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Constitutional Carry State-by State

After Donald Trump took the oath of office, there was a lot of positive talk about the future of gun rights in this country. There continues to be a lot of talk about a planned National Concealed Carry Reciprocity Bill and while this bill has not been at the forefront of Trump's plan, many states are taking the initiative of a pro-gun presidency to attempt to push through state expansions of not only concealed carry bills but full-on Constitutional Carry texts.

If you follow Concealed Carry Inc. you will have likely seen many stories about these bills going through statehouses in recent months and that's because there is usually a new bill going through a vote every single week somewhere in the U.S. It's because of that, we decided to funnel all of the information coming out about these new laws into one place for you to be able to see just where your state and every other state is currently at on the path of Constitutional Carry

(LAST UPDATED: April 28, 2017)

ALABAMA

Current Constitutional Carry Status: Shall-Issue

What the future holds: Currently, you may carry a long gun openly without a permit, but to carry concealed in Alabama, a permit is required. The county sheriffs can suspend or revoke that liberty if there is a legal problem that the sheriff judges to be a danger.

There is currently Constitutional Carry legislation going through the Alabama state government, where it has already passed the State Senate.

ALASKA

Current Constitutional Carry Status: Unrestricted

What the future holds: Alaska has had full Constitutional Carry rights for its citizens since Governor Frank Murkowski signed it into law in 2003 and it looks as though the state will remain that way for the foreseeable future.

ARIZONA

Current Constitutional Carry Status: Unrestricted

What the future holds: Constitutional Carry for Arizona residents over 21 years old was signed into law in 2010. However, Concealed Carry classes are still made available in the state for those that wish to carry when they travel outside of the state.

ARKANSAS

Current Constitutional Carry Status: Unrestricted (Kind of)

What the future holds: In August of 2013, Arkansas enacted Act 746, which allowed a defense to the charge of carrying a weapon if “[t]he person is on a journey…” but did not define what constituted a “journey”. Another defense permitted an individual to carry a concealed weapon if the person had a valid concealed weapons license. This provision was generally interpreted to prohibit open carry.

However, in subsequent years this battle has raged in legislation and in courts over the minute details of the law and what it means. Recently Attorney General Leslie Rutledge stated that future legislation would be the best solution to clear up the confusion that Act 746 has caused.

CALIFORNIA

Current Constitutional Carry Status: Not Available, Nor Likely to be.

What the future holds: Currently California is may issue, but that is depending on the jurisdiction. Many counties policies on carrying are the sheriff's or local police chief's discretion. Due to this, many counties are de facto “no-issue”, while others are “shall-issue” in practice. 

There is also no legislation in the mix that appears that California will change its stance on Constitutional Carry at any time in the near future.

COLORADO

Current Constitutional Carry Status: Available for Open Carry in some areas.

What the future holds: For Concealed Carry inside of a car, there is no permit required and for many areas outside of Denver, the ability to openly carry permit free is allowed. However, there is not any legislation on the docket to bring full Constitutional Carry to the state at any point in the near future.

CONNECTICUT

Current Constitutional Carry Status: Unavailable

What the future holds: The current stance of Connecticut is that of a very anti-gun state. Connecticut is considered a Shall-Issue with limited discretion state. Connecticut's pistol permit law specifies that issuing authorities May-Issue pistol permits to qualified applicants, but the state's courts have generally ruled that permits must be granted on a Shall-Issue basis to applicant's meeting the state's qualifications for a pistol permit, as Connecticut does not require an applicant to “show good cause” for needing a permit.

On top of that, Connecticut also requires licensure for Open Carry, so it appears this state is far from Constitutional Carry.

DELAWARE

Current Constitutional Carry Status: Currently Unavailable

What the future holds: Delaware is officially a “may issue” state for concealed carry, but mostly shall-issue in practice. Permits are generally issued to all applicants not barred from owning a firearm.

However, open carry without a permit is generally permitted. A 2014 State Supreme Court ruling recognized that Open Carry was a long-standing fundamental right, barring local prohibitions in effect prior to July 4, 1985.

