The Terms You NEED to Know for Concealed Carry…

If you care about the Second Amendment, have ever applied for a license or permit to carry a concealed handgun, or are familiar with the firearms laws of your state, then you’ve probably come across the terms, shall-issue, may-issue, and constitutional carry. These terms have specific legal implications in each state when it comes to applying for a permit or license to carry a handgun.

Shall-issue states

Most states are shall-issue states, meaning that if an applicant satisfies the legal requirements and completes whatever training course may be required under state law, the state shall issue the applicant a permit or license to carry a handgun. Simply stated, if an applicant ticks all the boxes as required by state law, the permit granting authority is obligated to issue a license to the applicant.

May-issue states

May-issue states, on the other hand, may issue a license or permit to carry to an applicant, but they do not have to do so. These may-issue states afford a certain amount of discretion to the permit-issuing authority, typically the state’s police or sheriff’s departments, to determine whether an applicant should receive a license or permit to carry concealed.

For example, in California, a county sheriff may issue a license if, in addition to other legal requirements, the applicant demonstrates proof of good moral character and good cause to carry a handgun. Unlike in a shall-issue state, in a may-issue state, even if you satisfy all the legal requirements to obtain a license or permit to carry, such as completing the training course, paying the requisite fees, passing a background check, etc., you’re still not guaranteed a license or permit to carry a concealed handgun. In may-issue states, whether you receive a license or permit to carry a concealed handgun is up to the permit-issuing authority. Fortunately, for most gun owners, may-issue states are increasingly moving away from this method.

Constitutional carry

Finally, let’s talk about constitutional carry. If your state is a constitutional carry state, you typically don’t have to worry about whether your state is a shall-issue or may-issue state. Constitutional carry refers to the legal carrying of a handgun without a license or permit. Stated differently, in a constitutional carry state, if you can legally possess a handgun, you can legally carry that handgun without the need for a license or permit. Keep in mind, even though constitutional carry states allow for permitless carry, age, location, and residency restrictions may still apply.

If you have any questions concerning shall-issue, may-issue, or constitutional carry states, call U.S. LawShield and ask to speak to your Independent Program Attorney.

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Comment section

8 comments on “The Terms You NEED to Know for Concealed Carry…

  1. Thank u for this info. It was great n great to know this thank u again

  2. Please cover under the Constitutional Carry item how a non-resident from, day Colorado with or without a CO carry permit in CO, what such a person needs to understand about carrying a firearm in a Constitutional State. Thanks

  3. Jim R., here in Idaho, a Constitutional carry state, you must be a legal resident or have a CCP recognized by the state of Idaho to legally carry.

  4. If from a Constitutional Carry State, how does that affect that individual should he travel outside that state?

  5. Why does a Constitutional state (no training) also have a CCW?

  6. Great information, thank you for this and all your self defense updates.

  7. JC, some states are “Constitutional carry” and open carry, but you must have a CCW permit to carry concealed.

  8. Makes no sense. Constitutional carry no training CCW must have training.

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