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There are now eight states in America where no permit is required in order to carry a concealed handgun for self-defense. They are: Alaska, Arizona, Kansas, Maine, Vermont, Wyoming, and most recenlty West Virginia. Please note that there are still various rules that need to be learned and followed in order to comply with laws in all jurisdictions.  What follows is a brief summary of the key points in the current laws by state.

Alaska: The Alaska Department of Public Safety explains the state’s concealed carry law this way, “Alaska’s laws do not prohibit anyone 21 or older who may legally possess a firearm from carrying it concealed. A special permit is not required.” Alaska does have certain prohibitions as to where a concealed carry firearm cannot be possessed. These prohibitions include bars but differentiate between restaurants that serve alcohol and actual bars. The prohibitions also include private property where permission to carry is specifically denied.

Arizona: Arizona’s carry laws are very similar to Alaska’s. If you are 21-year-old or older and are not barred from gun possession then you can legally carry a concealed handgun for self-defense without a permit. There are restrictions, one of which is a prohibition on carrying into “businesses serving alcohol for consumption on the premises.” You can carry in a such a business if you have an Arizona concealed carry permit, but such locations are off limits otherwise.

Kansas: Permitless concealed-carry became the law of the land in Kansas on July 1, 2015. Since that time the Kansas Attorney General’s website informs, “A Concealed Carry Handgun license from Kansas or any other jurisdiction is no longer required in order to carry concealed firearms in Kansas for most individuals. So long as the person is 21 or older and lawful to possess firearms.” 

Maine: Permitless concealed-carry became the law of the land in Maine on October 15, 2015. The state website reveals: “Concealed carry without a permit is limited to people who are 21 or older, with the following exception: If a person is 18 years of age or older, and is on active duty in the Armed Forces of the United States or the National Guard, or has been honorably discharged from the Armed Forces or the National Guard, and is not otherwise prohibited from carrying a firearm, the person may carry a concealed handgun. ”

Montana: According to the Montana Department of Justice, “You may carry a concealed weapon without a permit if you are outside the official boundaries of a city or town or the confines of a logging, lumbering, mining or railroad camp.” However, carrying a concealed weapon without a license is not permitted in municipal areas.

Vermont: Carrying a concealed handgun for self-defense without a permit is lawful in Vermont. According to information provided by the National Rifle Association Institute for Legislative Action (NRA-ILA), “It is lawful to carry a firearm openly or concealed provided the firearm is not carried with the intent or avowed purpose of injuring a fellow man. It is unlawful to carry a firearm within any state institution or upon the grounds or lands owned or leased by such institution.” As with other states that recognize permitless carry, there are restrictions on where a concealed handgun can be carried–including schools, courthouses, etc.

Wyoming: It became lawful for Wyoming residents to carry a concealed handgun without a permit in 2011. But Wyoming has a number of restrictions differentiating between concealed carry requirements for residents and non-residents, and everyone who plans to carry in Wyoming should familiarize themselves with those restrictions prior to carrying.

West Virginia: The West Virginia House and Senate just overrode Governor Earl Ray Tomblin’s (D) veto of House Bill 4145, sponsored by Delegate Saira Blair (R-Martinsburg). This means the Second Amendment will soon be recognized as sufficient to pemit legal carry for West Virginia residents 21-years old and older. HB 4145 also lowers to 18 the age for acquiring a concealed carry permit, so that persons 18 to 20 years old can get a permit in order to carry a gun for self-defense prior to turning 21.

Additional Resources and information can be found at the following links:

Alaska Department of Public Safety

Arizona Department of Public Safety

Kansas Attorney General

State of Maine Website

Montana Department of Justice

Vermont State Profile from NRA-ILA

Concealed Weapons Permitting in Wyoming

The new law in West Virginia has yet to provide detailed information. Please stay informed by following the news and your state government official web site for updates.