Constitutional Carry is the basic principle that if you are legally eligible to purchase a firearm, you should be able to carry that weapon, open or concealed, for self-defense without government “permission.”

Constitutional Carry laws recognize the right of every law-abiding citizen to carry a firearm, openly or concealed, on their person, without having to receive government permission in the form of a mandatory state-issued permit.

These laws affirm the nature of our individual God-given right to be armed, as codified in the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution which states:

“A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

Constitutional Carry may also be referred to as Freedom to Carry, Permit-less Carry or Vermont Carry.

Constitutional Carry is not “Unrestricted Carry.” It also does not abolish existing permit systems, or their corresponding reciprocity agreements.

Passing a Constitutional Carry bill is a key goal of the National Association for Gun Rights’ State Legislative program. As of June, 2023, 27 states have adopted some form Constitutional Carry, making it is one of hottest pro-gun fights of the last decade.

For more information, make a selection from the Constitutional Carry topic icons to learn more. For questions that are not addressed in these pages, please contact us.

Alabama-21

On March 10, 2022, Gov. Kay Ivey signed HB 272, or the constitutional carry bill, into law. Beginning on January 1, 2023, any law-abiding Alabama resident or other law-abiding citizen (regardless of the state in which he or she resides) who is at least 19 years old or older and legally permitted to carry a firearm will no longer be required to obtain a permit in order to carry a concealed pistol. The bill does not address the age for carry. However, Alabama Rep. Shane Stringer’s office indicated that Alabama Code Section 13A-11-72 prohibits a minor from possessing a firearm unless engaged in a competition, at the range, hunting, etc. under the supervision of an adult. See (f) 1 to 7.

Alaska-21

Concealed carry is legal for anyone at least 21 years of age or older who can legally possess a firearm — a permit is not required. Residents who are seeking to be exempt from background checks when purchasing additional firearms or who want to carry a firearm in other states can obtain a concealed handgun permit to use in states with which Alaska has a reciprocity agreement. Concealed handgun permits are issued by the Alaska State Police and require a firearms training course that has been state-approved. Alaska does not issue permits to non-residents. In terms of reciprocity, since Alaska has permitless carry, any person 21 years of age and older who can legally possess a firearm may carry a concealed firearm on his or her person without a license or permit.

Arizona-21

Anyone at least 21 years old who can legally possess a firearm, may concealed carry a firearm without a permit.

Arkansas-18

Anyone at least 21 years old who can legally possess a firearm, may concealed carry a firearm without a permit.

Florida-21

Open carry is not legal in Florida, except for a few limited exceptions such as when engaged in fishing, camping, lawful hunting or target practice at an indoor range.

Concealed carry is legal for residents with a Florida CWL and for non-residents with a CCW permit from a state that Florida honors. Permitless concealed carry is legal for anyone 21 years old or older and not prohibited by law to carry a firearm. The Florida CWL allows holders of the license to carry not only a handgun but also other weapons such as electronic weapons, tear gas guns, billie clubs and knives. Applicants must be at least 21 years old and have completed a firearms training course, or be a current member of the military or an honorably discharged veteran. CWLs are issued to residents and non-residents. In terms of reciprocity, Florida will only honor resident CCW licenses from states with which Florida has a reciprocity agreement.

On April 3, 2023, Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) signed HB 543 into law, making Florida the 26th constitutional carry state in the U.S. The new law will go into effect on July 1, 2023.

Georgia-21 | 18 military

Open carry is legal in Georgia only with a Georgia Weapons Carry License (WCL) or a concealed carry permit from a state Georgia honors. Some areas are off-limits, including schools and courthouses. Open carry is not addressed in the constitutional carry bill that was signed into law on April 12, 2022.

