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By James England via

Not all states were created equal. Some states have taken extreme liberties with their interpretations of the Bill of Rights. If you’re from one of these states, here are some of the obstacles you face when trying to obtain a concealed carry permit . . .

California is a tough state for gun laws.  Not only do they heavily regulate based upon county, there’s also a written test required for handgun purchases.  Add insult to injury?  The state’s constitution does not explicitly guarantee the right to bear arms.  This has allowed counties to be so restrictive there have been Circuit Court appeals to recognize Californians’ right to bear arms.  More on that can be read here.

It’s a “Shall Permit” state operating with some pretty strict “May Permit” rules.  And it’s events like Sandy Hook which have put the Connecticut legislature on edge.  In order to get a permit in Connecticut – resident or otherwise – you have to prove you’re a “suitable” person.  What does that mean?  Connecticut isn’t quite sure – it’s not defined in their laws.

If you’re not barred from owning a firearm, you’re probably okay for a concealed permit.  It’s loosely defined as a “May Issue” state but is mostly “Shall Issue” in practice.

District of Columbia
DC’s ban on open and concealed carry was just recently struck down in a July, 2014 court ruling in Wren v. District of Columbia.  What does that mean?!  Well, in Washington, D.C. – our nation’s capitol – all firearms have to be registered with the D.C. police.  The ban on handguns was semi-recently struck down in 2008.  And in 2014, apparently it’s okay for D.C. residents to become concealed carriers – like almost every other part of the country.  It’s still “Shall Permit” and arguably as strict as Maryland, but hey – at least it’s there, right?

Did you register your firearm with the chief of police?  If you did – congratulations!  You’re within the bounds of the law of Hawaii!  How about carrying that weapon concealed? The Democratic People’s Republic of Hawaii is pleased to introduce to you a series of “Shall Permit” regulations that are “May Issue” in law and “No Issue” by practice.

The chief of police may grant you a permit “in an exceptional case, when an applicant shows reason to fear injury to the applicant’s person or property”.  But, this will never happen as the chief of police for your island really likes being the only guy on the island with a legal permit to carry concealed.  Hopefully violent criminals didn’t get that memo?!  Hang ten, Bill of Rights!

Also a state that doesn’t recognize the right of its citizens to keep and bear arms, Maryland has long been a terse subject of debate at Concealed Nation.  Basically, the process of getting a concealed carry permit is so convoluted that people have given up all hope of obtaining one.  In absence of clear laws governing the concealment (or even carrying) of weapons, it’s left to the criminals to decide instead.

Massachusetts WANTS to be part of the Vermont-New Hampshire-Maine coalition of constitutional carry.  Okay, New Hampshire isn’t constitutional carry, yet.  Give us another two years.  But there’s simply no excuse for Massachusetts.  Live close to Boston where Hollywood makes movies about the ease of robbing a bank?  No, citizens shouldn’t be issued concealed carry permits.  That would make TOO much sense.  IF you live in Massachusetts and want a concealed carry permit, you better live in the desolate, unpopulated regions of the Berkshires.  Outside of that, you’re not going to get issued a concealed carry permit.  More importantly, if you even want a handgun in the first place, you better be willing to register it with a state-wide database.  The ironic notion is that the American Revolution kicked off in a town (Lexington, MA) where it would be feasibly illegal to possess a concealed firearm.

New Jersey
Are you a felon with a crime-streak that would make Grand Theft Auto blush?  Congratulations! You probably have no problem concealing a firearm.  For everyone else – you’re on your own.  This is another “May Permit” state that is essentially “No Permit” in practice.  It’s become so bad, New Jersey residents pursue CCW permits out-of-state so they can travel with a legal firearm.  Did we say travel?  Apparently, it’s hard to even do that in the state of New Jersey.  To New Jersey residents – we’re sorry.

