View Full Version : Concealed carry rules?

April 3, 2011, 09:20 PM
Hi all,

Please pardon my ignorance. I'm just curious. There are plenty of threads on 'what gun/holster/rig/calibre' is best for concealed carry, but as I don't live in the US of A I was wondering what laws/legislation covers this type of self defence?

I understand very well that every state will have different laws but how does an ordinary citizen go about 'concealed carry'??:confused:

Do you apply to the police, FBI, State government, etc??

What kind of training courses are involved? Does this involve tactical communication? de-escalation drills, non-lethal (open hand/unarmed tactics)?

Sorry for all the questions!:)

April 3, 2011, 09:25 PM
This is such a vague question. I would say the best way to carry concealed if you aren't in law enforcement is to carry in such a way that it is really non-obvious. Otherwise if you can whip out a badge concealment is really just an option.

April 3, 2011, 09:55 PM
Hi 3rd,
Generally, for us peons, these things are handled at the state government level. There are minor rule and training requirement differences. Here is a URL to a US website that helps us keep track of the differences between the various state's laws. http://www.usacarry.com/

April 3, 2011, 10:14 PM
I just found another thread on the topic and that has answered some questions for me.
Thanks for the link to the other site.
Now for a really really dumb question from a foreigner. Is concealed carry/open carry restricted to handguns? If you are going to 'open carry' why not make it a mini-14 with a folding stock? I am not trying to be a smart a@#.

April 3, 2011, 10:30 PM
In the State of Arkansas, CCW is restricted to "any legal hand-gun". If you qualify with a semi auto pistol, you can carry any semiauto or revolver. If you qualify with a revolver, you are limited to carrying only a legal revolver. I'm sure it will vary state by state. Many of the states have reciprocal agreements with other states. Being from Arkkansas, I can legally carry in about 30+ states. There are also some national laws on firearms carry that will pertain to everybody from all states. Mostly, these laws are about transportation in vehicles. Some states have "open carry" where you hang one on your hip and go about your business. Vermont and New Mexico come to mind in that regard. There is a website called Packing.org where you can get an overview of the laws of different states I believe. We cannot hot link on this forum or I'd post several for you. You should be able to Google some up with no difficulty.

April 3, 2011, 10:33 PM
Many states have CHP, as in concealed Handgun permit. Quite frankly, in Arizona yes indeed you may carry a Mini-14 openly or concealed, but the PAIN of doing it negates the value. Carrying a rifle in public, while perfectly legal will cause many visitors to be "concerned", levels of concern ranging from frowns to running in circles flapping arms while screaming incoherantly.:p
Then there is the EASE of such a carry - that rifle is going to slip off your shoulder at the worst time, knock over your groceries, etc. if you want to make the special effort, it's legal, but I know very few people who have carried a rifle in society. I did it in a covert rifle case to test reactions to a non gun looking case, and nobody batted an eye. But even in AZ, if I had open carried that very same rifle, there probably would have been law enforcement contact of one form or another, despite that fact that it is, indeed, fully legal. It was also a pain, and not repeated.
Now mind you this is INSIDE cities both major and minor - if I were in the boonie backpacking or hiking, absolutely I would be open carrying a decent rifle, especially with our "leaders" deliberately ceding large parts of AZ to drug and human smugglers, not to mention the normal four legged predators and such.
Please do keep in mind this type of carry is pretty much restricted to Arizona and Alaska, with Vermont allowing it, but I doubt you would see it much. Handguns are good defensive tools you can carry easily with little effort, a rifle takes much more effort. As for state transport of firearms, FOPA, the federal law governing that, doesn't come into play since we recognize the right to carry for defense of self and state.

April 4, 2011, 12:43 AM
thanks for the info, I'm doing some research into the topic and have a lot of information to go through.

Just another point - in those states that allow open carry; Are there concerns/issues in relation to 'gun grab' scenarios? Has this happened to a private citizen legally carrying? Where I live the instance of police officers being subject to gun grab has increased dramatically in recent years.

357 Python
April 4, 2011, 09:23 AM
Hello. You could write an encylopedia with the info on firearms from all the states. In Virginia a permit is needed to carry concealed unless you are a police officer, deputy sheriff, or other law enforcement officer. It is relatively easy to get. There are several courses that are approved to be used for the permit application. To get definative info on the Virginia permit check out the Virginia State Police website www.vsp.state.va.us/firearms.shtm. This site will give you all the info needed to start the process. Open carry is legal in Virginia without a permit and I have not heard of a case of non-law enforcement gun grab yet. Being a police firearms instructor I have to at least try to keep up to date on incidents that occur here along with terrorism subjects and active shooter subjects.

