It recently came to my attention that a concealed carrier was placed under arrest in Chicago for having a laser sight on his handgun. In Chicago, it is apparently against the laws to possess an “assault weapon,” laser sight accessory, or silencer with the exception of law enforcement or the armed forces. How many of us knew that?
One thing I did know was that carrying hollow point ammunition in New Jersey was prohibited for most individuals except under certain conditions such as hunting or target practice at authorized clubs, none of which appear to include concealed carry outside of the home. The penalty for unlawful possession of hollow point ammunition in New Jersey is severe (4th degree felony).
I personally think that everyone that wants to carry a lawfully concealed handgun should obtain a permit even if constitutional carry is legal in their home state. The length (and perhaps even the quality) of the state-required classes can vary, but most should cover the topics of firearms safety, Use of Force laws, prohibited weapons, and advisories as to locations where concealed carry is prohibited. All of us should understand that the locations discussed in those classes are largely state-specific and may or may not address cities within those states that have in place additional restrictions. The major takeaway here for me is that is what is not normally covered are all of the remaining states and cities in which the Use of Force laws, definitions of prohibited weapons, and locations where concealed carry is unlawful may vary.
In my opinion, a state-licensed carry permit is invaluable as most typically offer multiple advantages and legal protections that may include reciprocity with a significant number of other states and possible trespass protections on private property, in school zones, and even when carrying past certain signs stating that firearm carry is prohibited.
It is important for all concealed carriers interested in traveling to other states to know those state’s laws governing concealed carry. For instance, the following states (and there may be more) are believed to have laws in place restricting the capacity of detachable handgun magazines:
- New Jersey
- Washington, D.C. (although technically not a state)
- New York
Concealed carriers familiar with state law should not become complacent. Certain cities (such as Chicago) may have additional restrictions that impact concealed carry. In some states, unauthorized persons may not have in their possession pepper spray (OC) cannisters greater than a certain size. For instance, it is unlawful to carry a pepper spray cannister that holds more than two ounces of content in Florida.
I had no idea that minors are prohibited from using pepper spray between one hour before sunset and one hour before sunrise in Maryland. Up to this point in this article no mention has been made regarding state-specific knife laws, but concealed carriers who opt to also carry a knife should probably consider becoming familiar with the state laws covering knives in terms of style, design, and/or function as well as legal blade lengths.
Nothing written in this article should be considered legal advice or even 100% accurate, and concealed carriers owe it to themselves to do their own homework. For the most part, when carrying into other states I tend to carry a Glock 48 with 10-round magazines as my default unless I am going there to teach a class, and even then I make sure that my Glock 19 with 15-round magazines is legal. I also make sure to keep current my Texas License to Carry permit as well as my identification card that allows active and retired law enforcement officers to carry nationwide upon meeting certain criteria. And last but not least I make it a point to go to www.concealedcarry.com/concealed-carry-laws-in-the-united-states/ and click on the state that I want to visit and check out what they have uncovered.
While doing so for a recent trip to New Mexico, I was mildly surprised to find out that it was unlawful to carry more than one concealed firearm at a time. While carrying two concealed handguns at a time is something that I almost never do, it certainly would have been a bummer had I opted to do it just once in the wrong state at the wrong time and then found myself dealing with an out-of-state legal system. Life for me is complicated enough on its own without me unwittingly making it more so.
Steve Moses has been a defensive firearms trainer for over 26 years and is a licensed Texas Personal Protection Officer with 7 years of experience performing as shift lead on a church security detail for a D/FW area metro-church. Steve is a co-owner and Director of Training for Palisade Training Group, LLC based in Dallas, Texas. Moses is a retired deputy constable and spent over 10 years on a multi-precinct Special Response Team. He owns multiple instructor certifications, including Rangemaster Advanced Handgun Instructor and Defensive Shotgun Instructor, Red Zone Knife Defense Instructor and Adaptive Striking Foundations Instructor, Modern Samurai Project Red Dot Sight Instructor, and State of Texas Personal Protection Officer Instructor. Steve holds a BJJ Brown Belt in Relson Gracie Jiu Jitsu. He is a content contributor for CCW Safe and writes weekly articles on various subjects of interest to concealed carriers. Moses shoots competitively and holds an IDPA Expert rating. Steve is an annual presenter at the Rangemaster Tactical Conference.