FLORIDA

Current Constitutional Carry Status: Not available currently, but perhaps soon.

What the future holds: Florida allows concealed possession of handguns, electronic weapons or devices, tear gas guns, knives, or billies, but not long guns or machine guns, but they are Concealed Carry only; no open carry of firearms allowed, even with license, except when hunting, fishing, camping, or while practice shooting and while traveling to and from those activities.

However, rumbles and rumors are starting to surface of a plan to get Florida added to the list of Constitutional Carry states. This could be a big one to watch.

GEORGIA

Current Constitutional Carry Status: Currently Unavailable, but may soon change.

What the future holds: Georgia currently requires permits for Open and Concealed Carry. However, there is currently legislation making its way through the State House that is pushing for Constitutional Carry.

HAWAII

Current Constitutional Carry Status: Likely to Never Happen

What the future holds: Hawaii is perhaps the most anti-gun state in the Union. They are currently a may-issue state that is really a no-issue state. The closest to pro-gun rulings about Hawaii is when the 9th Circuit US Court of Appeals ruled Hawaii's restrictive concealed carry policy unconstitutional, but the court still has allowed the law to remain in effect while the State of Hawaii appeals the ruling.

IDAHO

Current Constitutional Carry Status: Unrestricted (Residents only)

What the future holds: Constitutional Carry in Idaho currently only applies to residents of the state if they wish to carry concealed. If you are from out of state you must openly carry in Idaho if you do not have a permit. Idaho residents may carry in the state with or without a permit provided they are over the age of 21.

 

ILLINOIS

Current Constitutional Carry Status: Not available nor likely.

What the future holds: There is no Constitutional Carry for Illinois right now and the path to it is a long and incredibly hard road. Currently a Shall-Issue with discretion state, it is even hard for some to get a Concealed Carry permit in the state, let alone the trouble you can get into without having one.

INDIANA

Current Constitutional Carry Status: Unavailable

What the future holds: Indiana currently allows Open and Concealed Carry with a license, and odds are the state appears to remain in that camp for the forseeable future.

IOWA

Current Constitutional Carry Status: Not available.

What the future holds: Iowa is a “shall issue” state. An Iowa carry permit is technically a “Permit To Carry Weapons”, and is not limited to firearms. It allows people in Iowa to open or conceal carry any kind of weapon, so long as that weapon is not otherwise illegal to own in Iowa.

Recently there was an expansion of gun rights in Iowa and in the original text of the bill was a Constitutional Carry addition, but it was taken out in subsequent re-writes.

 

KANSAS

Current Constitutional Carry Status: Unrestricted

What the future holds: Constitutional Carry for Open Carry was signed into law in 2015. However, permits for Concealed Carry are on a shall-issue basis. Kansas also keeps the avenue of firearms permits available to the public for those wishing to travel out of state where Constitutional Carry is not recognized.

KENTUCKY

Current Constitutional Carry Status: Open Carry without a license permitted, Concealed Carry needs a license.

What the future holds: Recently a bill went through the Kentucky legislature to attempt to bring full Constitutional Carry to the state, but it has since foundered in the State House. Kentucky is definitely a “close but no cigar” state for Constitutional Carry.

LOUISIANA

Current Constitutional Carry Status: Unavailable.

What the future holds: Permits to carry are necessary for Louisiana. However, Open Carry is generally permitted without a license but may be restricted by local governments with laws in place before July 15, 1985.

MAINE

Current Constitutional Carry Status: Unrestricted

What the future holds: Constitutional Carry was signed into law in 2015 under legislature LD 652.

MARYLAND

Current Constitutional Carry Status: Unlikely for foreseeable future.

What the future holds: Maryland is a “may issue” state for concealed carry. Applicants must demonstrate a “good and substantial reason” to carry a handgun. Permits are normally very difficult (but not impossible) for ordinary citizens to obtain.

MASSACHUSETTS

Current Constitutional Carry Status: Unlikely for foreseeable future.