New York
There’s New York state and then there’s New York City.  Many outsiders forget the difference.  And for New Yorkers, there is a clear cut “May Issue” process for obtaining a concealed carry permit.  There are magazine restrictions, background checks, and a whole host of factors governing New York’s litmus test for concealed carry.

For residents of the five boroughs of New York City, it’s altogether impossible to obtain a concealed carry permit pending extreme wads of cash in all the right places.  The rationale for this is impossible to understand.  For students of history, NYC is basically consigned to an idea of a city-state emblematic of ancient Greece.  And even then, historically, citizens were probably encouraged to keep and bear arms for defense.

Rhode Island
Rhode Island doesn’t get talked about much because it’s the smallest state in the Union.  It’s one of the few states that is “shall permit” on the books and “never permit” in practice.  It all starts with local authorities.  Good ole’ boy systems set up to dissuade law-abiding citizens from petitioning their local police chiefs and the District Attorney have, unfortunately, been well established.  That is until April of 2015 when citizens decided to start fighting back.  In GADOMSKI v. TAVARES, Rhode Islanders assert that police chiefs need to issue a reason for denial of a concealed carry permit.  It’s far from “shall permit” but for the lower half of New England that is staunchly opposed to an American’s right to keep and bear arms, it’s a giant step forward.

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  1. Actually in california 39/56 counties are virtual shall issue. The remaining 17 are a combo or no issue to “heightened cause”- the sheriff will issue if you carry around lots of cash or valuables for work. The problem is of those 17 counties that won’t issue, there are tens of millions of people.

    • True. However, San Francisco is actual “no issue” unless you work for a law enforcement agency (there are four permits issued in the county, two to LEOs and two to “civilian” employees of the Sheriff’s Dept and SFPD. This was actually an improvement. The former sheriff, until his retirement, was proud of his no issue policy.). Marin and Alameda are not even worth applying for unless you are friends with the Sheriff–in fact, the Marin County sheriff brags about his no issue policy. I guess the rich liberals who control politics in that county must approve, because he keeps getting re-elected. I am so happy I live in none of those counties. Other than Yolo County (a rural/agricultural county just north of Sacramento) the north state is virtual shall issue. Yolo County Sheriff Prieto has vowed to take his right to deny permits to the Supreme Court if necessary (Richards v. Prieto is a companion to Peruta v. Gore), although no one knows why he is such a hard ass about the whole thing. Perhaps he believes, as argued by the State in the recent oral arguments i the en banc proceeding in Peruta, that since the only place you can’t open carry is on the roads, streets and highways, leaving 99% of the county an open carry zone, you don’t really “need” to carry concealed. (Yes, it’s bizarre, but it really was argued that way.)

    • Kern County is almost Shall Issue and the sheriff’s department foregoes some of the requirements more restrictive counties insist on, like the in-person interview. The best part is, the permits are good state wide and when I had to go down to LA for doctor’s appointments, I took my Glock 29 with me.

  2. This isn’t accurate at all.

    Connecticut is shall issue by judicial ruling since 1969. They have less misdemeanor disqualifiers than most “shall issue” states.

    Furthermore, you should have visited for stats on Mass.

    Over 90% of LTC’s in Mass are unrestricted.

    Please be more accurate in your reporting. It’s bad enough that anti’s can’t ever get anything correct.


    • Does the Puerto Rican decision apply only to Puerto Rican residents? Or, does it also apply to American citizen/green-card holders touring or sojourning in PR?

  3. “IF you live in Massachusetts and want a concealed carry permit, you better live in the desolate, unpopulated regions of the Berkshires”

    What??? News to me. Pretty much everyone here is issued a “restrictions: none” permit. Funny how perception becomes reality.

    • Exactly, if they spend 3 minutes on they would have seen that.

      While MA is a nightmare, it’s not difficult for people to be issued unrestricted unless you live in a bad town.

      Many police chiefs just issue unrestricted to all applicants. Some claim it reduces liability and some of them just don’t want to be sued.

