What Does Shall Issue Mean?

Shall Issue means that as long as an applicant passes the basic requirements set out by state law, the issuing authority (county sheriff, police department, state police, etc.) is compelled to issue a permit. In other words, local law enforcement officials cannot deny an applicant a permit if the applicant meets all of the criteria. There are currently 41 shall-issue states, including permitless-carry states that issue permits for purposes of reciprocity (allowing residents of their state to carry in other states with favorable reciprocity). Also, there are states that may be identified as shall-issue that, in practice, operate on a may-issue basis.