What the future holds: Massachusetts is a “may issue” state for Open and Concealed Carry; the issuing authority must provide written explanation for the denial of any application, which is subject to appeal. The issuing authority is the local police chief for most jurisdictions, who has discretion in issuing carry licenses based on an applicant's suitability and stated need

MICHIGAN

Current Constitutional Carry Status: Currently unavailable. Select Open Carry instances without a license are allowed.

What the future holds: Michigan is a “shall issue” state for concealed carry permits. Open Carry is sometimes permitted, but even a car is considered Concealed Carry and needs a license.

MINNESOTA

Current Constitutional Carry Status: Unavailable

What the future holds: Currently a permit is required for Concealed Carry. For carrying open, whoever carries a BB gun, rifle, or shotgun on or about the person in a public place is guilty of a gross misdemeanor. A person under the age of 21 who carries a semiautomatic military-style assault weapon on or about their person in public place is guilty of a felony. However, you may carry a pistol or a long gun openly with permit to carry a pistol

MISSISSIPPI

Current Constitutional Carry Status: Unrestricted

What the future holds: As of 2015, Mississippi's Concealed Carry law was amended to say “no license shall be required under this section for a loaded or unloaded pistol or revolver carried in a purse, handbag, satchel, other similar bag or briefcase or fully enclosed case”. On April 15, 2016, the law was further expanded to include belt and shoulder holsters and sheaths. However, some forms of concealed carrying would still require a permit such as an ankle holster.

MISSOURI

Current Constitutional Carry Status: Concealed Carry with or without permit legal but restrictions exist.

What the future holds: Constitutional Carry for anyone over the age of 18 in Missouri went into full effect on January 1, 2017.

MONTANA

Current Constitutional Carry Status: May Carry Open without a permit, Concealed Carry needs a permit.

What the future holds: Montana is a “shall issue” state for citizens and permanent lawful residents who are 18 years old. The law was challenged for previously denying non-citizens permits. The lawsuit was put on hold to give the legislature the opportunity to pass a bill to include permanent lawful residents. Such bill was signed by the governor on April 7, 2017.

Concealed carry without a permit is generally allowed outside city, town, or logging camp limits.

NEBRASKA

Current Constitutional Carry Status: Unavailable

What the future holds: Nebraska requires a permit for carrying a firearm, recently a motion was brought to the state legislature to allow Constitutional Carry for Nebraska but it is not likely to become law.

NEVADA

Current Constitutional Carry Status: Unavailable

What the future holds: A permit is needed for Open and Concealed Carry in Nevada, the one exception being an in-view firearm in a car. At that point, there is no permit needed, however if the firearm is concealed in the car, a permit is required.

NEW HAMPSHIRE

Current Constitutional Carry Status: Unrestricted

What the future holds: After several years in legislative flux, Constitutional Carry was finally passed in the state of New Hampshire when Governor Chris Sununu signed it into law on February 22, 2017.

NEW JERSEY

Current Constitutional Carry Status: Not now, likely not anytime in the future.

What the future holds:  New Jersey calls its permit a “permit to carry a handgun” and is a “may-issue” by law for firearm carry, either openly or concealed, but permits are rarely or never granted to the general populace. Permit applicants must “specify in detail the urgent necessity for self-protection, as evidenced by specific threats or previous attacks which demonstrate a special danger to the applicant's life that cannot be avoided by means other than by issuance of a permit to carry a handgun.”

NEW MEXICO

Current Constitutional Carry Status: Unavailable

What the future holds: Currently all people who wish to carry a firearm in New Mexico must have a permit, and it appears that it will remain that way for the foreseeable future. As close to full Constitutional Carry is the fact that no permit is needed for open carry or concealed carry of an unloaded firearm, or transport of a loaded firearm either concealed or openly in a vehicle.

NEW YORK

Current Constitutional Carry Status: Unavailable and Unlikely to be.

