Concealed Carry Laws in the US

Otis McDonald was an African-American man who lived in Chicago, and who was a retired custodian. Otis lived in the Morgan Park area of Chicago, an area that was rife with gangs and drug dealers. An Army veteran, he had dropped out of school at the age of 14 but would later earn an associate’s degree as an adult.

Born to Louisiana sharecroppers, Otis was acutely aware of slave laws and “black codes” that prevented African Americans from owning guns before and after the Civil War and he had an immeasurable love for his family. These two factors would prove to end the gun ownership controversy once and for all.

Chicago had, and to some degree still has, the most stringent gun control laws in the country. A Supreme Court Ruling in 2008 had affirmed that individuals in the United States had a Constitutional Right to own and carry firearms but did not clarify to what extent that the individual states could restrict this right.

Chicago, being the bastion of Liberal Policy that it still is, attempted to circumvent this ruling with their own regulations and laws that made it all but impossible for a citizen to purchase and keep a firearm.

Otis changed all of that when he became known as the man who brought Chicago to its knees.

Driven by the love for his family and his desire to protect them from the criminals just outside of his door, he won the next Supreme Court ruling on the subject in 2010 that forced Chicago and other left-wing cities to comply with the first ruling.

Otis passed away in 2014, but this retired custodian certainly left a legacy behind him that everyone in the country will be forever indebted to.

Every policy that the left pushes for implementation is based on their belief that the Constitution is a “living document”.

That is to say, they believe that because it was written so long ago it only goes to follow that our founding fathers could not have possibly predicted the needs of our modern lives and therefore the Constitution is simply an outdated paper that needs to be changed from time to time.

A very convenient argument when that pesky Constitution gets in the way of their socialist goals.

In fact, it was this same argument that failed in front of the Supreme Court. Their argument has always been that the words “… right to keep and bear arms” were written with the Minutemen (of the colonial days) in mind, not for us modern folks.

They believe that this was necessary before there were regular armies and police departments but that since this is no longer the case, citizens have no need of firearm ownership, much less the need to carry one. As if anyone living in colonial times were in need of government permission to own a firearm.

Since Otis fought the good fight on behalf of all of us. most states have fallen into compliance with the ruling, but many states still have not.

Some states have gone above and beyond the 2010 ruling, giving their citizens liberties with firearms that most of us never thought we would live long enough to see.

My own state of West Virginia, for example, has thrown out the need for any kind of carry permits whether carrying open or concealed. Other states, however, are still ‘dragging their feet’ or outright ignoring the ruling as it was written.

The difficulty comes in knowing exactly which state permits carrying a firearm, in what capacity that they allow it, and what other states, if any, honor that permission or permit. I’ll be honest, it’s confusing and in some cases, there is a deep contrast when you begin comparing one state to the next.

Some states, located directly next to a state that is in compliance, refuses to even reciprocate with their neighbor’s permit or recognize its validity.

I am going to try my best to sort through some of the confusion but just like the pharmaceutical companies who advertise a cure for every mood that you might experience, I will add my own disclosure of liability.

Before you strap on a gun, make certain that you have confirmed that you are legal not only in your own state but any other states that you might travel through. Do not rely on the information in this article (or any other) as any kind of definitive word on the subject.

The list below comes from the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action. Who would know better where this battle stands than the people who are fighting it? For the record here, this article is only concerned with handguns.

States That “SHALL” Issue:

These states are the ones that are abiding by the Supreme Court Ruling and in some cases going beyond it. “Shall” issue, means that if you meet their very basic criteria, they shall issue you a concealed-carry permit.

Washington State: (Washington State only honors IDAHO’s Enhanced Permit, and only honors NORTH DAKOTA’s Class 1 Permit.)