Concealed carry is legal for residents of Georgia with a WCL, any lawful weapons carrier, and non-residents with a license/permit issued by any other state. There is no firearms training required to obtain a Georgia WCL. You must be at least 21 years old (18 for members of the military) to get a concealed carry license in Georgia. No license is needed to carry a handgun in a person’s home, vehicle, place of business, while fishing or hunting, or unloaded in a case. The city of Kennesaw has a law enacted in 1982 requiring every head of household within city limits to maintain a firearm. In terms of reciprocity, Governor Kemp signed HB 218 into law on April 12, 2022, recognizing firearms licenses from all other states. Holders of licenses that expired during the COVID state of emergency period must apply for a renewal license within 120 days of the expiration date on the face of the license. On April 12, 2022, Gov. Brian Kemp signed SB 319 into law, permitting constitutional carry in Georgia.

Idaho-18

Open carry is legal without a license in Idaho for anyone at least 18 years old who can legally possess a firearm. Some areas are off-limits, including elementary schools and courthouses.

Permitless concealed carry became legal as of March 2020, and allows any U.S. citizen over the age of 18 who can legally possess a firearm or a current member of the armed forces of the United States, to lawfully carry a concealed firearm for self-defense without a license. Idaho offers two types of CWL’s, both of which require the applicant to be at least 18 years old. A CWL covers concealed weapons including any dirk, dirk knife, bowie knife, dagger, pistol, revolver or any other deadly or dangerous weapon. An Enhanced CWL is available for purposes of reciprocity for those who wish to travel out of state. In terms of reciprocity, some states will only accept the enhanced version of Idaho’s license. Idaho issues CWLs to residents and non-residents. Concealed carry licenses require a firearms training course that has been state-approved or experience with a firearm through participation in an organized shooting competition or military service.

Indiana-18

Open carry and concealed carry are legal without a permit. Individuals 18 years old or older not prohibited from carrying or possessing a handgun are no longer required to obtain a license to carry a handgun as of July 1, 2022.

Iowa-21

As of July 1, 2021, Iowa is a permitless carry state for both open carry and concealed carry for anyone at least 21 years old that may lawfully possess a handgun. Iowa will continue to issue Permits to Carry Weapons (PCW), for reciprocity purposes. Per Iowa law, the state resources director is required to promulgate rules prohibiting open carry of handguns in the capitol building, the grounds surrounding the capitol building including state parking lots and parking garages and the state laboratories facility in Ankeny. The minimum age for non-professional permits is 21 years old and 18 years old for professional permits. Concealed carry permits require a firearms training course that has been state-approved. In terms of reciprocity, Iowa recognizes permits from all states and jurisdictions.

Kansas-21

Open and concealed carry are legal without a license in Kansas. Anyone at least 18 years of age and legally entitled to possess a firearm may openly carry a firearm in public without a license or permit. Permitless concealed carry is legal for anyone at least 21 years old that is not prohibited from carrying a firearm. Carry Handgun Licenses (CCHLs) are restricted to residents and members of the military stationed in Kansas. The minimum age to obtain a provisional CCHL is 18 years old and 21 years old to obtain a standard CCHL. Applicants must complete an 8-hour handgun safety and training course approved by the attorney general. In terms of reciprocity, since Kansas has permitless carry, any person 21 years of age and older who can legally possess a firearm may carry a concealed firearm on his or her person without a license or permit. In addition, as of July 1, 2021, all valid concealed carry licenses/permits issued by another jurisdiction are recognized in Kansas for non-residents.

Kentucky-21

Kentucky is now a permitless carry state so concealed carry is legal for anyone at least 21 years old who can legally possess a firearm without a license/permit. Those wanting to conceal carry out-of-state will still need to get a conceal carry license. Kentucky concealed carry licenses are referred to as Concealed Carry of Deadly Weapons (CCDW) licenses, and they apply to not only handguns but also knives, clubs, blackjacks, nunchaku, shuriken and brass knuckles. Successful completion of a firearms training course that has been state-approved is required to obtain a CCDW license. CCDW licenses are available to residents and military personnel stationed in Kentucky. Licenses are not available for non-residents. In terms of reciprocity, Kentucky recognizes all currently valid concealed carry permits issued by other U.S. jurisdictions.

