Obtaining a Concealed Weapons Permit
If you are interested in carrying a concealed handgun or other weapon in public, either on one’s person or in close proximity to others, you must obtain a concealed weapons permit. Although most people think of guns when they hear about carrying a concealed weapon (CCW), the weapon doesn’t have to be lethal. For instance, pepper spray in volume of more than 2oz. requires a concealed weapons permit in Florida. Though anyone may legally carry a smaller self-defense device hidden on their person without a concealed weapons permit.
In Texas, residents and non-residents may be issued a concealed weapons permit, which is not the case in every state. There is not a federal law specifically addressing the issuance of concealed carry permits, but all 50 states have passed laws allowing citizens to carry certain concealed firearms in public, either without a permit or after obtaining a permit from local government and/or law enforcement.
There are 4 state-regulated categories regarding the issuance of permits:
Unrestricted Concealed Carry
Unrestricted means the citizen does not need a permit to carry a concealed handgun. This is sometimes called constitutional carry. Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Rural areas of Idaho, Montana outside of city limits, New Mexico in vehicles, Vermont, and Wyoming residents are the included states in this category.
Shall-Issue Concealed Carry
Shall-Issue requires a permit to carry a concealed weapon, but where the granting of such permits is subject only to meeting certain criteria laid out in the law. Typical requirements include residency, minimum age, fingerprinting, passing a background check, attending a safety class, and others. Most states, including Texas, are part of this category.
May-Issue Concealed Carry
May-Issue requires a permit to carry, and the granting of such permits is partially at the discretion of the local authorities. It’s different from shall-issue in that the burden for proof for justifying the need of a permit rests with the applicant, and not necessarily the authority. States in this category are California, Connecticut, Delaware, Guam, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Puerto Rico, and Rhode Island.
No-Issue Concealed Carry
The last category is No-Issue. This means that only with very limited exceptions, no one is permitted to carry a concealed handgun or weapon in public. American Samoa, District of Columbia, and the United States Virgin Islands are some on the no-issue list.