June 28, 2021

Traveling with your family is something you look forward to for weeks. Unfortunately, in this day and age, it's only natural to worry about their safety. You want to be able to protect them during your trip just like you can at home. 

You might have a permit to carry a concealed weapon in your home state, but does it hold up when you travel? You're not the only gun owner who has this question. The CCW laws are confusing because they differ across state lines, making it difficult for you to know where you can exercise your rights.  

Luckily, we're here to clear things up by sharing everything you need to know about concealed carry state laws. With this information, you can enjoy your vacation, knowing you are protecting your family while remaining a law-abiding citizen.  

Federal CCW Laws 

As a gun owner who plans on traveling, you should be aware of the Firearms Owners’ Protection Act (FOPA). This federal law contains a provision that permits you to transport your firearms across state lines. To receive protection under this law, you must be able to lawfully possess a firearm and store it unloaded, locked, and out of reach within your vehicle. 

While the FOPA is a crucial piece of legislation, it only allows you to transport firearms across state lines. It does NOT guarantee your right to conceal carry. 

Concealed carry state laws vary by region, so it's essential to determine if your permit will apply in the state you're visiting. See the next section to learn more about checking a state's CCW laws. 

State CCW Laws 

All fifty states have their own concealed carry state laws. To make things more confusing, the area you're traveling to might recognize a permit from one state but not another. 

The best way to ensure you comply with the law is by using this useful tool from the NRA. In the “SELECT MAP” drop-down menu, choose “This state recognizes these states' concealed carry permits.” Scroll down to the map and hover over the state where you're traveling, as well as the states you'll be crossing on your journey. If your home state appears in red, it means the state recognizes your permit. You can learn more about any restrictions by clicking on the state's icon. 

While you should use the NRA tool before going on your trip, it can be helpful to have some general knowledge of which areas do/do not allow non-residents to carry concealed. See below for an overview: 

States That Allow Permitless Carry 

Here's a list of areas that allow non-residents to carry concealed without a permit (AKA constitutional carry, permitless carry, or unrestricted). We indicated any restrictions, such as age limits, in parentheses.

Remember that when you are traveling to one of these areas, you don't have to worry about whether it recognizes your CWW permit as it allows permitless carry. 

States That Recognize Out-of-State CCW Permits 

When you live in one of the areas we mentioned above, it might seem like there is little incentive to get a CCW permit. The most compelling reason to get one is so that you can carry your weapon concealed in other states. 

However, not all jurisdictions will honor your state's permit. For instance, consider Texas. If we use the NRA's tool, we can see that Texas recognizes most state permits. But, it does not honor permits from Oregon, Minnesota, or Wisconsin. The reason may be that the areas' local gun laws are different. Regardless, your Oregon, Minnesota, or Wisconsin permit would not allow you to conceal carry in Texas. 

Let's consider another example. You have a CCW permit in Florida and are traveling to visit family in Utah. In Florida, your permit allows you to carry a wide range of weapons, including electric weapons, knives, tear gas guns, etc. When you travel to Utah, however, you are only allowed to carry handguns. 

Exceptions like these are essential to know before hitting the road. So, be sure to research state-specific concealed carry laws to ensure you and your family have a fun, safe trip. 

States That Don't Recognize Out-of-State CCW Permits 

Some areas won't honor any out-of-state CCW permit. A list of these areas is as follows: 

Note that there are ways for non-residents to conceal carry in these areas legally. 

Let's say you plan on staying in a vacation home in Massachusetts over the summer. Because this state does not recognize any out-of-state permits, you need to apply for a non-resident license. This documentation will allow you to legally carry concealed throughout the summer. 

However, particular areas make it very difficult (if not impossible) for non-residents to carry a concealed weapon. For instance, consider Hawaii. Hawaii does not recognize constitutional carry, nor does it issue non-resident licenses.

Concealed Carry State Laws — The Bottom Line 

Whether you're traveling for work or with your family, you deserve to know where you can carry. Our guide should help you better understand CCW state laws and how your permit holds up in other jurisdictions. 

Next time you plan a trip, be sure to keep this guide handy. It will help you prepare so that you can have a fun, stress-free getaway. 

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