What the future holds: New York counties and some police departments, issue pistol licenses on a “may issue” basis. Discretionary issuance policies vary widely across the state. Generally, it is harder to obtain a license in counties closer to large New York cities. Most counties that aren't a part of downstate New York have shall/reasonable issuance policies but may administratively restrict time or place of carry (such as only for target shooting or hunting). It is unlikely that this will lead to full Constitutional Carry in the future.

NORTH CAROLINA

Current Constitutional Carry Status: Open Carry of handguns w/o license is legal, concealed carry requires a permit.

What the future holds: North Carolina is a “shall issue” state for Concealed Handgun Permits. They are necessary if one wishes to carry concealed in the state and according to North Carolina state law, a carrying individual must inform a Law Enforcement officer when addressed that he/she is carrying a concealed handgun.

NORTH DAKOTA

Current Constitutional Carry Status: Unrestricted (Resident Only, Concealed Carry Only) [STARTING AUGUST 2017]

What the future holds: While North Dakota does not have Constitutional Concealed Carry as of the writing of this post, Governor Doug Burgum signed the legislation into law for residents of North Dakota to permitless carry concealed starting in August of this year.

OHIO

Current Constitutional Carry Status: No permit required for Open Carry, required for Concealed Carry though.

What the future holds: Currently you may carry openly without a license in Ohio but to carry concealed you must go through 8 hours of training, 2 hours of which must include range time. Active duty members of the Armed Forces are exempt from the carry permit requirement. There is nothing going through the state government that looks like this will change any time in the near future.

OKLAHOMA

Current Constitutional Carry Status: Unavailable.

What the future holds: Full licenses are necessary for Open or Concealed Carry in Oklahoma. There is no legislation in the pipeline for that to change in the future.

OREGON

Current Constitutional Carry Status: Unavailable.

What the future holds: Oregon is a “shall-issue” state for residents. Technically sheriffs “may issue” licenses to non-residents of contiguous states; however, in practice, most county sheriffs either adopt very restrictive criteria for issuance to non-residents or simply refuse to issue licenses. Full Constitutional Carry appears unlikely for Oregon any time soon, though.

PENNSYLVANIA

Current Constitutional Carry Status: Available for Open Carry outside of Philadelphia, unavailable for Concealed Carry.

What the future holds: Licenses to Carry Firearms are currently issued on a “shall-issue” basis. *A LTCF is required to carry a firearm within a City of the First Class (Philadelphia), in a vehicle, concealed on one's person, or during a declared state of emergency. Open Carry does not need a permit outside of Philadelphia. But beyond that, there is no updates regarding full Constitutional Carry for the state.

RHODE ISLAND

Current Constitutional Carry Status: Unavailable. Unlikely to be, as well.

What the future holds: Rhode Island is a hybrid “shall issue” and “may issue” state for carry. Licenses may be granted either by local authorities or by the state's attorney general's office. Licenses granted by local authorities are “shall issue” while those issued by the attorney general's officer are “may issue” under state law. Until recently, most local authorities had been deferring to the attorney general which effectively blocks most issuance. It is unlikely there will be any issues.

SOUTH CAROLINA

Current Constitutional Carry Status: Currently Unavailable. May soon change.

What the future holds: Currently South Carolina is a shall-issue state that does require permits to carry but a Constitutional Carry bill has recently passed the State House and is continuing through legislation.

SOUTH DAKOTA

Current Constitutional Carry Status: Unavailable

What the future holds: Permits are required for Concealed and Open Carry in South Dakota. There was recently a Constitutional Carry measure that passed through the State House and Senate but was vetoed upon reaching Governor Dennis Daugaard's desk.

TENNESSEE

Current Constitutional Carry Status: Unavailable.

What the future holds: Tennessee currently requires permits for carrying firearms. However, as of July 1st 2014, due to the enhanced Castle Doctrine law, a person may keep a loaded handgun or long gun in their private vehicle without a permit

TEXAS

Current Constitutional Carry Status: In legislation.

What the future holds: Currently full Constitutional Carry is not legal in Texas, but there is a bill currently running through the Texas Legislature that may be bringing it to the Lone Star State.

