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LEGAL DICTIONARY

Concealed Weapon

What Is a Concealed Weapon?

A concealed weapon is a firearm or other deadly weapon that a person carries in public in a way that is hidden from ordinary view. Although the U.S. Constitution’s Second Amendment ensures “the right of the people to keep and bear arms,” state laws vary on the right to carry concealed deadly weapons without a permit.

What Is a Concealed Weapons Permit?

Every state in the U.S. allows in some way for concealed carry of a handgun, but some states require a permit to carry a loaded, concealed weapon in public. A concealed weapons permit is the legal documentation needed for the applicant’s state to carry a gun in a concealed manner.

The regulations vary widely from state to state, and the issue of concealed carry –like gun control laws and gun sales in general– is a hot-button topic in many states.

Other states allow the open carry of a weapon without a permit but require a license for concealed carry. Many people cite self-defense as the reason for wanting to carry a concealed weapon.

What You Need to Know About Concealed Weapons

Although requirements vary, state gun laws may require concealed weapon carry applicants to pass a criminal background check, complete gun safety training, participate in live-fire exercises, and be a legal resident of the state.

Who can be denied a concealed weapons permit?

Not every application for a concealed weapons permit is granted. Many states give law enforcement the authority to deny permits to the following:

  • People who have been convicted of certain violent crimes and weapons offenses
  • Individuals who pose a safety risk to the public: this includes those with previous arrests for violent acts or harassment
  • People under 21: In 34 states and Washington, D.C., the minimum age to obtain a concealed carry permit is 21.

Where is carrying a concealed weapon restricted?

State gun laws may also restrict someone with a concealed carry permit from carrying a concealed weapon while in specific locations such as:

  • Federal facilities, including federal court buildings, post offices, national parks, IRS offices, military or veterans’ facilities, correctional facilities, Amtrak facilities, Corps of Engineers-controlled property, and others.
  • State and local government facilities, including DMV offices, police stations, correctional facilities, courthouses, polling places, and others.
  • Educational institutions, including elementary and secondary schools and colleges. Some on-campus carry laws vary by state.
  • Professional sporting events
  • Amusement parks, fairs, parades, and carnivals
  • Businesses that sell alcohol
  • Hospitals
  • Houses of worship
  • Municipal mass transit vehicles and facilities
  • Areas of airports beyond security checkpoints
  • Non-government facilities with heightened security measures, such as power plants and production facilities, banks, and factories
  • Aircraft or ships, unless authorized by the pilot or ship captain

Some states allow private businesses to post “Gun Free Zone” signs prohibiting the concealed carry of weapons on their premises. The language and format of these signs also can vary widely by state.

Helpful Resources:

Cornell Law - Concealed Weapon

Department of Public Safety - Concealed Weapons and Permits

Wisconsin Department of Justice - Concealed Carry

USCCA - Home

Everytown Research & Policy - Permitless Carry

Constitution Center - Second Amendment - Right to Bear Arms

What Is a Concealed Weapon?

A concealed weapon is a firearm or other deadly weapon that a person carries in public in a way that is hidden from ordinary view. Although the U.S. Constitution’s Second Amendment ensures “the right of the people to keep and bear arms,” state laws vary on the right to carry concealed deadly weapons without a permit.

What Is a Concealed Weapons Permit?

Every state in the U.S. allows in some way for concealed carry of a handgun, but some states require a permit to carry a loaded, concealed weapon in public. A concealed weapons permit is the legal documentation needed for the applicant’s state to carry a gun in a concealed manner.

The regulations vary widely from state to state, and the issue of concealed carry –like gun control laws and gun sales in general– is a hot-button topic in many states.

Other states allow the open carry of a weapon without a permit but require a license for concealed carry. Many people cite self-defense as the reason for wanting to carry a concealed weapon.

What You Need to Know About Concealed Weapons

Although requirements vary, state gun laws may require concealed weapon carry applicants to pass a criminal background check, complete gun safety training, participate in live-fire exercises, and be a legal resident of the state.

Who can be denied a concealed weapons permit?

Not every application for a concealed weapons permit is granted. Many states give law enforcement the authority to deny permits to the following:

  • People who have been convicted of certain violent crimes and weapons offenses
  • Individuals who pose a safety risk to the public: this includes those with previous arrests for violent acts or harassment
  • People under 21: In 34 states and Washington, D.C., the minimum age to obtain a concealed carry permit is 21.

Where is carrying a concealed weapon restricted?

State gun laws may also restrict someone with a concealed carry permit from carrying a concealed weapon while in specific locations such as:

  • Federal facilities, including federal court buildings, post offices, national parks, IRS offices, military or veterans’ facilities, correctional facilities, Amtrak facilities, Corps of Engineers-controlled property, and others.
  • State and local government facilities, including DMV offices, police stations, correctional facilities, courthouses, polling places, and others.
  • Educational institutions, including elementary and secondary schools and colleges. Some on-campus carry laws vary by state.
  • Professional sporting events
  • Amusement parks, fairs, parades, and carnivals
  • Businesses that sell alcohol
  • Hospitals
  • Houses of worship
  • Municipal mass transit vehicles and facilities
  • Areas of airports beyond security checkpoints
  • Non-government facilities with heightened security measures, such as power plants and production facilities, banks, and factories
  • Aircraft or ships, unless authorized by the pilot or ship captain

Some states allow private businesses to post “Gun Free Zone” signs prohibiting the concealed carry of weapons on their premises. The language and format of these signs also can vary widely by state.

Helpful Resources:

Cornell Law - Concealed Weapon

Department of Public Safety - Concealed Weapons and Permits

Wisconsin Department of Justice - Concealed Carry

USCCA - Home

Everytown Research & Policy - Permitless Carry

Constitution Center - Second Amendment - Right to Bear Arms