Things to Know About Conceal Carry in Public Places

While state laws may vary, the number one requirement after you obtain a concealed carry permit is that the firearm must be concealed when worn. But what else do you need to know about carrying in public places?

Conceal Carry in Public Places

Types of Permit Regulations

Nearly every state in the US allows for concealed carry, thanks in part to the Second Amendment, which states that Americans have the right to “keep and bear arms.” However, there are stipulations about granting permits to those who apply. Known as Unrestricted, Shall Issue, May Issue, and No Issue, you can learn more about each below.


Some jurisdictions do not require a permit for one to carry a concealed firearm. If this is the case, it’s often referred to as a constitutional carry regarding the Second Amendment. 

Shall Issue

If an applicant requests a permit to conceal carry, a shall-issue jurisdiction will grant one if all the boxes are checked. 

May Issue

Similar to a shall-issue jurisdiction, one with may-issue laws allows for making a judgment call regarding granting a permit. Even if an applicant meets legal requirements for a concealed carry permit, other factors may be cause for denial. This could include previous trouble with the law, such as domestic violence or abuse of controlled substances.

No Issue

In a no-issue jurisdiction, concealed carry permits will not be issued to any private citizen. Open carry may be allowed, but it is reserved for law enforcement or security personnel in a no-issue state. 

Guidelines for Where You Can Conceal Carry

In the event you do successfully apply for and receive a concealed carry permit, what are the regulations regarding various public places? Did you know there are restrictions, even with a current permit?

Federally designated areas do restrict firearms. This means if you’re visiting a National Park, you may be able to carry on State-owned land, but not on Federally-owned land or in Federally-owned buildings. Here’s a run-down of federal locations and what they allow when it comes to concealed carry:

Concealed Carry Permitted

Bars - It is legal to concealed carry in a bar if you have a permit. If you’re intoxicated, however, it is illegal to be in possession of a firearm. This means if you’re enjoying a vacation and are in an establishment, such as a casino or hotel bar, you are allowed to carry as long as you are not considered over the legal alcohol limit for driving a vehicle.

  • Movie Theaters - Most states permit concealed carry in movie theaters. But, as with any privately owned establishment, you can be asked to leave if there is proper signage prohibiting firearms on the property.

  • Schools - With a valid concealed carry permit, you are allowed to carry a firearm on school property. However, private schools may exercise the right to prohibit concealed carry on their property, even with a permit.

  • Workplaces - Privately owned and operated businesses can permit concealed carry on their property and in their buildings. However, a business can reserve the right to prohibit firearms onsite.

Concealed Carry Prohibited

  • Airports - You may not conceal carry when entering or exiting a sterile area of an airport, which is any part of the airport that controls access to boarding aircraft.

  • Bureau of Land Management - If the state in which the BLM lands exist does not allow for concealed carry, then it is prohibited on BLM land. Regardless of state law, concealed carry is not allowed in any Federal buildings on BLM land.

  • Courthouses and Parking Lots - The signage must specify whether or not a courthouse parking lot is included under federal law. If it’s not posted, you may conceal carry with a permit prior to entering the courthouse.

  • Federal Prisons 

  • Government Offices - Whether rented, leased, or owned by the Government, any offices in which Federal work is conducted prohibits concealed carrying. Additionally, any building that is leased by the Federal government to another entity retains the right to prohibit concealed carry. If other parts of the building are not owned or used by the Federal government, you may have the right to conceal carry if permitted by the state.

  • Indian Reservations - Tribes control whether or not concealed carry is permitted on their land. This may mean you cannot carry on their land, or while on any roads that cross through it. It will need to be determined on a case-by-case basis with tribal authorities.

  • Military Bases - As Federal property, military bases can prohibit concealed carry by visitors. 

  • National Cemeteries

  • National Forests  - States dictate whether or not you can conceal carry in a national forest (park). Check with state law to determine whether or not you can carry on the national parkland. Be aware that you cannot conceal carry in any of the buildings if they’re federally governed.

  • Visitor’s Center

  • Ranger Station

  • Post Offices 

The Most Frequently Asked Question About Concealed Carry 

In recent years, concealed carry permit holders have had to inquire whether or not it’s alright to wear a face-covering while carrying a firearm. It’s easy to see why this is a cause for concern, as no one wants to appear ready to start a problem while carrying a gun.

For example, in Illinois, there is a state statute that says it is illegal for anyone to conceal their identity while carrying a gun. It’s the intent behind the masking that matters, though. If an individual is legally carrying a gun, they are allowed to comply with any executive orders that recommend wearing a face covering for health reasons. 

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, many states had similar laws in place concerning wearing a mask while illegally carrying a firearm. The common distinction to note is that most of these statutes are in reference to illegally possessing a gun, or using a gun to carry out illegal acts. It is not against the law to concealed carry, with a permit, while simultaneously wearing a face covering.

If you’re looking for other ways you can behave as a responsible gun owner, check out this Firearm Ownership 101 article from Wasatch Arms. It reviews four of the most important rules to follow, and suggestions for proper gun storage. Be sure that you are not only family with these guidelines, but anything specific to where you live as well.

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