      • ….bad towns such as Cambridge and cities where you really need it like Springfield. Back in 1997 while living in Haverhill I asked the officer responsible for issuing CCWs what I need to do. He just looked at me and said “you just fu@&ing apply for it”.

        • Even Cambridge, while they do trample on peoples rights. I have met more than a few “nobody’s” that have written a letter to the Chief and/or asked for a meeting to why they wanted unrestricted and it worked.

          Cambridge issues about 50-60% unrestricted.

          The bad towns are Watertown, Springfield, Boston, Brookline, and Canton.

          But plenty of urban towns next to Boston issue unrestricted.

    • IF you live in Massachusetts and want a concealed carry permit, you better live in the desolate, unpopulated regions of the Berkshires. Outside of that, you’re not going to get issued a concealed carry permit.

      Utter nonsense. Many towns in MA are effectively “shall issue,” including the last two in which I’ve resided. One was on Cape Cod (the summer home of Bostonians and the rich and famous) and the other is in on the Rhode Island border. Neither town is within a four hour drive of the Berkshires. And my permit is an unrestricted LTC-A.

      In fact, getting my MA license was easier and cheaper than getting my Nevada permit.

      • Could the people here from Massachusetts kindly speak to the subject of we non-residents getting LTCs there?
        Normally I just look to for info but I can’t see whether it’s likely or not to get one.

        • As a non-resident who has had an out of state licence to carry in MA for about three years now, I’ll be happy to. First of all, MA recognizes no other state licenses, so you need to get one from Ma if you want to carry there. Secondly, the only license available to an out of state resident is the LTC Class A, which means you are legal to conceal carry provided your license has no restrictions. Yes, that’s right, the state can place a restriction or two on your licenses. Say you apply and give the reason that you need it for your job. Well, your license may carry a work only restriction which means you are not legal unless you are actively on the job while carrying in MA.

          Non-residents licenses are all considered “temporary” and are only valid for one year. If you work for an armored car company or have a similar special need, you can get a two year one, but that’s it. Each year you must fill out a form, enclose a bank check (no personal checks accepted) for $100. You will then be assigned an appointment to appear in person at the Firearms Record Bureau in Chelsea, MA for an interview. You must appear in person on the scheduled date and time or no permit for you. The interview consists of verifying the information on your application then taking pictures and fingerprints. Yes, every year you need to return to Chelsea to have your photo and fingerprints taken again. It takes about 3-4 months from the time you submit your application to the interview slot date, then another month or two from then to get your license in the mail. Total time in my experience has been about six months.

          As an out state resident, you do have one benefit over in state residents in that your gun does not have to be on the list of guns approved for sale in MA, however, you are still bound by the magazine cap restrictions (10 rounds) and you can’t bring in weapons that run afoul of MA’s assault weapons law (no threaded barrels, bayonet lugs, etc.).

          The other benefit is that all out of state permits are approved by the Colonel of the MA state police (or his designate) so all applications are considered under a consistent criteria, MA residents are subject to the whims of the local Chief of Police for their town or city which means that some cities are fairly permissive while others such as Boston and Cambridge are highly restrictive. It just depends on your Chief’s position on gun control.

      • I’ll second that. I don’t live anywhere near the Berkshires and I was issued my LTC, no restrictions, without question. Further, open carry is fully supported here.

  4. I realize it’s not official until July 1, but it would have been nice to see Kansas colored blue. It’s more definitive than Arkansas.

    • Add Maine to the “blue” category as well – for both residents and non-residents.

      Will be effective by about October of this year.

  5. It’s a down right crime the way these states put the rights of citizens in a predicament when concerning there safety. Just look at the case with the woman in the peoples republic of new jersey who was waiting to be approved for cc and ended up being killed. The sad thing is, she would most likely be denied.

