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Gun Control - States' Laws and Requirements for Concealed Carry Permits Vary Across the Nation

NCJ Number
Date Published
July 2012
90 pages
This report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office examines current States' laws and requirements for the issuance of concealed carry permits across the country.
The research by the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) examined current States' laws and requirements dealing with the issuance of concealed carry permits for their citizens. Highlights from the report include the following: as of March 2012, only 1 State and the District of Columbia prohibited their citizens from carrying concealed handguns, down from 7 States and the District of Columbia in 2002; as of March 2012, 39 States that issue permits and the State of Vermont, which does not require any permit, recognized concealed carry permits from other States; of the 9 States that do not recognize other States' permits, 8 of those States are may-issue States; and more concealed carry permits are issued in States with shall-carry laws compared to State with may-issue laws. The research also examined the regulations in nine specific States and found that all nine States have regulations in place to confirm an applicant's continued eligibility to hold a permit, and that eight of the nine States have a process to monitor permit holders' continued eligibility for carrying a concealed handgun. This research was conducted by the GAO at the request of Members of Congress who have introduced legislation requiring each State issuing concealed carry permits to recognize the permits issued by other States. The research examined three areas: 1) the extent to which States allow concealed carry permits, and how select States' eligibility requirements and recognition of other States' permits differ; 2) what processes select States use to help ensure they revoke permits when holders no longer meet eligibility requirements; and 3) how law enforcement officials in select States determine whether permits they encounter are current and valid. Figures, tables, and appendixes