As of 2018, 17.25 million carry permits have been issued in the United States. Also, all 50 states have passed a law regarding concealed carry or a form of carrying in one way or another. If you are going to travel, know your rights.
There are many states in the US that will honor a concealed carry permit from another state. Several states have entered into formal agreements to mutually recognize CCW permits, this is called a reciprocity agreement.
While many states do recognize and honor these agreements, some states do not. Recognizing and honoring reciprocity agreements vary from state to state. States like Ohio, Tennessee, and Alabama have full reciprocity and acknowledge all permits while states like California, Oregon, and New York only recognize residents permits of its own issued state.
Federal Law does protect individuals when driving from one state to the next but there are some strict guidelines that need to be followed. Concealed carry laws and reciprocity laws vary so make sure you do your homework before you travel.
USCCA has a reciprocity map on their website that can definitely clear up some questions you may have on concealed carry reciprocity. This will allow you to check before you travel to see if you are not breaking any laws when it comes to your concealed handgun license to carry or concealed carry permit and any state you plan on visiting.
The NRA also has a page on their website that gives you not only valuable information on reciprocity but also on state laws. It’s simple and easy to use page full of great information.
Ohio permits are recognized more than any other state. So naturally, many people choose to get an Ohio permit so that it can be honored in most states. This is usually done by people who are constantly traveling and feel the need to carry when abroad. This is one way to get recognition by most states in the U.S. It is a practice done by many.
CCW reciprocity maps like the one found in the linked above give you a very good idea where you can and can’t carry. They are also updated frequently to make sure you are current with state laws. You can also find apps that will help you in your quest for clarity when it comes to crossing state lines.
Your permit or license is valued when you are carrying. It is what allows you as a law-abiding citizen to continue to practice your right in the state that you reside in without having any legal issues within the state laws. Once you cross that state line, things can change instantly. Your firearms license may not mean anything anymore.
Here is an example. Let's say you live in North Dakota and you are carrying a handgun on your trip to West Virginia. You are going to have to drive through Illinois. Your license issued permit from North Dakota will not allow you to conceal carry in Illinois. Out of state firearms, permits do not mean much if you plan to stop and carry concealed in Illinois.
Here is another example. If you live in South Dakota and plan on taking a small trip to Omaha Nebraska for a couple of days or vice verse, you should be covered by the reciprocity agreements between both states. Both states honor each other.
Alaska, Arizona honor each other. South Carolina, Kansas, Kentucky honor each other. Colorado, Florida also recognizes each other when it comes to permit issued in each of the mentioned states.
As it was said earlier, nothing beats good old research when it comes to reciprocity. There is a thing called Google. Get on it and look into what it is you can and can't do when traveling through state lines. It doesn't take much time and is very doable nowadays with all the apps and websites out there to make life easier. Don't put this off. This is of the utmost importance when it comes to carrying and being a law-abiding citizen. Don't be lazy and keep it on the backburner because you may just be involved in criminal activities when you did nothing different that you have been doing for the longest time other than crossing a state line.
This isn't meant to scare you. Being able to carry while you travel is not a difficult thing to do. Just know what it is you are doing and follow the state and local laws. It's fairly simple.
Please note that state laws are constantly changing. Whether for the better or worse, you need to do your own research when it comes to carrying your firearm outside of your resident state. Even though there may be some information about reciprocity and carrying concealed here in this blog, know that laws are amended every day. Do your due diligence and take the proper steps in preparing for your next travel.
Know what your home state laws are as well. As said before, these gun laws are constantly changing even within your own area. This not only affects those who are pursuing a concealed weapons permit but those who are already permit holders as well. If you possess a firearm for everyday carry make sure you seek knowledge on what it is you can and can't do on a regular basis. Many law enforcement and state police officers are not too sympathetic when it comes to pleading ignorance.
Some states have different laws regarding types of guns you can carry, magazine capacity and open carry, concealed carry or even permitless carry. These are the small differences between states that can make a huge difference on how you can carry. Make sure that you are not breaking the law when entering neighboring states especially if you intend to take your handgun or rifles with you on your trip.
*Please note, this article is not intended to replace seeking legal advise. Laws are constantly changing on a day to day basis. The responsibility is on you and you alone to know your rights and do the proper research in exercising your second amendment rights.
Rene Aguirre is the founder and owner of Bravo Concealment. Rene has been carrying concealed on a daily basis for over 8 years and has been a CHL (concealed handgun license) holder for more than 20 years. Finding a high interest in firearms for many years, Rene started Bravo because of the “lack of” a good concealed carry holster on the market.