  6. I realize you have PA in the shall issue category, but, it’s really a may issue state. The issuing sheriff has a lot of latitude when it comes to Title 18 § 6109 (d)(3):

    3) investigate whether the applicant’s character and reputation are such that the applicant will not be likely to act in a manner dangerous to public safety

    How is dangerous defined? Could the sheriff deny an application of a 21 year old due to an underage drinking citation? Yes, they could. Could the application be denied due to a 10 year old disorderly conduct citation? Absolutely. This provision is highly subjective and has been used for many denials of applicants who otherwise would not have been disqualified.

    While PA is really a great state for gun owners, this provision can be total crap and abused by a sheriff with an agenda. In Montgomery County, PA the sheriff makes take a police check card to your local police department which give them the ability deny you a LTCF based on subjective criteria.

    This is really something that needs to be fixed in the PA Uniform Firearms Act.

    • I was in/out of (PA) Buck’s Co’s Sheriff’s office in 14 minutes. What took so long? The permit lady arrived late-to-work that morning. Other than running the PA BC, I can’t imagine they made much of a serious inquiry into my character in that amount of time.

      • Many counties don’t. What’s your sheriff called there? “The Duke of Doylestown”. Many sheriffs are very good to gun owners, but, an election can change that. That section of the UFA gives the issuing sheriff too much discretion to deny with little more than he said/she said rumors.

        My last renewal was also done in about 15 minutes and it was done at the airport substation they opened just to keep people from having to come into the courthouse to do them.

  7. Delaware is an expensive place to get a permit. They also require approval from 5 people in your voting district that attest to ridiculous questions on a form. After posting in a newspaper an announcement no one reads you wait for a paternalistic state to let you carry.
    Unless you are visiting from Florida in which case your good to go. Even delaware residents with fl permits can’t carry

    Thank beau Biden for that new rule

  8. Congrats to you Mass guys, you now know a little bit what it feels like to live in NYS. You know where the whole state is skyscrapers and paved over and nobody I mean nobody can own a gun let alone carry one.

    Except of course the millions and yes that’s millions of gun owners who do. We might even get a moose hunting season soon. What moose in NYS ? how can that be its all concrete, how will I ever track them?

  9. Glad I live in Illinois-just kidding! Anything can happen. I think millions of folks(many with brown skin) realize they are on their own. Perhaps this will derail the hildebeast and her rants…

  10. He forgot Or. At least for out of state people. They are may issue for out of state applicants, and do not recognize any other states permits. This hurts me because I live less then 5 min. from Or.

  11. Representing RI here. Your map sucks. Get your facts straight. RI is shall issue thru local chiefs. May issue thru AG. On this map RI should be 99% yellow with a small slice of orange. Most here don’t bother with AG and go straight to local CLEO. Success rate of obtaining CCW here is roughly about 70%. You admitted in RI paragraph that we are shall issue but still colored orange for restrictive may issue. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot?

    • I agree MDC, as a Cranston resident with a CCP it was a painless process. The interview with the Police Chief was very pleasant.

  12. Wyoming is NOT “unrestricted” unless you live there. Based on what someone else posted earlier, it sounds like that may be the case in Arizona as well. Fortunately both states do recognize a number of out of state permits.

    • If you are in the United States and Arizona legally, barring any criminal record prohibiting it, you can carry concealed or open without any permit.

  13. Concerning the California entry…

    “The state’s constitution does not explicitly guarantee the right to bear arms.”
    I’m afraid you are a bit mistaken.


    SEC. 1. The State of California is an inseparable part of the
    United States of America, and the United States Constitution is the
    supreme law of the land.

    I think that is very explicit. The fact of the matter is that we live in a Democratic Dictatorship. If we could just remove the cancer known as LA and SF, the rest of the state might have a chance to be part of free America. In the meantime we must “Stand and Fight”. Molon Labe!

