Shall Issue - May Issue?


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Wondering what the real difference is? I added a section with a detailed explanation I found on

Shall Issue - May Issue?

What exactly does Shall-Issue Mean?

A shall-issue jurisdiction, within the context of gun law, is one that requires a permit to carry a concealed handgun ("concealed carry"), but where the granting of such permits is subject only to meeting certain criteria laid out in the law; the granting authority has no discretion in the awarding of the permits. Such laws typically state that a granting authority "shall issue" a permit if the criteria are met, as opposed to laws where the authority "may issue" a permit at their discretion.

Typical permit requirements include residency, minimum age, submitting fingerprints, passing a background check, attending a certified handgun/firearms safety class, participating in a range check before a certified trainer (for demonstrating safe firearms handling, while shooting at a target with a handgun), and paying the required fee (if any). These requirements vary by jurisdiction; for example, Georgia has no safety certification requirement or range check.

Shall-issue states in the U.S.

The following are undisputed shall-issue states: Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, and Wyoming.

Alaska is both a "shall-issue" and an "unrestricted" state. Alaska does not require a permit for any law-abiding individual to carry a handgun, either openly or concealed, within the state's borders. However, the state continues to issue permits to any of its residents who meet the state's issuance criteria, which can be helpful for Alaskans traveling to other states.

The status of Alabama, Connecticut and Iowa is in some dispute among gun rights activists. The laws of all three states, strictly speaking, would place them in the may-issue category, as permit issue is to some degree discretionary. However, the policies of these states are effectively shall-issue.

What exactly does May-Issue Mean?

A may-issue jurisdiction, within the context of gun law, is one that requires a permit to carry a concealed handgun ("concealed carry"), and where the granting of such permits is partially at the discretion of local authorities (frequently the police): the law typically states that a granting authority "may issue" a permit if various criteria are met. A jurisdiction that is de jure a may-issue region may de facto range anywhere from no-issue to shall-issue.

May-issue states in the U.S.

U.S. states such as California and New York give wide latitude to the county authorities in issuing permits.

In New York City, a concealed weapons permit is theoretically possible to get but in reality it takes a large degree of money, political influence, and/or celebrity to get one. Examples of current and past New York City permit holders would be Senator Charles Schumer, Robert DeNiro, Don Imus, Howard Stern, Ronald Lauder, Edgar Bronfman Sr., Donald Trump, William F. Buckley Jr., Harvey Keitel, Joan Rivers, and Arthur Sulzberger.

This category may also be interpreted to include states where authorities have very limited discretion in permit issuance, such as Connecticut.

Alabama by law is a may-issue state, but as of 2006 all Alabama county sheriffs issue permits to almost all qualified applicants, making it shall-issue in practice.

California is a May Issue State

The issuing authority is the County Sheriff and any Police Chiefs that have not deferred to the county Sheriff.

County issue is sporatic throughout the state with large population counties being more difficult and more rural counties being less difficult.

Orange County is one exception with an excellent Sheriff with regards to issue of CCW.

Some rural counties are basically Shall Issue with reasonable Good Cause reasons.

New Jersey is classified as a "May Issue" State, but in reality it's more like a "May Issue When Pigs Fly" State. It's a total misnomer to have this State enjoy even that restrictive category.
Shall Issue = The state has to issue unless it can come up with a reason why you can't receive a license.

May Issue = You have to ask for permission and provide a "need" to justify issuance, which they may or may not accept.

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