Can I Concealed Carry If I Don't Have A Permit Yet?
A lot of people wonder if they can concealed carry if they don't have a permit yet, whether that's at their home or even out and about. Maybe you're waiting to take your concealed carry course to get a permit, maybe you're waiting for your permit to come in the mail and so on.
It depends on you and where you live. For the most part, the answer is around your house and work is likely okay, but outside of that is not if you're going to conceal your gun in a holster.
Sounds like there's more to the story, doesn't it?
There is, so let's dive in a little deeper so you get a better understanding of what kind of permitless carry is allowed, in what context - which is VERY important! - and a basic overview of some of the exceptions.
PLEASE NOTE: this isn't legal advice. If you need legal advice, talk to a lawyer. Make sure you research, read and understand the laws of YOUR city and state.
Most States Let You Concealed Carry At Home Without A Permit
So, almost every state in the union allows for permitless carry in some form or another. Typically, the law will say if you can concealed carry without needing a permit like so:
In your home, residence, fixed place of business, or during lawful outdoor activities.
That's the verbiage used by most state laws of this kind. Some will vary a bit, but you get the general idea. You can conceal and carry a gun, without a permit, where you live or where you work.
Put your gun in a holster and carry with no worries, if at home or at work.
You can also carry a gun, without needing a permit, if you're engaged in some sort of outdoor recreational pursuit such as hiking, horse riding, fishing or hunting.
Even the supposedly gun-hating states have this kind of law or something like it, even including California.
Granted, concealed carry at work is an issue all its own; it may be against company policy. There are also some places, defined by state or federal law, where you can't have a gun unless you're a police officer. If you work in one of those places, you can't have a gun.
Bear in mind that you can't transport (meaning in the car) a loaded gun without a permit, unless you live in a constitutional carry state.
Speaking of which…
Constitutional Carry States
As of the time of this writing, sixteen states have what are called "constitutional carry" laws, meaning that a permit is not required.
Residents of Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Mississippi, Missouri, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Vermont, West Virginia and Wyoming don't need a permit to conceal a handgun.
You must, of course, be of legal age and otherwise legally able to possess a firearm. Some of the above states extend constitutional carry to non-residents as well.
Most of these states do offer a permit as well, so you can start carrying right away but seek a permit later if you want to, which is actually a good idea.
If you live in one of these states, are of legal age and are not otherwise prohibited from possessing a firearm, then you don't need a permit.
To Get A Permit Or Not To Get A Permit, If You Live In A Constitutional Carry State
If you happen to live in a constitutional carry state, you may entertain the idea of never getting a permit. After all...it's not required; that's money you don't have to spend, and classes you don't have to attend.
Here's why you might want to.
If you're a complete and utter newbie to guns and concealed carry, the concealed carry permit course will require a bit of classroom instruction and likely some range instruction as well. That means training, and every bit you can get is good for you.
Another reason is what's called "reciprocity."
Reciprocity is where other states agree to recognize licenses and other official documents from other states, including concealed carry permits. With that said, reciprocity varies a lot from state-to-state; some states recognize any valid permit, others recognize none.
Whether that's important or not...is up to you.
Permitless Open Carry
There are some states that allow for open carry without a permit, meaning the gun cannot be concealed. You have to wear it openly for all to see, typically in an OWB holster or something along those lines.
Currently, 32 states allow for open carry without requiring a permit, though residents of Colorado, Iowa, Missouri, Nebraska, Oregon and Pennsylvania may have some local restrictions depending on the city or county they reside in.
This is completely up to you if you would like to carry a gun in this fashion. Some people prefer it, some people find it obnoxious and some people...are good with either open or concealment.