Most states permit the carrying of a concealed weapon by a resident who has been granted a permit to do so. Two states, Alaska and Vermont, allow residents to carry a concealed weapon without obtaining a permit. According to the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence Report Card for 2004, Illinois, Kansas, Nebraska, and Wisconsin completely prohibit the carrying of concealed weapons. Nonresident travelers should check with appropriate governmental departments before traveling to another jurisidiction with a concealed weapon; concealed weapons laws are often different for nonresidents than they are for residents.
States that permit the carrying of concealed weapons are classified as either “shall issue” or “may issue.” In a “shall issue” jurisdiction, authorities are required to issue a permit to carry a concealed weapon to anyone who meets statutory requirements. In a “may issue” jurisdiction, authorities are granted discretion and may require that an applicant show a demonstrable need to carry a concealed weapon.
It is important to check with local authorities a complete listing of restrictions on carrying concealed weapons in a particular state. Many states restrict carrying in bars, restaurants (where alcohol is served), establishments where packaged alcohol is sold, schools, colleges, universities, churches, parks, sporting events, correctional facilities, courthouses, federal and state government offices/buildings, banks, airport terminals, police stations, polling places, any posted private property restricting the carrying of concealed firearms, etc. In addition to state restrictions, federal law prohibits carrying on military bases, in national parks and in the sterile area of airports. National forests usually follow laws of the states in which they are located.