Nebraska-21

Open carry is legal without a permit in Nebraska for anyone at least 18 years of age that is not prohibited from possessing a firearm, although it may be restricted by local governments. For open carry in a vehicle, the firearm must be clearly visible. Some areas are off-limits, including schools. The city of Omaha requires individuals to possess a concealed carry permit to openly carry within the city.

Concealed carry is legal for residents with a Nebraska Concealed Handgun Permit (CHP) and for non-residents with a license/permit from a state Nebraska honors. The minimum age to obtain a CHP is 21 years old. Applicants must also complete a firearms training course. Permits are restricted to residents and military personnel and their spouses stationed in Nebraska. The city of Lincoln prohibits the possession of a firearm by anyone who has been convicted of certain misdemeanors within the last 10 years, including stalking, violation of an order of protection, sexual assault and public indecency. In terms of reciprocity, Nebraska will recognize permits issued by those states which have standards equal to or greater than Nebraska.

On April 25, 2023, Gov. Jim Pillen (R) signed LB 77 into law, making Nebraska the 27th constitutional carry state in the U.S. The new law will go into effect 90 days after the legislative session ends.

New Hampshire-18

Open carry and concealed carry are legal in New Hampshire without a license for anyone at least 18 years of age who can legally possess a firearm. There is no minimum age to carry a firearm, however the federal minimum age is 18 years old. Pistol/Revolver Licenses (PRLs) are issued to residents and non-residents for reciprocity purposes. No fingerprinting or photograph is required for a PRL. New Hampshire law does not require applicants for a license to carry a firearm to undergo firearms safety training or otherwise demonstrate knowledge of firearms safety. In terms of reciprocity, since New Hampshire has permitless carry, any person 18 years of age and older that can legally possess a firearm may carry a concealed firearm without a license or permit.

North Dakota-18

Open carry of handguns is legal for residents with a Concealed Weapon License (CWL) and for non-residents with a valid resident concealed carry license from a state that North Dakota honors. The minimum age is 18. Some areas are off-limits, including bars.

The definition of concealed carry in North Dakota is if the weapon is carried in such a manner as to not be discernible by the ordinary observation of a passerby. There is no requirement that there be absolute invisibility of the firearm or dangerous weapon, merely that it not be ordinarily discernible. The state allows permitless concealed carry for both residents and non-residents, as of August 1st, 2023. Individuals concealed carrying under permitless carry must carry their driver’s license or state ID and MUST inform law enforcement that they are in possession of the firearm upon any in-person contact by a law enforcement officer. Restrictions on places that a firearm may be possessed still apply.

On April 12, 2023, Governor Doug Burgum signed HB 1339, allowing non-residents the ability to concealed carry under North Dakota’s permitless carry laws. It also removed the 30-day requirement for IDs. The new law went into effect on August 1, 2023.

Maine-21

Open and concealed carry are legal in Maine without a permit​. Any person 21 or older, or at least 18 and active duty or honorably discharged military, who can legally possess a firearm, is allowed to carry openly or concealed. In addition, Maine issues permits for reciprocity purposes.

Mississippi-18

Open carry is legal in Mississippi without a permit for anyone at least 18 years of age who can legally possess a firearm with several restrictions, including that the firearm be carried in a holster, sheath or scabbard that is at least partially visible above clothing anywhere where guns are not otherwise prohibited. Some areas are off-limits, including schools and bars.

Concealed carry is legal without a permit for anyone who can legally possess a firearm as long as the handgun is carried in a holster or sheath. Mississippi statutes don’t address the minimum age for permitless concealed carry. For reciprocity reasons, two types of permits are still available at the state level: the Standard Firearms Permit (SFP) and an enhanced version (E-SFP), which allows carry in more locations. A permit applicant must be 21 years old (or at least 18 and a member or the military or a veteran) and either be a resident of Mississippi, a non-resident with a valid permit from another state, active duty member of the military stationed in Mississippi or be a retired law enforcement officer establishing residency in the state. The E-SFP requires a firearms training course offered by an instructor certified by the Mississippi Department of Public Safety. In terms of reciprocity, since Mississippi has permitless carry, any person who can legally possess a firearm may carry a concealed firearm on his or her person without a license or permit.

