(CNSNews.com) – The number of states issuing concealed carry permits has increased by 10 in the past 10 years, according to a report issued by the U.S. Government Accountability Office on July 17.
The number of shall-issue states increased from 29 in June 2002 to 39 by March 2012, and the number of states that do not require a permit to carry a concealed weapon increased from one in June 2002 to four in March 2012. The number of may-issue states dropped, however, from 13 in 2002 to 10 in 2012.
In the 2012 breakdown of concealed carry gun permits, the GAO counts four states – Alaska, Arizona, Rhode Island, and Wyoming - in two categories, “so the total number of states and the District of Columbia adds to 55 in this analysis,” the GAO explained.
“Alaska, Arizona, and Wyoming do not require permits but are considered shall-issue, and Rhode Island provides may- and shall-issue authority,” the report said.
“Rhode Island law provides for two mechanisms for obtaining a permit: the Rhode Island Attorney General has ‘may-issue’ authority to issue permits under R.I. Gen. Laws 11-47-18, and cities and towns have ‘shall-issue’ authority, with limited discretion, to issue a permit under R.I. Gen. Laws 11-47-11,” the GAO added.
May-issue means the state “applies discretion in granting permits to carry concealed handguns. Shall-issue means that “issuing authorities are required to issue a permit to an applicant that fulfills the objective statutory criteria if no statutory reason for denial exists.”
The number of states that do not issue concealed carry permits has dropped from seven and the District of Columbia in June 2002 to one and the District of Columbia in March 2012.
No-issue states do not allow residents or nonresidents to carry concealed handguns, and permit not required states do not require a permit to carry a concealed handgun.
In 2002, New Mexico, Kansas, Nebraska, Missouri, Illinois, and Wisconsin were no-issue states, along with the District of Columbia. In 2012, New Mexico, Kansas, Nebraska, Missouri, and Wisconsin changed to shall-issue states. Illinois and the District of Columbia are no-issue states when it comes to concealed carry and do not recognize other states’ permits.
In 2002, Vermont was the only state that did not require a permit to carry a concealed weapon. By 2012, Alaska, Arizona and Wyoming joined Vermont in not requiring residents to obtain a permit to carry a concealed handgun.
“As of March 2012, 39 of the 48 states that issue permits and Vermont allow concealed carry, and recognize permits from other states,” the GAO wrote.
“Of the 48 states that issue permits, 22 states’ laws allow for authorities to issue only to residents of their state, while 26 allow for issuance to both residents and nonresidents. State laws allow issuing authorities to issue permits to nonresidents in 10 of these 26 states on a limited basis,” the GAO wrote.
“For example, the issuing authorities in California may issue permits to nonresidents whose principal place of employment or business is within the state,” the GAO added.
The GAO found that seven states recognize permits issued in one to 19 states; 17 states recognize permits issued in 20 to 39 states, and 15 states recognize permits issued in 40 or more states – of these, 13 states recognize permits issued in all 47 other states that issue permits.
The other nine states that issue permits do not recognize permits issued from other states – eight of which are may-issue states.
“Currently, permit holders who want to carry concealed during their travel to or through other states must know which states will recognize their permits or else they must obtain a nonresident permit in the state they are traveling to or through,” the GAO wrote.
“This can be challenging since state laws change regularly and permit holders may not always be aware of the most recent changes, though state websites post information on whose permits they honor,” it wrote.
“For example, because of a recent change in Louisiana’s reciprocity laws, while Louisiana recognizes nonresident permits issued in other states, Louisiana residents can no longer use a nonresident permit from another state to carry a concealed weapon in Louisiana,” the GAO added.