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Wed May 4, 2016, 02:14 PM


Open Carry America (Part Three) License Recognition, Reciprocity and Non-Resident Licences [View all]

Open Carry America (Part Three) License Recognition, Reciprocity and Non-Resident Licences

By CompanyFirstSergeant

Let's say that you are a licensed handgun owner, interested in taking a trip to several other states.

You check with the states you intend to travel to, and they do not accept your home state's license. What you decide to do, is to obtain a license from another state, which happens to be accepted in the states you intend to visit.

Using this scenario, we will define the terms recognition, reciprocity and non-resident license.

Let's Use Utah as an Example...

After attending a class (which is given in multiple locations in nearly all states) and sending in the required documentation, a law abiding gun owner interested in interstate armed travel, may apply for a Utah Concealed Firearms Permit.

There are a number of other states that will issue non-resident licenses, some in person, and some by mail. Let's use only Utah as an example for now. Utah's permit is considered by many to be the most versatile, and less expensive than many others.


In the map below, we see seventeen states that will honor the Utah permit, and the same seventeen states (dark shading) issue licenses/permits that by mutual agreement, are recognized in Utah. This is known as reciprocity.

A licensed resident of Utah will be able to carry a firearm in these states and residents of these states will be able to carry in Utah.

What the map does not show us, however, is that some of the states, even in this category, will not recognize a Utah non-resident permit, only a resident permit. For example, Colorado only recognizes resident permits from certain states, not non-resident.

How do you, as a holder of a Utah non-resident permit know if any particular state will recognize your right to carry there?

You have to check with that state and find out.


As you also see on the map (in gray shading) there are also nineteen states that recognize the Utah permit to carry, without Utah necessarily recognizing theirs. This is known as recognition.

The main difference between reciprocity and recognition is that reciprocity is usually a formal agreement between states, recognition is a unilateral policy.

Formal reciprocity agreements are often on file, and available online, recognition is often simply a list of recognized states on a state's website. Some states, such as Georgia, simply announce that they honor a license from any other jurisdiction.

Non-Resident Licensing

Non-resident licenses from New Hampshire, Virginia, Utah and Florida are the typical states that many interstate travelers use to cover themselves in a trip that includes many other American states. Pennsylvania does issue a very versatile license, but one must travel to Pennsylvania to get one.

A non-resident license from the state you are in at the moment is by far the best document to have on one's person if traveling away from home with a handgun. It has the state's name and logo on it, and is one small, definitive item to show to a police officer if necessary.

Showing a police officer a reciprocity agreement with another state, or a screen shot from the officer's state bureau of whatever, can be a cumbersome task, especially if the interaction is away from where you keep your documentation, such as back at your hotel room or car.

Open Carry Option

There are quite a number of states in which no license at all is required to carry a handgun openly. If a traveler does not wish to obtain the proper licenses, this may be an option. Be sure to check very carefully which states offer this option, and remember that concealing the handgun in these states is an illegal act without a license. A good place to start is opencarry.org for more information.

Some states with open carry do not allow unlicensed open carry throughout, for example, Pennsylvania requires a license to carry (LTC) to open carry in the city of Philadelphia.

Constitutional Carry

A small but growing number of states afford this level of freedom, in which no license at all is required for open or conceal carry. Vermont is the original Constitutional Carry state.

Link to Part Two: http://www.democraticunderground.com/1172191775

Link to Part One: http://www.democraticunderground.com/1172191586

PLEASE NOTE: I am not a lawyer, this is not legal advice, anything contained herein is subject to change, and no individual should attempt any travel with a firearm based on the above information. This information is the result of years of research by a non-lawyer.

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Reply Open Carry America (Part Three) License Recognition, Reciprocity and Non-Resident Licences [View all]
CompanyFirstSergeant May 2016 OP
jonno99 May 2016 #1
CompanyFirstSergeant May 2016 #2
CompanyFirstSergeant May 2016 #3
stone space May 2016 #4
oneshooter May 2016 #5
stone space May 2016 #6