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What is Concealed Carry Reciprocity?

What is Concealed Carry Reciprocity?

Whether you’re planning a road trip or considering a big move, you’re likely wondering whether your concealed carry permit will still be valid once you cross state lines.

The short answer is, maybe. The long answer is that it depends on the reciprocity agreement your state has with the one you’re going to, and the specific rules and regulations that are part of that agreement.

But, what exactly is reciprocity, and how do you know if a state offers it?

Concealed carry reciprocity refers to an agreement between two states to honor CCW permits issued by one another. Although the nuances of reciprocity may differ from state to state, this cooperation allows concealed carriers to retain their Second Amendment rights when traveling.

Unsurprisingly, it is a bit more complicated than that. In this article, we’ll cover the specifics about what reciprocity means and where you can find information about which states honor your permit.

Concealed Carry Reciprocity Meaning

Although the Second Amendment ensures Americans have the right to own firearms at the federal level, each state is allowed to make and enforce laws of their own to regulate how people buy, use, and carry said guns. Because every state has such (sometimes drastically) different laws, things can get pretty complicated if you need to travel or relocate with a firearm, which is where the concept of reciprocity comes in.

Reciprocity is a legal term that refers to an agreement between states to honor concealed carry permits issued by one another. This means that CCW permits issued by one state are valid in the other and vice versa, making travel between states easier for gun owners.

Collage of Welcome to signs to different states in the USA

There are a few different types of reciprocity, however. According to the U.S. Concealed Carry Association, states may extend full or partial reciprocity, meaning they have the right to recognize permits from every U.S. state, or, in the case of partial reciprocity, only to select states. There are even states that do not offer reciprocity to any other states, meaning visitors either can’t conceal carry there or must obtain a local non-resident permit.

But just because a state extends reciprocity to another does not mean every permit holder will qualify. States also reserve the right to offer reciprocity to out-of-state permit holders only if they meet certain qualifications. This is often referred to as “restricted reciprocity.” For example, the legal age to acquire a concealed carry license in some states is 18, and in others, it’s 21. These states may still have reciprocity with one another, but only for those over 21 years old.

It’s also important to remember that even though a state may honor a license from another state, permit holders are still expected to abide by the laws of the state they’re physically in, and not that of their issuing state. Reciprocity simply means that you have the right to carry within another state’s borders, not that you’re exempt from its rules.

Because every state’s concealed carry laws and reciprocity agreements are so different, it can be incredibly confusing for those who are planning to travel with a gun – especially if you’re driving through multiple states. It requires a bit of planning ahead, and you may even find you have to take a different route than expected to avoid passing through states that do not recognize your permit. Fortunately, we have a few tools to make this process easier.

Which States Honor My Concealed Carry Permit?

If you’re planning to head out of state, one of the first things you’ll need to know is the local firearm and concealed carry laws. Does the state you’re going to recognize your concealed carry permit? Are there any specific rules you need to abide by?

The best way to definitively answer these questions is to check the official website of whatever agency issues concealed carry permits in that state, or consult an attorney. Your own state’s issuing agency should have a website containing information about which states it has a reciprocity agreement with. Still, it’s a good idea to check with the state you’re traveling to for more specific information regarding concealed carry regulations, as they often vary from state to state, and sometimes even by city.

United States Map

Additional Resources for Traveling With a Firearm

Traveling with a firearm can be a complicated process, even if the state you’re going to honors your concealed carry permit. This is especially true if you have to pass through multiple states to get to your destination, or if you’re planning to fly.

In many states, the rules on having a gun in your vehicle are very similar to regular concealed carry. In others, some very different rules apply. Some states have regulations about where in your vehicle a gun can be transported, whether it can be loaded or unloaded, and even the type of container it’s stored in. Many states even require you to disclose that you have a gun in your vehicle if you get pulled over by police. So, be sure to research the specifics of car concealed carry in the states you’re passing through on your trip.

It’s also important to make sure you aren’t driving through any “no firearms” zones on your travels. Places like school grounds and state and national parks often have different rules about guns, so it’s a good idea to double-check your route. You should also note that rental car companies sometimes have policies against firearms. Before you hit the road, check out our Guide to Car Concealed Carry to learn everything you need to know about driving with a firearm in your vehicle.

Man conceal carrying IWB his gun while driving a car

If you’re flying, things get even more complex. Airlines generally allow you to transport a firearm in your checked luggage, but they definitely have specific policies about how to do so. You’ll certainly need a locked case, and you’ll want to plan for extra time at the airport to go through the TSA declaration process. And although your checked bag shouldn’t make its way back into your hands until your final destination, delayed flights, missed connections, and unexpected emergencies could mean you have to take possession of your bag on a layover, so it’s a good idea to double-check the laws where you’ll be touching down on your way just to be safe.

For an overview of how to travel by plane with a firearm, take a look at our guide on How to Fly With a Handgun, which covers everything from checking your weapon with TSA to tips for a smooth experience.


Concealed carry reciprocity simply refers to an agreement between states that they will honor CCW permits issued by one another. That being said, every state still has its own laws and regulations that concealed carriers from out of state are expected to abide by.

Before traveling to another state with your firearm, it’s crucial to learn everything you can about the specific rules you’ll need to follow to avoid legal repercussions. 

If you’re looking for a new IWB, OWB, or pocket carry holster, visit our Holsters by Gun Model page for Kydex holsters that are custom-made for your weapon of choice. Interested in items beyond holsters? Check out our Resources Page for links to recommended products like lights, lasers, first aid, maintenance, and more, and browse our selection of apparel, and accessories at our website,

To stay up-to-date on all the latest Vedder Holsters content and offerings, check out our blog and follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. And be sure to visit our sister company, GeoGrit, for all your American-made minimalist wallet needs.

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Mikayla Blair

After launching her career as an award-winning journalist in the American Southwest, Mikayla Blair joined the Vedder Holsters team as a content writer in 2021. She writes about all things guns, holsters, and concealed carry, and is especially passionate about women's self-defense.

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