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The Best Concealed Carry States in 2013

by G&A Online Editors   |  October 24th, 2013 112

Best States for Concealed Carry in 2013

2014 UPDATE: See The Best States for Concealed Carry 2014 

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Best States for Concealed Carry 2014

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After ranking the Best States for Gun Owners in 2013, we’re back to rank the Best Concealed Carry States for 2013.

Since federal law specifically addressing the issuance of concealed carry licenses does not yet exist in the U.S., individual states are left with the task of regulating concealed carry laws within their own borders.

Over the past few decades, most states in the country have gradually shifted their carry laws to become less restrictive. Despite fewer restrictions, legally carrying a concealed firearm remains vastly different from one state to another—and in some cases, one town to another. The diversity of laws naturally creates ambiguity around the entire topic of concealed carry legislation.

Aside from background checks, training requirements and application fees, states are generally classified into one of four categories based on how they issue licenses.

Permitless/Unrestricted – Also commonly known as “Constitutional Carry,” individuals can carry a concealed firearm without obtaining a license or permit.
Shall-Issue – Permits are required to carry a concealed handgun, but the granting authority has no discretion over the issuance of permits. The granting authority shall issue a permit if an applicant meets distinct criteria in the law.
May-Issue – The granting authority may issue a permit at their discretion, and usually require “good cause” or a “significant reason” to carry a firearm.
No-Issue/Restricted – Individuals cannot obtain a license to legally carry a concealed firearm.

Shall-Issue is the most common method of issuance, with 38 states issuing licenses without discretion as long as an applicant meets distinct criteria in the law. States with unrestricted concealed carry—other than Vermont—also issue permits on a Shall-Issue basis so individuals can travel out of state, and still legally carry a concealed firearm in states with reciprocal agreements.

We set out to objectively rank the Best States for Concealed Carry based on measurable criteria. Outside the data we measured are several other factors that are difficult to quantify—such as transport laws and places restricted from carry. Keep in mind we are specifically focusing on concealed carry rather than open carry. Just like our “Best States for Gun Owners in 2013,” no state earned a perfect score.

To determine the best concealed carry states in 2013, we examined the following criteria and assigned numerical values to each category for a maximum of 100 points.

Permit Issuance:States were awarded up to 25 points based on their method of issuance.
Permitless/Unrestricted = 25 Points
Shall-Issue = 20 points
May-Issue = 5 points
No-Issue/Restricted = 0 points.

Reciprocity: The number of states honored in the issuing state were counted and assigned a maximum of 10 points. Next, the number of states where the issuing state’s permit is honored were counted and assigned a maximum of 10 points. The two totals were then added together for a maximum of 20 points.

Number of Permits Honored in the Issuing State

0 States = 0 Points 1-10 States = 2 Points 11-20 States = 4 Points
21-30 States = 6 Points 31-40 States = 8 Points 41-50 States = 10 Points

Number of States Where the Issuing State’s Permit is Honored

0 States = 0 Points 1-10 States = 2 Points 11-20 States = 4 Points
21-30 States = 6 Points 31-40 States = 8 Points 41-50 States = 10 Points

Training Time: Training time was scored based on the minimum number of statutory training hours required, for a maximum of 10 points. States with unrestricted carry automatically earned the maximum number of points.

0 Hours = 10 Points 1-3 Hours = 9 points 4-6 Hours = 8 points
7-9 Hours = 7 points 10-12 Hours = 6 points 13-15 Hours = 5 points
16+ Hours = 0 points

Application Fee: Application fees were scored with a maximum of 10 points based on the statutory cost paid by civilians to their state of residence in order to obtain the permit. Fees were not scored based on renewal or out-of-state permit costs, military/law enforcement/veteran rates or senior citizen discounts. Fees also do not include the cost of any necessary training course(s). States with unrestricted carry automatically earned the maximum number of points.

$0-$25 = 10 points $26-50 = 8 points $51-75 = 6 points
$76-100 = 4 points $101-150 = 2 points $150+ = 0 points

Stand Your Ground/Castle Doctrine: States’ scores were determined based on how strong their law is regarding self-defense in and out of the home, and whether you’re immune from civil prosecution in a self-defense situation. Maximum of 10 points.

Best States for Gun Owners in 2013: To best determine how generally gun friendly the state is, each was awarded up to 10 points based on their overall rank in the Best States for Gun Owners in 2013.

Ranks 1-10 = 10 points Ranks 11-20 = 8 points Ranks 21-30 = 6 points
Ranks 31-40 = 4 points Ranks 41-50 = 2 points

Duty to Inform: States were awarded points based on whether or not individuals who are legally carrying are required to immediately inform a law enforcement/peace officers they are carrying a gun upon initial contact.
5 Points = Not required to immediately inform a law enforcement officer.
0 Points = Required to immediately inform a law enforcement officer.

Pre-Emption of Home-Rule:  States were awarded points if state laws pre-empt local governing bodies from crafting their own legislation regarding concealed carry. In most states, pre-emption does not include local laws regarding the discharge of firearms within city limits.
5 Points = State laws pre-empt local governing bodies from crafting their own laws.
0 Points = Local governing bodies can make their own laws and are not subject to state pre-emption.

Permit Issued to Non-Residents: States earned points based on their method of issuance to non-residents.
5 Points = Permits are issued on a Shall-Issue basis to non-residents.
2 Points = Permits are issued on a May-Issue basis to non-residents.
0 Points = Permits are not issued to non-residents.

Find out where your state ranks compared to the rest of the country, and be sure to enter the debate.

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