UTAH

Current Constitutional Carry Status: Open Carry of handguns without a license is legal, Concealed Carry requires a permit.

What the future holds: Open carry of handguns without a permit is allowed as long as the handgun is at least 2 actions from being fired, for example, if those actions were, 1) rack the slide to chamber, and 2) pull the trigger.

Open carry of a loaded handgun (e.g., a live round of ammunition in the firing chamber) is allowed with a permit.

VERMONT

Current Constitutional Carry Status: Unrestricted

What the future holds: Vermont has been the beacon of Constitutional Carry in the United States. Having had it for several decades, with no look to change that in the future.

VIRGINIA

Current Constitutional Carry Status: Open Carry without a license is generally permitted in less populated areas, Concealed Carry requires a permit.

What the future holds: Recently a bill was shot down in February that was trying to bring Constitutional Carry to the state. It doesn't look like it will be occuring any time soon for Virginia.

WASHINGTON

Current Constitutional Carry Status: Open Carry without a license is legal, Concealed Carry requires a permit.

What the future holds: There is nothing currently in legislation, but as of now Open Carry is lawful in Washington without any permit. Open carry of a loaded handgun in a vehicle is legal only with a concealed pistol license. Open Carry of a loaded long gun in a vehicle is illegal, regardless of CPL possession.

WASHINGTON D.C.

Current Constitutional Carry Status: Unavailable

What the future holds: D.C. is currently considered a “May Issue” state, but with the May 17, 2016, case (Grace v. District of Columbia) The Court issued a preliminary injunction that D.C.'s good reason requirement was likely unconstitutional and enjoined its enforcement. The order said that anyone who met the eligibility requirements for a concealed carry license absent the good reason stipulation cannot be denied the license; the order was not stayed originally but was subsequently stayed on May 27, 2016.

However, that looks to be the limit for D.C. and gun rights as there is nothing planned to make the District Constitutional Carry.

 

WEST VIRGINIA

Current Constitutional Carry Status: Unrestricted

What the future holds: HB 4145, which allows Constitutional Carry passed through the West Virginia State Legislation in 2016 and was put into effect on May 24, 2016.

WISCONSIN

Current Constitutional Carry Status: Open Carry without a license is legal, Concealed Carry requires a permit.

What the future holds: There are no current plans on the books for Wisconsin to go full Constitutional Carry, but you may currently openly carry handguns, long guns, and knives without permit, and you may also concealed carry a knife.

WYOMING

Current Constitutional Carry Status: Unrestricted (Residents only)

What the future holds: On March 2, 2011, Governor Matt Mead signed legislation to allow constitutional carry. The law officially went into effect on July 1, 2011. Under the law, residents 21 and older may carry concealed or openly without a permit. Visitors to the state and persons age 18-20 must either have a valid concealed carry permit.

 

So there is info on all 50 states and their Constitutional Carry status. This list is obviously going to evolve over the coming months, and as the news updates, we will update this article as well as our Constitutional Carry map. If you'd like to learn more about federal law, be sure to check out our American Gun Law series which is currently 90% OFF and goes over many of the specifics about firearms in the United States.

What states do you think are likely to change on this list first? Let us know in the comments below.

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16 Responses to Constitutional Carry State-by State

  1. Darkwing April 29, 2017 at 12:38 pm #

    Frell the Gestapo and the elected people, I carry where and when I want. I do not need governments permission to protect myself

  2. Ruger Shooter May 1, 2017 at 11:46 am #

    North Carolina should read: Open Carry of handguns without a license is legal, Concealed Carry requires a permit. No permit to open carry, including vehicle. In vehicle it must be in plain sight

    • DavidY May 2, 2017 at 8:42 am #

      I was advised this by many LEO in NC before I got my carry permit. In fact, I was also advised that if I was carrying concealed in my car and forgot my permit that if I ever got pulled over to just put the gun in plain site on the passenger seat and I would be covered by NC open carry law.

  3. RetiredUSAR May 1, 2017 at 12:13 pm #

    Craig, many thanks to you and those who helped compile this information. Nice to know.

