May Issue States: Is Your State One Of Them?

What is a "May Issue" State?

The Second Amendment specifies one of your most important rights. But what if you don’t know enough about exercising those rights in your own state?

For example, many gun owners are enthusiastic about getting a concealed carry permit. But before you can apply, it’s important to know whether you live in a “Shall Issue” state or a “May Issue” state. Otherwise, you may not be able to get the permit you need to safely carry a firearm.

But what do terms like May Issue even mean? And how can you tell if you live in one of the May Issue states? Keep reading to discover the answer! 

What Does Shall Issue Mean?

Our guide is going to walk you through everything you need to know about “may issue” states. First, you should know that when it comes to concealed carry, some states are May Issue and some are Shall Issue.

But what does it mean if you live in a “shall issue” state? Basically, Shall Issue states outline very specific guidelines for getting your concealed carry permit. So long as you meet these requirements, the state shall issue you the concealed carry permit.

Many gun owners would prefer if every state was a Shall Issue state. That is because May Issue states are more restrictive for those who simply wish to get their permit.

What Is A May Issue State?

Now that you know what a Shall Issue state is, let’s break down the basics of a May Issue state.

May Issue states also provide their own specific guidelines for getting a concealed carry permit. But not everybody who meets those requirements receives their permit. That is because the state reserves the right to decide whether they will or won’t issue the permit in question.

What factors into the decision the state makes? Depending on where you live, there may be several different factors that impact the decision. Below, we have a closer look at each of the factors you may have to contend with.

providing cause to be issued a concealed carry permit in a shall issue state

“May Issue” and Providing Cause

Some of the more restrictive states require that you show “good cause” before you can get a concealed carry permit. But in this context, what does “good cause” actually mean?

In short, “good cause” means that you are more likely to be in harm’s way frequently. Basically, you have to offer a statement proving that you are in more danger than average members of the public and therefore need to have a concealed carry permit to protect yourself.

What might cause you to be in more danger? “Good cause” may come from threats against you or previous attempts on your life. 

The cause may also come from the circumstances of your job. If you work in a dangerous profession or dangerous location, you can successfully argue that you need a permit to keep yourself safe.

While most arguments center around the person applying for the permit, “good cause” may also mean that your family and/or employees are in danger. This allows you to argue that you need a concealed carry permit to keep them safe.

May Issue and Providing Character References

Some May Issue states do not require that you submit statements regarding the cause for needing a permit. However, some of these states instead require that you submit statements written by multiple people.

These statements are meant to be character references. They help the state determine that you are generally trustworthy and will take the responsibility of a concealed carry permit very seriously.

The state will determine how many character references you need, but the usual number is three. Reference letters should be short and to the point.

Those writing letters should indicate:

  • why they are writing
  • how long they have known you
  • whether they are related to you
  • reasons you will be safe and responsible once you are issued a CCW permit

May Issue States and Providing Mental Health Records

Finally, some May Issue states may require you to submit paperwork that helps certify your mental health. While this can be intensive, this particular restriction works in conjunction with federal law.

For example, federal law already prohibits selling firearms or ammunition to anyone who is mentally unsound or who has ever been committed to a mental institution. Legally speaking, nobody who meets those criteria should possess or be sold a gun in the first place.

On top of this, certain May Issue states require you to submit paperwork regarding your own mental health and mental health history. While the exact requirements vary across different May Issue states, those who have no history of mental illness should have no trouble producing the required paperwork.

What Are the May Issue States? 

Now you know the different requirements that May Issue states demand. With that in mind, let’s move on to the big question: which states are “may issue” states?

Here are the nine May Issue states in alphabetical order: 

If you live in one of these states, it’s very important that you check on the different factors the state will consider before issuing a CCW permit.

May Issue States and Concealed Carry Permit Licensing

Does Concealed Carry Save Lives? A Closer Look

One of the main reasons gun owners apply for a CCW permit is to keep themselves and others safe. But does concealed carry save lives?

In a word, “yes.” According to recent research, CCW in shall issue states “reduced murders by 8%, rapes by 5%, aggravated assaults by 7%, and robbery by 3%.” As the study noted, if states that previously had no CCW permits had actually adopted them way back in 1992, they could have prevented 60,000 aggravated assaults, 12,000 robberies, 4,200 rapes, and 1,500 murders.

Your Next Move

Now you know what “may issue” means and the different “may issue” and “shall issue” states are. But do you know how to get the ball rolling on your own CCW permit?

No matter what state you live in, getting a CCW permit means passing a firearms safety course. We offer courses in convenient areas all across the notion. All you have to do is find a course near you today!

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