Concealed Weapons Law & Legal Definition


Concealed weapons are weapons, especially handguns, which are kept hidden on one's person, or under one's control. Carrying a concealed weapon is illegal in most states unless the party with the weapon is a law enforcement officer or has a permit to carry a concealed weapon.

Some states allow citizens to carry a concealed weapon, while allowing places open to the public to post a notice banning concealed weapons on the premises. Requirements for permits to carry a concealed weapon vary by state, but they usually require a minimum age, completion of a safety course, and prohibit felons or those found mentally unstable or guilty of certain crimes to obtain a permit, among other requirements.

A number of states allow law-abiding citizens to carry concealed weapons after obtaining the proper permits. These are often referred to as "concealed carry" laws. For example, one state allows a concealed carry permit to be issued to anyone who is at least 21 years old, has lived in the state at least 45 days, the county or adjacent county for 30 days, completes a 12-hour firearms training course, and passes criminal and mental-health background checks. As of this writing, only six U.S. states do not have a concealed carry law. Laws vary by state, so local laws should be consulted for requirements in your area.

The Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act of 2004 was signed into law on July 22, 2004 by President Bush. Off-duty and retired police officers are allowed to carry concealed weapons anywhere in the U.S. under this legislation, which preempts state and local control over concealed-carry permits.

The following is a state law defining a concealed weapon:

62.1-04-01. Definition of concealed. A firearm or dangerous weapon is concealed if it is carried in such a manner as to not be discernible by the ordinary observation of a passerby. There is no requirement that there be absolute invisibility of the firearm or dangerous weapon, merely that it not be ordinarily discernible. A firearm or dangerous weapon is considered concealed if it is not secured, and is worn under clothing or carried in a bundle that is held or carried by the individual, or transported in a vehicle under the individual's control or direction and available to the individual, including beneath the seat or in a glove compartment. A firearm or dangerous weapon is not considered concealed if it is:

  1. Carried in a belt holster which is wholly or substantially visible or carried in a case designed for carrying a firearm or dangerous weapon and which is wholly or substantially visible;
  2. Locked in a closed trunk or luggage compartment of a motor vehicle;
  3. Carried in the field while lawfully engaged in hunting, trapping, or target shooting, whether visible or not; or
  4. Carried by any person permitted by law to possess a handgun unloaded and in a secure wrapper from the place of purchase to that person's home or place of business, or to a place of repair, or back from those locations.
  5. A bow and arrow, an unloaded rifle or shotgun, or an unloaded weapon that will expel, or is readily capable of expelling, a projectile by the action of a spring, compressed air, or compressed gas including any such weapon commonly referred to as a BB gun, air rifle, or CO 2 gun, while carried in a motor vehicle.

Relevant legal forms include:

Jury Instruction - Attempting To Board Air Craft With Concealed Weapon Or Explosive Device
AOC-J-325 Juvenile Petition Carrying a Concealed Weapon
Delinquent