Which State Has The Strictest Concealed Carry Laws?

Untold millions of Americans love and respect the right to bear arms, which often materializes in the form of concealed carry permits which allowed law-abiding gun owners to protect themselves and their property as they go about their daily lives. Despite the fact that most people know about concealed carry laws, however, many people are deeply unfamiliar with how said laws vary on a state-by-state basis. Some states are vastly more tolerant of concealed carry firearms than others, with certain areas of the country being utopias for gun owners whereas others will prevent them from concealed carry at all.

states with the toughest concealed carry laws

Which state has the strictest concealed carry laws? Here’s a breakdown of how the different states in the union compose their concealed carry laws and regulations.

If you don’t feel like reading ahead, the states with the toughest concealed carry laws are Washington D.C., California and New York.

Millions of Americans rely on concealed carry

It’s worth noting that millions of Americans are already using concealed carry permits on a daily basis in order to keep themselves safe while exercising their constitutional right to bear arms. It’s challenging to pin point just how many people are using it, however, because gun statistics are frequently misleading; some gun owners may own multiple firearms, have outdated licensing, and a myriad of other trivial details could give you a misleading idea of how many people actually carry a loaded with them as they roam. Some authoritative research has been conducted, though, and not entirely impossible to determine how many Americans are carrying a concealed firearm on their person annually.

One thorough analysis by the Washington Post determined that at least 3 million Americans are using concealed carry permits to bear a loaded firearm on their person every day, for instance. While this statistic isn’t precise, as it’s challenging to determine such an accurate figure over such a large land area and with such a huge population, we can be reasonably confident that the Post is in the right neighborhood when estimating the amount of concealed carry holders daily.

Even that figure can be misleading, however, as some 9 million Americans were found to use a concealed carry permit on a monthly basis. Certain times of the year may be more popular than others, and certain areas are far more forgiving and welcoming of concealed carry permits than others.

Washington D.C. 

If you’re someone who loves to carry a concealed firearm on their person for safety reasons, you’d be well-advised to avoid the capital in Washington, D.C. This is because the nation’s center of government isn’t particularly fond of concealed carry licenses, though they are technically legal. Numerous legal efforts have attempted to banish the presence of concealed carry permits from Washington, D.C., however, with critics arguing that the nations’ capital should be a gun-free zone. While D.C. isn’t technically a state, it’s a popular tourist destination for millions of Americans and gunowners should understand that it’s not particularly pro-concealed carry.

When it comes to actual states, many gunowners have learned to steer clear of Illinois, which requires a license to purchase and possess firearms and ammo. Some consider Illinois to be exceptionally friendly to gunowners when compared to Maryland, however, which has been lambasted by gun rights groups as being flagrantly anti-concealed carry. As a “may issue” state, Maryland requires applicants who want to concealed carry to demonstrate “good and substantial reasons” for why they should be allowed to exercise such a right. For many gunowners, this additional hurdle to attaining a concealed carry amounts to too much effort for a state that’s clearly not exceptionally fond of the right to bear arms discretely.

Varying degrees of restrictions can also be applied to your concealed carry permit in Maryland, too, so those hoping to assemble an impressive arsenal for themselves may desire to steer-clear of The Old Line State. Effectively, the applicant has to prove a specific danger, and jump through many more hoops than is standard elsewhere in order to get their hands on a concealed carry permit. If you’re not a gunowner who can factually demonstrate a serious threat to your life, it’s highly unlikely that Maryland will allow you to get a concealed carry permit.

New York

It may come as little surprise to some gunowners that New York isn’t particularly fond of concealed carry permits, either. As a matter of fact, New York is regularly rated as one of the strictest states in the union when it comes to concealed carry permits, with Guns & Ammo noting that it’s the worst state for gunowners in America. While this is only the opinion of one source, it’s indisputably clear that New York isn’t fond of concealed carry permits; the permit-issuing system requires you to jump through similar hoops to those in Maryland, though they’re arguably not quite as restrictive.

New York City in particular isn’t a pro-gun environment where concealed carry is traditionally welcomed, and that metropolitan hub has an immense influence on the rest of the state. As the most powerful city in America, NYC can stand to influence the surrounding state’s concealed carry norms with its own influential regulations. While it’s not impossible to get a concealed carry in New York, the Big Apple will prove to be a vexatious environment to any gunowner in pursuit of a concealed carry weapon.

Nearby New Jersey isn’t much better, much for the same reasons. As a matter of fact, New Jersey is another “may issue” state wherein gun owners must make an impassioned and evidence-laden plea in order to exercise their 2nd amendment right to bear arms. A lengthy legal process involving a judge is often involved for gunowners in New Jersey interested in a concealed carry permit, though the Garden State isn’t the least-friendly place for gunowners in the union. That honor falls to…


California is regularly lauded as a bastion of left-leaning politics, so it should be unsurprising that the Golden State is widely considered to be the strictest state in America when it comes to concealed carry laws. As a matter of fact, gunowners have spent countless years, untold millions, and who knows how much creative energy lobbying to make California more accessible to gunowners in general and concealed carry permits in particular, which are particularly despised in local power centers.

As a “may issue” state, California is able to put many restrictions on gunowners who are seeking a concealed carry permit to defend themselves. What makes California particularly irksome for so many gunowners is that the nature of the firearm regulations can change on a county-by-county basis that’s unlike anything else in the United States. This means that certain areas of the Golden State can be a real menace to concealed carry permit holders, whereas others may be more forgiving (though still strict) for those applying for such a license.

Tough Gun Law States Suck

All of America’s states allow some form of concealed carry, but some are more restrictive than others when it comes to issuing licenses. From New York to California, it can be a real struggle for gun enthusiasts to safely and legally carry a concealed firearm on their person, though there are still bastions of gun ownership around the country. While these states have some of the strictest concealed carry laws, others like Vermont have literally no laws at all, so feel free to roam the country widely in pursuit of your firearm dreams.