  • Oregon
  • Nevada
  • Idaho
  • Montana
  • Utah
  • Colorado
  • New Mexico
  • North Dakota
  • South Dakota
  • Nebraska
  • Oklahoma
  • Texas
  • Minnesota
  • Iowa
  • Missouri
  • Arkansas
  • Louisiana
  • Michigan
  • Wisconsin
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Kentucky
  • Tennessee
  • Alabama
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • South Carolina
  • North Carolina
  • Virginia
  • West Virginia
  • Ohio
  • Pennsylvania
  • New Hampshire
  • Guam

The following states do NOT require a permit for concealed carry, according to their map:

  • Wyoming
  • Arizona
  • Kansas
  • Mississippi
  • Vermont
  • Maine
  • Alaska

The following states are what the NRA calls “Reasonable Issue” states. These states use greater discretion over issuing permits but most citizens ultimately get approved.

  • Connecticut

The following list is a list of state governments that make obtaining a permit so difficult that the result is that their citizens are denied that right.

  • California
  • Hawaii
  • New York
  • Massachusetts
  • Rhode Island
  • New Jersey
  • Delaware
  • Maryland
  • Puerto Rico

Allow me the caveat of saying that if I missed a state, you can find them all here on the NRA’s site.

You’ll also notice that West Virginia has not been changed on their map to a “no-permit-needed” state though if you click on the state, it explains that no permit is needed. This is why you need to double check each state’s laws yourself and not rely on any website.

So there are the list of states and where they stand as far as issuing permits but what if I want to travel with my family on vacation? Will the next state over, reciprocate and honor my permit from my state? This is even more confusing than the above list.

Your best bet is to do your own research on the specific states that you will be driving through and by research, I mean calling each state and asking them personally. If you want another website list, you can find it here, on the site.

They have a clickable map that, when you click on your home state, it will list the states that honor your permit.

Be careful, though. Do not assume that because you live in a state like West Virginia, where a permit is not needed to carry inside the borders, that you can then enter another state with no permit. You will still need to obtain a permit in order for it to be honored outside of your state lines.

As a general rule, every state that is on the “Shall” issue list above, reciprocates with the other states on the list.

It would then come as no surprise that the states who will not even issue a permit to their own citizens, will most likely not recognize a permit from another state.

Of course, that just means that you drive around that state and give your gas, hotel, and food money to a state that does reciprocate.

As you can see, this issue is far from settled. It becomes even more convoluted when you begin looking at which states will issue permits to non-residents and which ones will not.

Just like the recent Presidential Election that has spawned so many displays of immaturity, many of the liberal left are stomping their feet and crying to judges and courtrooms why their state should be exempt from the Supreme Court decision.

I’ve often thought that maybe some states should do the same with Roe V. Wade but that is a different topic.

I was explaining to someone, not very long ago, the West Virginia legislation that allows anyone who is a law abiding citizen, over the age of 21, to carry a firearm without a permit. The look on his face was pure shock.

I then tried to explain the concept of a “coat tax” to him, in order to get him to look at it from another view point.

If you are not aware, a “coat tax” is a term coined by advocates of permitless carry, in a state where there is already open-carry.

If it is legal to carry a firearm that is in plain view, without a permit, why then do I become a felon when the weather turns cold and I must put on a coat and cover that same firearm? Thus the term “coat-tax”.

Finally, he said to me “I don’t think I like your state’s permitless carry law. Giving up on making my argument any longer, to someone who had clearly closed his mind to the subject and could not envision the world in which citizens are truly free, I left him with this.

If you are going to rob a 7-11, which most of us will agree is nothing more than a training academy for felons anyway, and you realize that every other, hill-billy, red-necked customer in the store is armed, are you still going to rob it? Probably not.

In July of 2015, the Washington Times reported that murder rates have dropped a staggering 25% in states that issue concealed carry permits.

The lefty-aggravating fact is that it is difficult to shoot at someone who may shoot back and even more difficult to rob someone who might hand you more than their wallet.

Our great country was founded on firearms. It was firearms that freed us from the tyranny of the British, it was firearms that freed our country of slavery, it has been firearms that have fed countless generations of Americans by the owners who hunted with them and it is firearms, more than any other symbol, that reflects our freedoms and stubborn independence from the rest of the world.

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