April 4, 2011, 10:48 AM
All licenses in America in any state are issued by the state, AFAIK.

Texas requires a one-day training course in law and range work. The course is usually given by a gun dealer, not by a state official. The CHL (Concealed Handgun License) is issued by the state. The acronym varies by state but means the same thing.

In Texas if an automatic is used for the range qualification the license permits both auto and revolver. Using a revolver allows only a revolver to be carried. I carry a revolver but qualified with an auto in order to have the option. The minimum caliber for range qualification is .32.

Concealed means concealed, not sort-of concealed. However, almost any CHL holder can spot another one. The untucked shirt is usually the first indication. The scruffy beard is another one, and the decal on the pickup truck is a dead give away.

We have no open carry permit in Texas—yet. We’re working on it.

Some states have reciprocal agreements with other states to honor each others licenses. In these cases you must adhere to the laws of the host state, not your own, but these are usually quite similar. Especially in the South.

We do have a few states which are unaware that this is America and believe that guns are evil and should be only in the hands of a dictator.

In Hawaii the course is administered by sneaky-eyed undercover agents and the range work is done using a turkey baster. Successful completion allows one to carry a picture of a gun but the picture must be concealed and the part which shows the gun must be blotted out. Needless to say, getting a real CHL in Hawaii is difficult. Birth certificates are another matter.

Illinois is another state which has problems with CHLs. Again, birth certificates are easy, just go to any graveyard and pick a name and date and be certain to vote the way the ward healer tells you to and as often as he tells you to.

The gun of choice varies but friends don’t let friends carry Glocks.

April 7, 2011, 06:41 PM
While Arizona does not require a permit, there are some reasons for obtaining one (skips the background check when you buy a gun, etc.).

There is one form of Federal "permit" - the Law Enforcement Officer's Safety Act, or LEOSA. It allows an active officer to carry concealed in other states. It also allows a retired officer, such as me, to carry concealed in all 50 states. It is not actually a permit, and requires two documents for me:
Retired credentials from my (Federal) agency
Proof that I have qualified on the state course of fire.
Both must be renewed annually.

I have both the state and LEOSA documents. For example, under LEOSA, Arizona allows me to carry in a school - important to me, as my wife is on the local school board, where she is challenging the status quo. One of those who is seeing his empire crumble is of "questionable stability", and known to carry a gun.

April 7, 2011, 06:53 PM
We do have a few states which are unaware that this is America and believe that guns are evil and should be only in the hands of a dictator.

I have never heard a statment that had more truth in it than this.... If it was up to me these states would be ejected from the union.... But alas its not up to me...

Guns are necessary to the preservation of freedom, the defense of the union and second in importance only to the constitution itself...

As for your thread: Concealed carry is IMHO an art. The truth is the average citizen misses all sorts of details and its not hard to conceal many guns, even minor error are usually easy to cover.

April 7, 2011, 07:45 PM
ClayinTX-- Great post.
I live in TX, wear my shirt tucked in, keep my beard very closely trimmed and don't own a pick-up, much less the sticker. Guess I'm pretty much invisible.

I'm gonna keep an eye on Willie Nelson, though...:)

April 8, 2011, 12:22 AM
Vermont allows concealed carry as long as you are not a felon no permit or training required.
California permit is issued by the law enforcement agency where you live city police or sheriff and you have to qualify shooting and take a course. However most won't issue unless you are friends or contribute to the election fund or are a politician or judge.

Every State is different.

April 8, 2011, 04:38 AM
The rules in my state are relatively simple.

Providing one is legal to possess a firearm, per federal law, all one has to do to conceal a firearm is conceal it.

It falls upon the person carrying the handgun to know where they can and cannot carry, as well as when they can and cannot use their handgun. This method, called Constitutional Carry, treats adults like adults and makes them responsible for their actions. I find that better than any, "Mommy or Daddy may I?" solution to concealed carry.

Why should I ask some government functionary for permission to make use of a right already given to me?


