What is “Shall Issue?”
If you look at the state information on firearms laws from the NRA, you’ll find a wide range of data ranging from purchasing laws to concealment issues. One of the items you’ll find is the “Right to Carry Laws” section, and under this section, you may find the term “Shall Issue.”
Shall Issue: An Important Topic for Firearms Advocates
Shall issue is an important concept for gun-rights advocates. Essentially, shall-issue laws mean that a state must issue a permit once the applicant has met the specific requirements outlined by the state. Unlike other states, areas with shall-issue laws have no requirements for demonstrating an immediate or justifiable reason to carry a weapon.
In other words, there is no judgement call on the part of administrators, bureaucrats, or law enforcement officials as to whether or not a person should be given a permit. In shall-issue states, once the requirements are met, the permit, by law, must be issued.
Shall Issue is Different from Unrestricted
This does not mean that shall issue is the same as unrestricted carry, where applicants are not required to have a permit. It simply means that once the applicant has completed the requirements (which vary from state to state and can include items like training, background check, fingerprinting, safety classes, and more) the permit will be written.
Opponents of shall-issue laws believe that law enforcement should have the final say on whether or not an applicant can carry a concealed weapon. They hold that unless an immediate need is proven, the applicant does not need, and should not be given, the right to carry a concealed firearm. Proponents, however, believe that the real need for a firearm should be at the discretion of the user, and they hold that shall-issue laws are one of the pillars of individual firearms rights.