Whether an individual is permitted to carry a concealed firearm is a matter traditionally regulated by the states. State laws vary with respect to eligibility requirements to obtain a concealed carry permit (CCP). A majority of states, known as “shall-issue” jurisdictions, require the issuing authority to issue a CCP to an applicant so long as he or she meets certain statutory requirements. Another handful of states, known as “may-issue” jurisdictions, grant the issuing authority discretion to issue a CCP upon a finding of proper cause, or upon the applicant demonstrating good character. States decide which out-of-state CCPs to recognize, typically through the use of reciprocity agreements.
Although Congress has enacted federal firearm laws that govern, among other things, the possession, transfer, and sale of firearms, it has seldom legislated on the issue of concealed carry. It has passed only a few laws on concealed carry, allowing individuals in certain occupations and who meet certain qualifications to carry concealed nationwide notwithstanding state or local laws. These laws include the Armored Car Industry Reciprocity Act of 1993 (P.L. 103-55); the Arming Pilots Against Terrorism Act of 2002 (P.L. 107-296); the Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act (LEOSA) (P.L. 108-277); and the Credit Card Act (P.L. 111-24). However, in the 112th Congress and past years, legislation has been introduced that would permit individuals to carry concealed nationwide, or on certain federal lands. These bills include H.R. 822, the National Right-to-Carry Reciprocity Act of 2011; S. 176, the Common Sense Concealed Firearms Permit Act of 2011; H.R. 2900, the Secure Access to Firearms Enhancement Act of 2011; and S. 1588, the Recreational Land Self-Defense Act of 2011.
This report first provides an overview of how concealed carry is generally regulated among the states. It then summarizes the federal laws regulating concealed carry. Lastly, it examines the concealed carry legislation pending before 112th Congress. This report does not address carrying firearms on military installations by military personnel.
Date of Report: November 22, 2011
Number of Pages: 19 Order Number: R42099 Price: $29.95
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