings, and other exceptions where the person may not carry a gun, but those are individual per state or municipality.
If you live in any of these states, local laws and restrictions withstanding, you can feel free to go buy a gun and carry it at will.
With half of the states sticking to a strict interpretation of The Constitution, we now dive into the second group, the Shall Issue States. This means that each of these states has a Carry Concealed Permit System in place. There are some stipulations to get into the permitting process, and these vary from state to state. Fingerprinting, Classes, and Letters Of Recommendation are all examples of the stipulations, but once entered into the process the state has a regulation that mandates the permit-issuing institution MUST issue a Carry Permit to anyone who applies and meets the standards of the process.
This is not just buying a gun and carrying it like the first twenty-five states on the list, but a citizen who is legally allowed to purchase and own a gun will not be denied a carry concealed permit for subjective reasons. This is why these are called “Shall” issue states. The municipality or governing body Shall honor all legal permit requests. This is the second most popular structure for states issuing Concealed Carry Permits.
If you’re in one of these states, you need to dig in and learn what the individual steps to applying for a Concealed Carry Permit are, but once you apply, they are required to issue you one. That is of course, as long as you are not prohibited from owning or possessing a firearm.
This is the final category that is applicable for Concealed Permits and honestly shouldn’t exist per the Bruen decision by The Supreme Court of the United States, June 23, 2022. The court found “May Issue” to use arbitrary evaluations and unconstitutional. This means all states must move to at least “Shall Issue”
The reason we have listed these separately is that there are still ongoing court cases and ever-changing laws to move these states in line with the rest of the nation. Most of these states have enacted more restrictive gun laws in defiance of the Bruen Decision. They are still special cases. These States need very particular research on gun owners to ensure they comply with the ever-changing landscape of Concealed Carry Laws in these places. Each Of these states will have very different rules, laws, and regulations for getting a Concealed permit. With that, do your research and understand the ever-changing laws to the best of your ability.
At the end of the day, it is your responsibility as a gun owner and a person who carries a gun to know the laws surrounding those rights. You will have to check on state permit reciprocity and transfer laws. Just as you want to take responsibility for your own safety by carrying a gun, you must also take responsibility for understanding how to do that legally.