  4. Randy Justice May 1, 2017 at 12:16 pm #

    Like the old saying goes, “I’d rather be judged by 12 than carried by 6”. The constitution of our great country gives every citizen the RIGHT to protect himself and his property. I wonder what part of that the liberal criminals don’t understand? It’s very simple, If you try to harm me, or my family, I WILL SHOOT YOUR ASS. If you try to steal my property, I WILL SHOOT YOU. In short, LEAVE ME, MY FAMILY AND MY PROPERTY ALONE AND YOU WON’T GET SHOT BY ME !!!

    • Sgt.K May 3, 2017 at 9:45 am #

      Randy, the 2A does not *give* us the right. The 2A *protects* (“shall not be infringed”) our natural-born right. It’s an important distinction.

  5. Allen May 1, 2017 at 1:10 pm #

    NC still has open carry along with concealed carry with a permit. Their is legislation for constitutional carry in progress right now. Had a friend on a SWAT team and he said the way I carry is perfectly legal as long as I don’t conceal it when I am in public. I don’t have a CC permit and I don’t want one because their are some cops out there that will harass you just because you have the permit. As soon as they run your tag or drivers license they know you have a CC permit.

    The 2nd amendment confirms my God given right to self defense. Why do we need more laws for something we already have a right to do ?

    This is not legal advice and I am not a lawyer. Look it up or ask a lawyer.

  6. Luis Bonilla May 1, 2017 at 1:46 pm #

    This issue of being able to own and or carry a (hand-gun ) is such a problem with those who are afraid to handle or use a handgun . In all the states , why not let the constitution law be the control of this issue . I don’t like the fact others can say what I can do when it comes to me being able to own or use a handgun even carry one . All around this country our police are overwhelmed by the astronomical crime in this country , they can’t protect everyone .

    And you who think that by taking away the right to own handgun , rifles , shotguns is the way to stop crime , your just as blind as a mole out of the ground . If your choice is not to carry own or like weapons go ahead do so , but don’t inflict your choice on me ….

    My father , brother and myself served in the military and are willing to defend this great country . Can any of you say the same , when you want to make this country into a sheep for criminals and cow for those who want to destroy America ….

  7. wally perry May 1, 2017 at 1:50 pm #

    I don’t understand…Our Constitution gives us the ‘Right To Bear Arms’…and politicians think they have a right to collect money, to line their pockets, in order to give us permission to do this. Since this is our right, by the Second Amendment, these clowns have no say so in the matter. They are no better citizens of this country than you or me.

  8. George V Rowe May 1, 2017 at 2:33 pm #

    Great article. Please include notes on reciprocity in future issues.
    Thanks
    George

  9. M.J. May 2, 2017 at 4:37 am #

    I agree nice article and the reciprocal issue would be good information to have as well as whether you need to be a resident in the state to carry or not. I travel back and forth across the country and knowing which states I can carry in and which states are reciprocal are extremely confusing for non-residents

  10. DavidY May 2, 2017 at 8:42 am #

    Very useful post, thanks for taking the time to put it together.

  11. Erik May 2, 2017 at 10:36 pm #

    One minor edit on Virginia. Open carry in Virginia is pretty much unrestricted state-wide. Got a buddy who’s an EMT in northern Virginia who doesn’t have his License to Carry yet, so he open carries his CZ-75 and it’s not a problem. Doesn’t matter if it’s on the Appalachian Trail in the Shennandoah Valley or in downtown Virginia Beach. The only real exception to that is, unless you have a License to Carry, you can’t carry anything that a: has a magazine capacity of more than 20 rds; b: can readily accept a suppressor; or c: has a folding stock.

  12. Jeff Loveless May 3, 2017 at 6:26 am #

    For Arkansas you left out the two most important things.

    1. There is no statute prohibiting carry of any kind on the books. Look if you want but you won’t find one.

    2. The journey defense is a red herring. If you don’t ‘have intent to use unlawfully’ you’re good. And intent must be proven by the state.

    Just know your rights and carry on.

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