April 8, 2011, 10:52 AM
I found during my LE career, that if you were appropriately groomed and dressed for the area you were in (i.e. clean shaven in a suit in the financial district), you could walk down a busy street with a gun in your hand, down at your side, and no one would notice. As the crowd thinned, the chance of discovery increased.

Most people are in 'White', oblivious to what is happening around them. These days, with iPods and all the rest, they are so busy with their electronic distractors they are even less likely to notice you.

April 9, 2011, 02:57 PM
I just found another thread on the topic and that has answered some questions for me.
Thanks for the link to the other site.
Now for a really really dumb question from a foreigner. Is concealed carry/open carry restricted to handguns? If you are going to 'open carry' why not make it a mini-14 with a folding stock? I am not trying to be a smart a@#.

All this is very state dependent, but in Virginia you can open carry rifles and shotguns if you wish. There are a few restrictions related to large round capacity weapons in some cities and counties if you do not have a concealed carry permit. Most non-law enforcement people who carry pistols do so concealed, but some do open carry and a few carry rifles. Most long gun carry is of course related to hunting or target shooting. There are laws on brandishing firearms so you would have to make sure that the long gun is not carried in a manner that would get you in trouble.

April 16, 2011, 09:22 AM
Now for a really really dumb question from a foreigner. Is concealed carry/open carry restricted to handguns? If you are going to 'open carry' why not make it a mini-14 with a folding stock? I am not trying to be a smart a@#.

Believe it or not, there was a time, in my lifetime, when, in most of America, a couple of 12 yr. old kids could ride their bikes to the dump to shoot rats, or walk along the railroad tracks or even ride the city bus, all while carrying their .22 rifles! There was a time when high schools had rifle teams!

And, of course, there was a time when every able-bodied adolescent or adult male was competent with a rifle, and we were "A Nation of Riflemen"!

And it made us a better country. Those were the days...

April 16, 2011, 02:19 PM
Not exactly within the scope of the OP but somewhat of clarification. In the state of Missouri, open carry has always been legal with a few restrictions. It was not practiced to a large degree mostly from respect for the sheeple who would be disturbed by the act. In most places it is legal to carry any firearm openly but would be frowned upon similiar to dressing inappropriately at church or wearing a clown suit to a funeral. I have on many occasions, been asked what I was hunting when someone noticed I was carrying a handgun openly. I usually answer "varmints".

April 17, 2011, 11:01 AM
Concealed carry laws vary greatly from state to state, but you can pretty much put them into three categories: No CCW at all, May issue, Shall Issue, and Constitutional Carry.

Currently, there are only three areas of the country where CCW is outright illegal for a private citizen: Illinois, Wisconsin, and Washington D.C. Open carry is, theoretically, legal in Wisconsin but from what I've heard you will very likely face harassment from LE and possibly arrest for a subjective charge disturbing the peace or disorderly conduct.

May issue is common in more politically liberal states like New York, California, Maryland, and Massachussetts (just to name a few). In these states, whether or not you get a license is left up to the discretion of the issuing authority (usually the local sheriff or chief of police). The ease of getting a license in these states varies widely depending on the state in question and even the area of the state. For example, Alabama is technically a May-issue state but most people in that state seem to have little trouble obtaining a license. Massachussetts, on the other hand, is a state in which it is nearly impossible to get a license without a great deal of money, political connections, or both. Similarly, it supposedly isn't particularly difficult to get a license in Upstate New York, but getting one in New York City is a lot like getting one in Massachussetts.

Shall issue is probably the most common system in the U.S. In this system, so long as you meet all the legal requirements (clean criminal and mental history, minimum age requirements), pay any required fees, and complete any required training courses, the state must issue you a license. The finer details of the license in shall-issue states such as minimum age requirements, fees, issuing authority, legality of open carry, places where carry is prohibited (gov't building, schools, establishments that sell alcohol, etc.), training requirements, and frequency of renewal varies significantly though.

The last category is one that seems to be growing in popularity: Constitutional Carry. In this system, anyone over the age of 18 who can legally posess a firearm may carry a gun without any sort of license. Currently, only four states have adopted Constitutional Carry: Vermont, Alaska, Arizona, and Wyoming (while WY has passed the law, I don't believe it has taken effect yet). Alaska, Arizona, and Wyoming still offer licenses so that their citizens may still carry in states that have reciprocity agreements with them while Vermont does not even offer a license.

