Question: What is a “Shall Issue” vs. a “May Issue” State with respect to concealed carry?
Answer: If you are looking into concealed carry permits you may find yourself coming across several different terms that you either where not aware of or just don’t quite understand. One of these terms that tends to be a bit more difficult for some to grasp is whether or not the state you reside in is a “Shall Issue” or “May Issue” State.
What is the difference?
The difference is quite simple. In a “Shall Issue” state, as long as you follow a set of rules dictated by state law (for example, “Must be 21 and older”, “Pass criminal background check” etc.) the state SHALL issue you a concealed weapons permit. It should be noted that each state has different requirements when it comes to obtaining your permit, and these requirements can generally be found on your local law enforcement entities website.
A “May Issue” state is different in only one way. You must follow the same set of rules mentioned earlier (dictated by each specific state) but you also have to provide a reason as to why you want a permit, which may be anything from personal safety, to home defense, sport, or whatever other reason you may have. However, if your reason is deemed inappropriate or unnecessary by the entity you are applying with (County sheriff for example) then they can deny your request. You MAY or MAY not obtain a permit.
The good news is, according to the United States Concealed Carry Association, in the past 20 years “Shall Issue” states have grown from only 9, to 41. The trend is obviously progressing in favor of Second Amendment freedoms.
Be Prepared. Stay Vigilant. Remember that YOU are your first line of defense.