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What Is the Difference Between May-Issue, Shall-Issue and Constitutional Carry?


If you have a concealed carry permit for your state, you’ve probably gone through some kind of application process. While the process can vary widely by state, the issuance of permits falls into three main categories: may-issue, shall-issue and constitutional carry. Firearms attorney Tom Grieve breaks them down for you in this week’s “Ask an Attorney.”

What’s the Difference Between May-Issue, Shall-Issue and Constitutional Carry States?

May-issue states have discretion in handing out concealed weapons permits. If you live in one of these states and meet all of the requirements — background check, training, etc. — you may be given a permit … or you may not. Despite this contingency, many may-issues states make getting a concealed carry permit pretty straightforward.

In a shall-issue state, if you meet all of the requirements, you shall be given a license. While this is typically easier than in a may-issue state, it still involves an application process and wait time.

In a constitutional carry state, there is no permit (or at least one isn’t mandatory). There may still be a permit available for reciprocity’s sake though.

About Tom Grieve

Tom Grieve is a highly awarded former state prosecutor. He started Grieve Law, LLC, now one of the most successful criminal-defense law firms in Wisconsin. He is a respected top criminal-defense lawyer in the state and has a deep knowledge of Wisconsin firearms law. Tom has gone above and beyond and has also received his certification as a firearms instructor. He participates as a regular speaker and panelist with the USCCA for live broadcasts, training videos and national expos and even serves as a speaker and analyst on numerous radio and TV stations and college and law school campuses.

The information contained on this website is provided as a service to USCCA, Inc. Members and the concealed carry community and does not constitute legal advice. Although we attempt to address all areas of concealed carry laws in all states, we make no claims, representations, warranties, promises or guarantees as to the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information disclosed. Legal advice must always be tailored to the individual facts and circumstances of each individual case. Laws are constantly changing, and, as such, nothing contained on this website should be used as a substitute for the advice of a lawyer for a specific case.


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