In addition to the above, some may issue and shall issue states allow open carry without a license while other require a license for either type or ban open carry alltogether. To give a more specific picture of state laws as an example, I'll describe those of my home state, Indiana:

IN is a shall issue state in which both concealed and open carry are legal so long as one has a LTCH (License To Carry a Handgun) because the license makes no distinction between open or concealed carry. Indiana makes no distinction to the type of weapon beyond "handgun" and we have no training requirement. Our minimum age to get a LTCH is 18.

Indiana does, however, offer two different types of licenses: Hunting & Target or Personal Protection. A Hunting & Target allows you to transport an unloaded handgun to and from places like shooting ranges and hunting areas (without a license, the only instance in which you may legally transport a handgun is from the place of purchase to your home although there is currently a bill in our senate to revise this). A Personal Protection license, on the other hand, allows you all the same rights as the Hunting & Target license but also allows you to carry a loaded handgun on your person or in your vehicle for the purpose of self-defense. The only disadvantage to the Personal Protection license is that it is more expensive than the Hunting & Target (the Personal Protection license is much more popular and I've never personally met anyone who opted for the Hunting & Target instead).

Licenses are also available in two different durations: four-year expiration or lifetime. While the four-year license is less than half the price of a lifetime one, the lifetime license is by far the most popular and the licensing division of the State Police has been backlogged ever since the lifetime option became available in 2006. Because of this, a person will usually have a 2-3 month wait when applying for or renewing their LTCH. When I renewed mine, my old LTCH actually expired before the new one came (I got my first one before the lifetime option was offered). However, I was told by the State Police that I could continue to carry a handgun so long as I also had my expired LTCH and the receipt of my application for renewal on my person.

The list of places where carry is legally prohibited in Indiana is relatively short and is limited to gov't buildings, schools, and commercial aircraft. While private businesses may choose to ban CCW on their premises, such bans carry no force of law beyond charges for tresspassing if you refuse to leave the business after they've asked you to. Indiana also recognizes all out-of-state licenses although visitors from Constitutional Carry states who do not have a license are prohibited from carrying here. As far as bordering states, both Kentucky and Michigan honor Indiana's LTCH while Illinois and Ohio do not.

Our LTCH is issued by the State Police, but the applications are made through the local police department or sheriff's office. According to what is printed on my license, a LTCH may be suspended or revoked for "felony arrest and/or improper or reckless use of a handgun"

Indiana does not currently have a firearms preemption law although a locality with gun laws stricter than those of the state is rare. Indiana does have the "Castle Doctrine" which states that one has no legal duty to retreat before using lethal force in self-defense so long as lethal force is legally justifiable in the situation. It is also state law in Indiana that an employer may not prohibit their employees from having a firearm in their vehicle so long as the vehicle is locked and the firearm is not in plain sight.

Indiana also has very little restriction on the types of weapons which may be owned. Indiana has no assualt weapons ban and NFA items such as machineguns and silencers are legal so long as Federal requirements are met. The only type of ammunition which is illegal in Indiana is armor-piercing handgun ammunition. Knives are also unrestricted with the exception that switchblades and "Chinese throwing stars" are illegal, carrying of knives is prohibited in certain places (pretty much the same places where carrying a gun is illegal) and people under the age of 18 are prohibited from carrying a knife with a blade longer than 6". Other types of common self-defense weapons such as batons, tazers, and pepper spray are unrestricted although I believe you must be at least 18 years old to purchase such items.

April 17, 2011, 11:34 AM
We do have a few states which are unaware that this is America and believe that guns are evil and should be only in the hands of a dictator.

Wisconsin, and my home state of Illinois come to mind.

I have never heard a statement that had more truth in it than this.... If it was up to me these states would be ejected from the union.…

Well now, if Illinois could eject Chicago from the state, could Illinois remain in the Union? Please?

95% of firearm restricting rules / laws stem from Chicago. I say we give Chicago to Wisconsin. It would fit right in.

There is a growing number of people here in Illinois that believe we are going to get CCW soon. I sure hope those people are not holding their breath waiting for this to happen.

April 17, 2011, 01:32 PM
Mike, if you can figure out how to get Chicago out of the Union, you will have become a demi-god.:p

April 17, 2011, 02:00 PM
Can we give it to Canada? Of course, we would have to pay reparations to them, but it would be worth it.