49 of the 50 states in our country (all but Illinois) respect the rights of their citizens to carry firearms for self-defense and other lawful purposes.
On this page we will take a brief look at different ways states regulate carrying firearms, as well as the different ways in which citizens exercise these rights.
Carrying a concealed weapon (CCW) means just what it sounds like. People typically carry a firearm in a pocket holster, in a holster outside their waistband (OWB) covered by a shirt, or in a holster inside their waistband (IWB).
This is generally the most preferred manner of carrying firearms, as it avoids drawing unnecessary attention. 49 of 50 states - all but Illinois - allow (and many require) carrying firearms concealed.
Open carry is less popular in the U.S. but is gaining more proponents lately. Several states do not allow open carry, and instead require their citizens to carry firearms concealed.
Constitutional carry is the term we use when a state guarantees the rights of all citizens (except prohibited persons) to carry firearms for self-defense and other lawful purposes. Citizens of states with constitutional carry, such as Vermont, Arizona, Wyoming, and Alaska, are not required to apply for a license from the authorities.
The majority of states in the U.S. have a form of licensed carry, which requires citizens to receive a license from authorities (typically state or county law enforcement) before carrying a firearm. Licensing typically involves a small administrative fee to process the paperwork and perform a background check. Some states require that applicants submit proof of training as well (classes covering firearm laws, authorized/unauthorized use of force, firearms safety instruction, and hands-on training at a shooting range).
There are two general types of issuing policies for licenses:
Illinois will almost certainly become a "shall-issue" state, requiring a small fee and proof of training.
It is important to point out that legislation protecting the right to carry firearms does not mean that people can carry firearms anywhere.
Every state has legislation outlining the details of how firearms may legally be carried. Most states restrict carrying firearms in K-12 schools, government buildings, and other sensitive areas. Stores, restaurants, and other private businesses may post signs declaring that firearms are not allowed on their property. Similarly, you have every right to require visitors to your home be unarmed.
Laws disarming honest citizens proclaim that the government is the master, not the servant, of the people.
Jeffrey R. Snyder