Across the United States there are four variations of concealed-carry permits:
- Unrestricted—the states that are the easiest to lawfully carry a gun in, no permit is required to carry a concealed handgun. Unrestricted right-to-carry laws: Alaska, Arizona, Vermont, Wyoming
- No-issue—having a complete ban on carrying a concealed firearm, which are almost extinct, as the federal courts have recently overturned the concealed weapons ban in Illinois on constitutional grounds. They will be required to draft a concealed carry law by May 2013 (although it may be appealed in the Supreme Court)
- May-issue—local or state authorities look at each permit request and have the discretion to approve or deny a request. The following states have permissive or restrictive policies, which involve a combination of may-issue and shall-issue within the state and allows for counties within the state to create own concealed carry rules: Alabama, California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, New York, Massachusetts, Rhode Island
- Shall-issue—permit requests are granted when the pre-determined requirements are met. The issuing authority has no discretion in the issuance of permits and there is no requirement to show ‘good cause’ to carry a gun as it is with the may-issue jurisdictions. The majority of states are in this category. Whatever states are not listed in the three sections above are sole shall-issue states.