Missouri-19 | 18 military

Open carry and concealed carry are legal in Missouri without a Concealed Carry Permit (CCP) for anyone 19 years or older who can legally possess a firearm (18 for members of the military or honorably discharged). However, local authorities can restrict concealed carry in any building owned, leased or controlled by the county or municipality and may require a CCP for open carry. Missouri law does not plainly state you don’t need a permit to carry. They changed the definition of “unlawful use of a weapon” to only apply when a person carries a weapon into a place that is off-limits per Missouri law.

Montana-18

Concealed carry is legal without a permit for anyone at least 18 years old that can legally own a firearm in most locations. A permit is required to carry concealed in portions of a building used for state or local government offices and related areas in the building that have been restricted. HB-102 was signed into law on February 18, 2021, and goes into effect immediately. It eliminated many of the prior gun-free zones in the state. See the Location Restrictions section for details. Although Montana doesn’t require firearms safety training, an applicant for a Montana Concealed Weapons Permit (MCWP) must demonstrate “familiarity with a firearm.” Montana does not issue permits to non-residents. Local municipalities can prohibit unpermitted concealed carry in publicly owned and occupied buildings. In terms of reciprocity, Montana recognizes permits from states that require criminal records background checks.

Ohio-21

Open carry and concealed carry are legal without a permit. Individuals 21 years old or older not prohibited from carrying or possessing a handgun are no longer required to obtain a license to carry a concealed handgun as of June 12, 2022. Since open carry is not addressed in state statutes, the Federal minimum age for possession of a handgun of 18 years old applies. Disclaimer: Carrying in vehicles is not addressed in the Constitutional Carry bill. However, according to the Ohio Attorney General, it is legal to possess a loaded firearm in a vehicle.

Oklahoma-21

Open carry is legal without a license, for anyone that can legally own a firearm and is at least 21 years old (or at least 18 years old for members or veterans of the U.S. military) in lawful self-defense and self-protection or any other legitimate purpose such as hunting, fishing, educational or recreational purposes. Some areas are off-limits, including public government buildings.

Oklahoma has permitless carry. It allows anyone who is at least 21 years old (or at least 18 years old and is a member of the military or honorably discharged veteran) that can legally own a firearm to openly or concealed carry without a license. Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation’s Self-Defense Act Licenses (SDAL) are issued to residents and military personnel and their spouses stationed in Oklahoma only. A person must be 21 or older, have completed a firearms course and meet other criteria to apply. There are restrictions on the caliber of the firearm a license holder can carry with, .45 caliber being the highest. Licenses are not available for non-residents. In terms of reciprocity, Oklahoma recognizes permits issued by all other states. In addition, residents of other permitless carry states can carry in the state.

South Dakota-18

Open carry is legal in South Dakota without a permit. The minimum age is 18 years old. Based upon an unofficial 2004 Attorney General Opinion, without a permit, handguns in a vehicle must be in plain sight. Some areas are off-limits, including elementary and secondary schools and school buses.

South Dakota is now a permitless carry state, so anyone at least 18 years old who can legally possess a firearm, may concealed carry a firearm without a concealed carry permit. For reciprocity purposes, the state issues Concealed Pistol Permits (CPP) to residents as well as members of the military and their spouses stationed in South Dakota. There are three permits available: Regular, Gold Card and Enhanced. The regular permit allows holders to carry concealed and is recognized in a number of other states.

The gold card permit, in addition to the benefits of a regular permit, proves passage of the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) when purchasing a firearm, resulting in no required waiting period. The enhanced permit requires a firearms training course, provides the purchase background check exemption and is recognized in seven more states than the regular license. In terms of reciprocity, South Dakota recognizes permits issued by all States.

