Alert: Many states still have quarantine requirements. Check all state and local laws before traveling.
Travel season is quickly approaching, but before you pack up the car and hit the road with your handgun, let’s talk about what you need to know before you travel across state lines.
What is Reciprocity?
Reciprocity is when one state enters into an agreement with another state or chooses to honor another state’s laws or set of laws. As it pertains to handgun license and permit holders, there are several states which have reciprocity agreements that recognize out-of-state carry licenses and permits.
In general, if the state you are traveling to shares reciprocity with the state that issued your license or permit, you can carry there as if it were a license or permit issued by the destination state. States are not required to have reciprocity with one another, and there is no requirement to recognize another state’s carry license. Many states issue their own licenses but refuse to acknowledge licenses and permits from other states. Conversely, some states choose to recognize all other states’ carry licenses.
But what is the general rule if a state recognizes your state’s license or permit to carry?
If the issuing state for your license or permit shares reciprocity with another state, you can carry in the reciprocating state under that state’s laws.
A Word of Caution
While you may be permitted to carry in the reciprocating state, the rules you are accustomed to in your issuing state may not apply. In some instances, the laws may be completely different. Signage is particularly troubling since it varies widely by jurisdiction, so be highly aware when entering any building while carrying. This is especially true when entering an area that serves a specific purpose, such as government buildings, schools, establishments that serve alcohol, or places that cater to children and families.
Additionally, the way you can carry may change depending on the state. For example, Texas license holders may openly carry their handgun in a belt or shoulder holster, but may not do so in Florida, which prohibits open carry. Some states also restrict the type of firearms you can carry or magazine capacity. Oklahoma does not allow the carry of handguns with a caliber larger than .45, and Colorado does not allow magazines with a capacity greater than 15 rounds.
What Happens if a State Doesn’t Recognize a Person’s License or Permit to Carry?
If you find yourself in a state that does not recognize your home state’s license or permit to carry a handgun, use extreme caution. In fact, there may even be restrictions on carrying in your vehicle. So, until you learn the law, keep your gun in your vehicle unloaded, locked, and inaccessible. But the best practice is to check ahead of time before your journey. You’ll want to make sure the state you’re traveling to allows you to possess a firearm.
For more information about reciprocity and carrying your firearm across state lines, contact U.S. LawShield and ask to speak to your Independent Program Attorney.
Best case for either 50 state (plus DC) and uniformity of carry laws I’ve seen. Or simply just universal Constitutional Carry – little likelihood of inadvertently breaking some obscure law.
Good info but why not list each state and which states will honor that state’s permit.
I myself would like to know which States honor CCW, or how one goes about obtaining this information.
Why would it not be a part of the training or when a person signs up for Law Shield?
Going to travel to Malvern Ark. Do they have conceal carry? Will it be legal to have in my vehicle?
The NRA website has a list of states that honor other states’ concealed carry licenses.
“While you may be permitted to carry in the reciprocating state, the rules you are accustomed to in your issuing state may not apply. In some instances, the laws may be completely different.”
Is there a resource available that will give each states different rules in plain language, or is one stuck going to various state websites and having to go over all the laws and legalese to try and figure it out. A daunting task, especially if crossing multiple state lines and municipalities.
USA Carry has an online reciprocity map – updated in March, I believe.
There is an anually updated booklet put out by a constitutional attorney in Covington Kentucky called: TRAVELLER’S GUIDE TO THE GUN LAWS OF THE 50 STATES. Cost $14.95. It lists the pertinent information including: open & concealed carry; reciprocity; vehicle carry; restrictions, etc. ALSO- on the top of EACH STATES’ page there is a rating from 0-100. Zero means NO FREEDOM, while 100 means TOTAL FREEDOM. At a glance before reading the text one can get a good idea what a particular state is like ref. 2nd Amendment freedom. For example – California’s rating is 14, while Arizona’s is 98. Iv’e gotten it for the past 6 years and have found it the BEST REFERENCE EVER!
Hello all. HANDGUNLAW.US is a good resource to check for each state’s gun laws. They all vary and we, as responsible gun owners, must take it upon ourselves to know them before traveling. Ignorance of the law is never a good excuse. Also, if you call the non-emergency phone number on your USLAWSHIELD membership card you will be connected with or contacted by an attorney in any state to answer any questions you may have regarding carry laws. Hope this helps
When I traveled from IL through Indiana, and into Michigan I merely called U.S. & Texas Law Shield before leaving and they emailed me the CCL details for all three states. It was an easy read and immediate delivery. Note, it was also the most current information.
I have had guns in the trunk before – locked and unloaded – and have looked on that as “Transporting.” This day and age, is that a valid premise?