How reciprocity works



We regularly receive phone calls or emails from folks wanting to know which states honor their permits, what the laws for each state allow, and most frequently, “What the heck is reciprocity?” In this newsletter, we explain what reciprocity is, and how to find information on various states’ laws so you can carry concealed legally when travelling.

What the heck is reciprocity?


Reciprocity is defined as the practice of exchanging things with others for mutual benefit, especially privileges granted by one country or organization to another.


Reciprocity of concealed weapons permits between two states usually comes through an official, signed document.  Of the reciprocity agreements we have read, they can be boiled down as, “We both have the right to issue permits to our citizens, so lets just honor each other’s permits, and I will let you know if anything changes on my end.”  Some states will only honor out-state-permits only if a reciprocity agreement is signed.


Reciprocity can also be informal.  The State of Iowa for example, will not sign any reciprocity agreements.  Instead, Iowa has decided to honor any legally obtained, and currently valid permit issued by any state.


On the opposite end of the spectrum are states like California, Illinois, and New York. These states will not honor any other permit no matter how much training is required or how rigorous the background check.


How to find which states honor your permit


The simplest, unofficial way to figure out which states honor your concealed weapons permit is to visit usacarry.com.  With their map, simply click on the state that issued your permit, select whether it is a resident or non-resident permit (if applicable), and the map will color code which states you may use your permit.


The more complicated, official way to figure out which states honor your permit is to visit the website of the agency that issued your permit to view a list of their reciprocity agreements.  Next, visit the website of the state you plan to visit and view their reciprocity list to confirm your permit is honored.


For most states, the issuing authority for the concealed weapons permit is the department of public safety or the state police.  On each website, look for a link labeled, “reciprocity.” Sometimes reciprocity information is buried in a FAQ section.


The FAQ section is usually the quickest and easiest way to find answers about the state’s concealed carry laws, too.


Check before you go


Being arrested for carrying concealed illegally will only put you through an enormous amount of unnecessary stress.  Avoid the hassle, and do 15 minutes of research online before you travel.  If you need help locating reciprocity information, give us a call or email so we can assist you.


Protect yourself and your family today; get certified today.