How to Research the Concealed Carry Laws That Apply to You
Understanding concealed carry laws is essential to being a responsible gun owner. Discover how to gain the necessary local knowledge.
Firearm laws aren’t set in stone and, as one of America’s most contested topics, should be a subject gun owners stay constantly informed about. The law can vary depending on the type of carrying you’re doing, which is why we’re spotlighting concealed carry: The right to carry a firearm on or close to your person in a hidden manner.
Achieving the level of responsibility necessary to concealed carry within the law requires a clear understanding of the various rules that regulate your gun rights. Let’s explore how to research the specific laws that apply both to your location and your personal status.
Researching your home state’s rules
Concealed carry laws have three levels: federal, state, and local. Sometimes, variations in the law can run right down to the city or town level. Researching your own state’s concealed carry rules starts with contacting either your local law enforcement office, probate court, or the relevant state regulatory authority, such as your state’s department of justice.
This puts you in touch with the three entities that most often distribute concealed carry licenses and helps you better understand concealed carry-related factors, such as:
- Approved and prohibited carry locations – the latter typically includes schools, court and correctional facilities, federal buildings, airports, bars and restaurants, and all instances of private property where the owner has expressed a firearm restriction.
- Magazine and ammo type restrictions
- Constitutional Carry
- Pre-emption laws (the level of the state’s ability to regulate firearm ownership as opposed to local ordinances)
- Red Flag laws
- Duty to Inform
Once you’ve reviewed all these important aspects, it’s time to learn how the laws of other states also impact your gun rights via something called reciprocity.
Understanding concealed carry reciprocity
Reciprocity is the principle of returned recognition, and it is a vital part of understanding concealed carry laws in the United States. Put simply, some states will recognize a concealed carry license issued in another state, while others won’t. Since not every state will reciprocate with yours, you must be fully aware when you cross state lines of exactly how these shifting legal jurisdictions impact your right to concealed carry and where you may do so.
Many states also distribute non-resident permits, which means you can apply for concealed carry provided you meet that state’s legal requirements and adhere to their laws while there. You can access this reciprocity map to research which outside states legally recognize your concealed carry license depending on either its residential or non-residential status.
Where to research concealed carry training to legally qualify
The following options are acceptable under many state laws as proof of firearms competency. Researching each one is recommended to help you gain more information on concealed carry’s legal requirements:
- Successfully completing a hunter safety course: Some concealed carriers use their firearm to hunt. Educational courses are typically mandatory and can be taken in-person or online. They provide safety and firearms training that is typically recognized on the national level. You can select your state and check with the U.S. FWS to start your state-specific research.
- Active or previous military experience and the DD Form 214: Sometimes your personal status can impact how concealed carry laws affect you. Active military personnel can show proof of duty, while honorably discharged veterans can submit a copy of their DD 214 along with their concealed carry application. This will typically satisfy the application office as to your ability to safely concealed carry under the law.
- Firearms safety courses from various providers: Law enforcement agencies, firing ranges, colleges/universities, and other private institutions or individuals may also offer firearms training that helps gain a concealed carry license. All educators in any location must be certified to their state’s tutorial standards for firearms.
- The National Rifle Association: NRA classes cover a lot of ground. Check for the nearest course via their online training locator to start researching the right class to get legally qualified for concealed carry.
Some states also accept documented participation in an organized shooting competition as constituting sufficient experience to concealed carry. It is always best to verify the legal training requirements with your local law enforcement, applicable court, or state authority’s office.
LEOSA and concealed carry laws
Concealed carry laws can be further influenced by personal status if you happen to be an active or retired law enforcement officer. Federal law H.R. 218, also called the Law Enforcement Officers’ Safety Act (LEOSA), came into play in 2004 and allows both officer classifications to carry a concealed firearm in any jurisdiction in the United States or United States Territories, regardless of state or local laws, with certain exceptions (such as carrying on a plane and on private property).
LEOSA requires all law enforcement officers active or retired who are seeking a concealed carry license to be fully trained to their state’s firearm proficiency standards, with retired officers usually required to retake training on an annual basis.
LEOSA carriers are also issued an ID card from the law enforcement department they currently serve or have retired in good standing from. Legal particulars of the application process can vary from state to state, so officers should speak with their current or former department for the correct information.
Keep yourself armed and educated with Ammunition Depot
Researching the concealed carry laws that apply to you is an ongoing responsibility because gun laws can and do change. Keep yourself informed so you always know where and how you can concealed carry.
Ammunition Depot is a family-owned and operated business offering a safe, educational, and convenient way to purchase firearms, accessories, and ammunition online. Our team is committed to supporting our customers on their journey to securely exercising their constitutional right of self-defense. Drop by our contact page to get in touch.