Can Anyone Under 21 Years Old Concealed Carry?
For the most part, concealed carry is relatively easy to do from a legal perspective but there are a few snags - one of which is an age barrier. For the most part, a person has to be 21 years of age in order to concealed carry.
But there are exceptions. As it happens, there are states where a person 18 to 20 years of age can carry, and not only that, get a concealed carry permit. A permit may not even be required in some instances, though it varies by state.
In The Residence Or Fixed Place Of Business
One of the most common exceptions in the laws of most states to needing a concealed carry license is in one's - and it's common to see this exact phrase or something license - residence or fixed place of business. In other words, most states do not require a person to have a license to conceal and carry in their home or workplace, if one's employer allows.
Does this exemption apply likewise to the 18 to 20 year old set?
It can, and indeed often does.
It comes down to the laws of the state one resides in, however, so it's up to the individual to find out for themselves. Most states do have this exemption, including gun friendly states like Oklahoma and Idaho, and even the People's Republic of California. Some states further allow persons under 18 to carry if on their parent or guardian's property or place of business and have their permission.
Carry During Lawful Outdoor Activities
Another common method at law for the 18 to 20 set to lawfully carry - concealed or openly - is whilst engaged in "lawful outdoor activities," as many state laws (just like at home or work) allow for those over 18 to carry without a permit this way.
Check your state's laws, but the way it works is that those aged 18 or older, but not 21 years or older, can carry whilst lawfully hunting, fishing, camping, horseback riding, backpacking, hiking or while pursuing any other legitimate outdoor activity. Just as with carry in one's home or "fixed place of business," it's one of the most common exemptions to needing a license to carry.
States That Will License Underage Concealed Carry
Most states typically cap concealed carry at 21 years of age, so underage concealed carry isn't really possible outside of the home, fixed place of business or outdoors....except for those states that license underaged carry.
Not all states will, and anyone interested should research their own state's laws.
For instance, the state of Idaho voted in 2019 to extend constitutional carry to those 18 years of age or older. Previously, the age limit in the Gem State was 21 years of age, the legal age for purchasing a handgun; those wishing to conceal and carry under the age of 21 could apply for a permit if 18 years of age or older.
Additionally, some states, such as Arizona, will license persons 19 years of age or older if they are active duty or have been honorably discharged from the military and can document firearms training equivalent to the state requirements for a concealed carry permit.
West Virginia Concealed Carry
Recently, West Virginia concealed carry laws have undergone a good amount of revision. The state followed Idaho in passing constitutional carry statutes, and thereby removing any legal barriers to concealed carry for adults aged 21 years of age or older.
Just like Idaho, Arizona, Alaska and the other constitutional carry states (except Vermont - that state has never required a permit and doesn't issue them, either) a West Virginia concealed carry permit is available for those who desire to get a permit, should someone wish to do so. Many people get a permit when not required for concealed carry reciprocity purposes. The state even offers an enhanced permit.
However, the permit was not previously available for those between 18 and 21 years of age, until recently. The constitutional carry law of West Virginia also opened up the licensing process for 18-, 19- and 20-year-olds. Under West Viriginia law, that age group can apply for and receive a permit provided they meet the qualifications. Not only that, but the enhanced license can be obtained as well.
At the moment, 16 states will also recognize the expanded license for persons of that age group.
About The Author
Born in southeastern Washington State, Sam Hoober graduated in 2011 from Eastern Washington University. He resides in the great Inland Northwest, with his wife and child. His varied interests and hobbies include camping, fishing, hunting, and spending time at the gun range as often as possible.