Tennessee-18

According to John Harris, who also happens to be an attorney, Tennessee is not a constitutional carry state.
He says the 2021 bill signed into law by Gov. Lee created a statutory affirmative defense to a criminal charge of carrying a firearm with the intent to go armed. Harris states that when something is a “defense” or an “exception” to a criminal charge, the burden is on the resident to prove to a law enforcement officer or a jury that his or her conduct satisfies all the conditions in the law. In this instance, it’s Tennessee Code Annotated Section 39-17-1307(g) and (h). The defendant must introduce evidence at trial. And, if found to be credible, Harris says, it will negate criminal liability or civil liability. Alarmingly, as the law stands in Tennessee, an individual carrying a firearm with the intent to go armed has presumptively committed a crime.

Utah-21

As of May 5, 2021, based on Gov. Cox’s signing of HB 60, both open carry and concealed carry of a loaded firearm are legal for anyone at least 21 years old who may lawfully possess a firearm. Utah Concealed Firearm Permits (CFP) will still be offered for individuals interested in reciprocity to carry in other states. Utah CFPs are issued to residents at least 21 years of age or 18 for a provisional permit. Non-residents at least 21 years of age who have a permit from their home state may also apply. Some areas are off-limits, including courthouses and secured areas of airports. Concealed carry permits require a firearms familiarity course that has been certified by the Bureau of Criminal Identification (BCI). In terms of reciprocity, since Utah has permitless carry, any person 21 years of age and older who can legally possess a firearm may carry a concealed firearm on his or her person without a license or permit.

Texas-21

As of Sept. 1, 2021, permitless concealed carry and open carry is legal for anyone at least 21 years old who may lawfully possess a handgun. The new law applies to both open carry in a holster and concealed carry, where no part of the firearm is visible. Texas law is quite specific in that openly carried handguns must be kept in a holster. Texas LTCs are issued to both residents and non-residents who are at least 21 years of age (18 if a member or veteran of the U.S. military). They require a four- to six-hour training course as well as passing both a written exam and a shooting proficiency demonstration. Some areas are off-limits, including racetracks and secure areas of airports. In terms of reciprocity, since Texas allows permitless carry, any person 21 years of age and older who can legally possess a firearm may carry a concealed firearm on his or her person without a license or permit.

Vermont-21

Both open carry and concealed carry are legal without a permit in Vermont. Any person 16 or older (although federal law requires the age to be 18) who can legally possess a firearm is allowed to carry openly or concealed. There is no distinction between resident or non-resident, both are allowed to carry without a permit in Vermont. Therefore, the state does not issue permits.

West Virginia-21

West Virginia is a permitless carry state. Open carry is legal with no requirement to have a license to carry a firearm, provided the person is at least 18 years old and is legally entitled to have a firearm under state and federal law. Some areas are off-limits, including schools and courthouses.

To concealed carry without a license, a person must be a U.S. citizen, or legal resident of the U.S., that is at least 21 years old and is legally entitled to have a firearm under state and federal law. If an 18- to 20-year-old wishes to concealed carry they would require a Provisional Concealed Handgun License (CHL). West Virginia CHLs are issued to residents and members of the military permanently posted in West Virginia. As of July 6, 2021, the State will issue permits to non-residents. CHLs require a firearms training course in handling and firing a handgun. In terms of reciprocity, West Virginia honors all out-of-state concealed carry permits.

Wyoming-21

Open carry is legal without a permit for anyone who is at least 18 years old and legally entitled to carry a firearm.

As of July 1, 2021, permitless concealed carry is legal for any legal resident of the U.S. who is 21 years old or older, and who may lawfully possess a firearm. The minimum age to purchase and possess a handgun is 21 years old — 18 years old for shotguns or rifles. Some areas are off-limits, including schools as well as businesses primarily devoted to the sale and consumption of alcohol. A Wyoming CFP requires a firearms-training course that has been state approved or experience with a firearm through participation in an organized shooting competition or military service. Wyoming does not issue non-resident permits. In terms of reciprocity, Wyoming honors permits from other states that recognize Wyoming permits.