The Licensing of Concealed Handguns for Lawful Protection: Support from Five State Supreme Courts

32 Pages Posted: 15 Jun 2005

See all articles by David B. Kopel

David B. Kopel

Independence Institute; Denver University - Sturm College of Law; Cato Institute


Examines five recent state supreme court decisions involving the effect of state constitution right to arms clauses on the carrying of concealed handguns. In New Mexico and Missouri, the courts ruled that, although concealed carrying is specifically exempted from the constitutional right, the legislature may create a system for concealed carry licensing. The Ohio Supreme Court ruled that there is no right to concealed carry, but persons may carry handguns openly. The Wisconsin Supreme Court held that an absolute prohibition on concealed carry is unconstitutional, as applied to a person's home or business premises. The Rhode Island Supreme Court interpreted the state's two licensing statutes to read one statute as discretionary (may issue) and the other as mandatory (shall issue).

Keywords: Concealed handgun licensing, concealed carry, shall issue, New Mexico, Missouri, Wisconsin, Ohio, Rhode Island

JEL Classification: K14, K42

Suggested Citation

Kopel, David B. and Kopel, David B., The Licensing of Concealed Handguns for Lawful Protection: Support from Five State Supreme Courts. Available at SSRN:

David B. Kopel (Contact Author)

Independence Institute ( email )

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Denver University - Sturm College of Law

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Cato Institute ( email )

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