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Carrying a Concealed Weapon: What Is Considered Concealed?

by Mirha

Over the last decade or so, a number of states passed stand your ground laws that allow people to exercise force in their own defense. While most self-defense instruction, including gun education, recommend force as a last resort, the laws sparked some interest in concealed carry options.

As with most gun regulations, states retain considerable control over permits and licensing relating to carrying a concealed weapon. Not clear on what concealed carry means or how once goes about even qualifying for it. Keep reading.

We’ll offer a brief overview of concealed carry and some of the more common steps you must take to qualify.

What Is Concealed Carry?

Broadly speaking, concealed carry means you have a weapon on your person that is not obvious to people around you. The most common example is a handgun which you might carry in a shoulder holster beneath a jacket. The term concealed carry can technically apply to other weapons.

Also, bear in mind that each state can apply its own definition to what the term concealed carry means. So, while keeping a handgun in a shoulder holster beneath a jacket might meet the definition in one state, it might not in other states.

Permits and Licenses

Most states require that residents wishing to conceal carry must must obtain a pistol permit, a concealed handgun license, or carry permit. The terminology varies. This typically requires that you go through a process that can include:

  • Handgun safety training course
  • Criminal background check
  • Mental competency check

Most of the paperwork typically goes through a local government agency office, such as a sheriff’s office. Some states hand that duty over to a state agency or even require approval from the Department of Homeland Security.

A small handful of states allow concealed carry for anyone legally entitled to own a firearm.

Limitations

Even with a concealed carry permit or license, most states impose limitations on where you may carry the firearm. In general, you cannot take concealed weapons into courts and other government buildings. School zones are also often restricted.

States often permit stores and restaurants to decide for themselves whether they will allow concealed weapons on the premises.

You may also possess a legal duty to inform a law enforcement officer that you are carrying a concealed weapon and that you have a permit or license to do so. Failure to inform can result in a criminal charge in locations with that obligation.

Carrying a Concealed Weapon and You

Carrying a concealed weapon has its purpose for some people. It’s a complex legal issue because states vary so much in their regulations and requirements for it.

You should check with a member of local law enforcement about what, if any, permit or license you need for concealed carry. They can typically direct you to the appropriate paperwork or agency to handle that matter.

Interested in other information or laws that may affect your or your right to carry. Check out the posts in our news section.

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