  14. I think, as other commentators have pointed out, that the facts in this piece are wrong. But they are all moot if you truly read the Second Amednment and the Supreme Court cases that have been adjudicated since 1791. Remember, when the Bill of Rights was ratified, it stated specifically it was to insure a well armed militia. Times have changed. The federal government does have a right to limit gun rights and with the adoption of the 14th Amendment also transfers to the states. Before everyone expounds on the Constitution and how people’s Rights are being infringed upon, it’s probably a good idea to actually read the Constitution and study how it is a living document that was designed to change with the times. Read on about the Second Amendment:

    The Second Amendment (Amendment II) to the United States Constitution protects the right of the people to keep and bear arms and was adopted on December 15, 1791, as part of the first ten amendments contained in the Bill of Rights.[1][2][3][4] The Supreme Court of the United States has ruled that the right belongs to individuals,[5][6] while also ruling that the right is not unlimited and does not prohibit all regulation of either firearms or similar devices.[7] State and local governments are limited to the same extent as the federal government from infringing this right per the incorporation of the Bill of Rights.
    In United States v. Cruikshank (1876), the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that, “The right to bear arms is not granted by the Constitution; neither is it in any manner dependent upon that instrument for its existence” and limited the applicability of the Second Amendment to the federal government.[9] In United States v. Miller (1939), the Supreme Court ruled that the federal government and the states could limit any weapon types not having a “reasonable relationship to the preservation or efficiency of a well regulated militia”.[10][11]

      • The citations are listed in Wikipedia. You can then follow up on the relevant articles and Supreme Court briefs.

    • “The federal government does have a right to limit gun rights and with the adoption of the 14th Amendment also transfers to the states.”

      Amazing, isn’t it! By simple declaration without support by either reasoning or footnotes, Michael has transformed governments’ “just powers” are no longer “derived” from “the consent of the governed”; now they are RIGHTS co-equal to those of the People. “Shall not be infringed” now allows governments to “limit” gun rights.

      What remains unclear from the construction is whether the 14A operates to transfer the governmental “right to limit gun rights” to the States; or, possibly, that the 2A might limit the States to respect the rights of the People to KBA. The latter construction would seem incongruous. That the Federal government has the “right to limit gun rights” but the States must respect them?

      We have a Federal Constitution which enumerates the rights of the People which simultaneously grants “rights” to governments to limit. One wonders if this right-to-limit-rights is peculiar to the 2A or applies to all the Peoples’ rights enumerated in the Constitution. In the latter case, the governments instituted among men may limit the People’s liberty to be free of cruel and unusual punishment or liberty to be free from compulsion to testify against themselves. But, of course, governments can only limit rights of their own People; alien terrorists have natural right against waterboarding.

      • If you are wondering if these rights/Amendments come from the “government ” or the people, both are correct. The people vote on who represents their views in Congress. In the case of Amendments, the President has no vote, no veto power, it’s solely up to the congress to change/alter the constitution. Once an Amendment is put forth it is put back to the states where the representatives duly voted by the electorate will vote. For an amendment to pass it takes 75% of the states to agree. In other words, as our beautifully crafted constitution dictates, any changes to it require the voices of the citizens, the states and the congress. So in adopting the 14th Amednment the people derived the power of the federal and state governments to limit gun rights. As far as other Amendments, the Supreme Court has ruled that you cannot yell FIRE in a crowd. While this is a definite form of free speech under the First Amendment, the safety of the many outweighed the rights of the few and is now the rule of the land. Amendments VI and VIII, are tread upon every day, just read the news recently.
        So in response to whether this is just the Second Amendment being tred upon, it’s not….by a long shot. It’s just that we Second Amendment supporters are better organized and louder.

        • “So in adopting the 14th Amednment the people derived the power of the federal and state governments to limit gun rights. ”

          Amazing; Michael, I congratulate you! You have turned the 14A inside-out. One of the primary motivations of the 14A was to preclude the States from depriving freedmen of their 2A rights. You have – in a single assertion – sans reasoning or footnotes – made that Amendment an extension of power to the Federal and State governments to LIMIT gun rights. I have never seen such a bold-faced fabrication pertaining to the Constitution in my life!

  15. I will never forgive the military for sending me to Hawaii after I swore to defend the Constitution. What a joke.

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