For decades the carrying of a concealed handgun was illegal in many states and municipalities, and carry permits were extremely difficult (if not almost impossible) to obtain. There seemed to be a common view among the issuing authorities that the general public was not trained, competent or emotionally stable enough, or not in any danger, to justify civilian concealed carry. So the feeling was that, especially in the cities, only police officers needed to do so. Although there were some states where permits were issued, most did not issue unless there was an extenuating circumstance, a documented threat or similar. There were exceptions, of course. Vermont and Washington come to mind, and although Washington has issued for years, it did previously have certain criteria that had to be met—it is now a Shall Issue state. Permits have usually been and are usually now issued through the local sheriff. In years past, most of the very few permits issued in my area that I heard about were for local officials.

Can & Can’t Do
Everything changed for the better in 1987, when Florida began issuing concealed-carry permits. Soon after, state after state began issuing carry permits on a Shall Issue basis. A Shall Issue state is one that will issue a concealed-carry permit to any individual who meets uniform standards established by that state’s legislature. Many Shall Issue states also recognize other states’ permits, and many issue permits to out-of-state residents. Reciprocity came about gradually as states made agreements to recognize and reciprocate the concealed-carry permits of chosen other states. Some states recognized other state permits without reciprocity. Oregon, for example, still does not recognize any other state’s permit, though several other states recognize an Oregon permit. Reciprocity varies from state to state, but your concealed carry license can be enhanced by obtaining permits from states that have the greatest reciprocity with other states, such as Florida and Utah. A great way to determine which states recognize your permit is by accessing the NRA-ILA website for information on reciprocity and the interstate transportation of firearms. If you are on a road trip, you need to abide by the laws of all the states you travel through, whether they recognize your permit or not.

That means there may be several times during your trip when you must secure your weapon in a trunk or locked container. Also note that your concealed-carry permit will not be valid in certain areas within the issuing jurisdiction, such as in courts, airports and others zones as dictated. There is no such thing as a federal concealed carry permit—you are not allowed to carry in federal buildings. Recent media information announced that firearms were now permitted in national parks and wildlife refuges if the firearm is in compliance with state laws. However, a separate federal law continues to ban firearms in “federal facilities,” including those in national parks and wildlife refuges such as visitor centers, ranger stations, and so forth. While we are on the topic of federal restrictions, we need to address concealed carry on Native American reservations. This is an issue that’s been subject to a lot of confusion, especially when traveling on a highway through a reservation…


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For decades the carrying of a concealed handgun was illegal in many states and…