What does it solve?
It is legal to carry a concealed handgun in public in all 50 states. A substantial majority of states require a person to have a permit to carry a loaded, concealed handgun in public. States should not allow the carry of concealed guns in public without one.
Although standards and processes vary, permits ensure that certain core public safety standards are maintained, such as requiring that a person has passed a background check and completed firearm safety training before carrying a concealed gun in public. Many states also authorize permit issuers to deny permits to people who pose a danger to the public. These laws promote responsible gun ownership and ensure fundamental public safety standards are preserved when people carry concealed guns in public places.
For over a century, states have recognized the public safety benefits of requiring a permit to carry concealed guns. Yet over the last decade, the gun lobby has been pushing legislation to allow people to carry concealed guns in public places without a permit, background check, or safety training, dismantling the system of responsible gun ownership. Some states have passed laws loosening their permitting standards, and a handful of states have completely eliminated their concealed carry permit requirement. Permitless carry laws lower the bar for who may carry hidden handguns in public and allow untrained and unvetted people to carry concealed guns in parks, shopping malls, crowded town centers, and other public places.
How many states allow permitless carry?
The majority of states promote responsible gun ownership by requiring permits to carry concealed guns in public. 20 states allow permitless carry.
Last updated: 4.7.2021
Myth & Fact
How it works
Ensuring that only responsible gun owners can carry concealed guns in public.
Concealed carry permitting systems typically require training to carry firearms responsibly in public. Permitless carry laws strip away this critical safety component. Most states currently require a firearm safety course before a person can get a permit to carry a concealed handgun—many that require training that involves the live firing of a gun. This training ensures that permit holders are aware of responsible practices for handling and carrying guns in public.
Concealed carry permitting systems generally require a background check and set standards for who is too dangerous or irresponsible for a permit, ensuring that only responsible gun owners can carry concealed guns in public. Permitless carry laws and legislation remove these safeguards and often allow carry by irresponsible and dangerous people, such as violent criminals and weapons offenders, people who pose a safety risk, and teenagers.
Permitless carry legislation is part of the NRA’s broader agenda to weaken and repeal important gun safety measures, allowing more guns in public and undermining public safety. Emerging data shows that states that have passed permitless carry legislation are experiencing a substantial increase in gun violence.
By the numbers
88 percent of Americans think you should get a permit before carrying a concealed gun in public.
States that provided law enforcement authority to issue carry permits saw 11 percent lower homicide rates compared to states that did not provide that authority.