All 50 states allow some form of concealed carry, but the applicable laws remain as different as the states themselves, and they are constantly changing. What follows is a general overview of each state’s laws on issuing permits, as well as whether they issue permits to non-residents and if they recognize permits from other states. While “reciprocity” is a term of art, I’ve used it here in the more general sense of whether or not they will recognize another state’s permit. The exact terms of the reciprocity they offer are, of course, different for each state. Just because they recognize some out-of-state permits doesn’t mean they recognize yours, so you’ll need to check that. Other relevant laws you’ll need to know are limits on ammunition or magazine capacity as well as the law of self-defense for that state. Included are links to official sources in each state, as well as the citation for their CCW statute, to serve as starting points for the additional research you should do to make sure you obey the law.

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What follows is not legal advice. For that, you must contact an attorney licensed in that state who specializes in this area of law. This article is not intended to answer all the questions you need to ask, but to tell you where to look for the answers you need.

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Be aware that laws change constantly and new ones often become effective at unpredictable times. Almost half of all states made some changes in their CCW laws during 2015 and 2016, and some states have multiple versions of their CCW laws staged to take effect at different times, some as far in advance as 2021. There’s no guarantee that they won’t change again by the time this gets to press and into your hands. Further complicating things, available information, even when it comes from state agencies, may be conflicting. While the information in this article came from state government sources (including directly from the most recently published statutes), do not rely on this or any other unofficial source. Verify all information prior to traveling, and if you have any doubt at all about carrying, don’t do it.

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There is a school of thought that pushing the legal limits on concealed carry will further expand our rights to do so. More often, it provides others with fodder for further restricting gun rights, and it means a fast trip to jail, confiscation of your firearms, heavy legal bills and possible lifelong restrictions on your right to own firearms. Know the law and stay within it.

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