Where is each license valid?

Editor's Note, September 2010: Laws and rules change. While the author sought to ensure accuracy at the time this article was published, it is incumbent upon the reader to verify any potential changes since then.

IMPORTANT NOTE: This article is no longer being updated by the author and will become increasingly out-dated.

Let us now look at the Ohio Concealed Handgun License, and the states in which that license is honored.

OHIO CONCEALED HANDGUN LICENSE Valid: AK*¹, AR*, AZ*², DE*, FL*³, ID*², IN², KSº, KY*², MI*²³, MNº, MO*², MTº, NC*, ND†, NE*, NMº, NVº,OH, OK*², SC*³, SD², TN*², UT*², VA*, VT¹, WA*, WV*³, WY

The above list shows the sum total of all states in which the Ohio license is currently valid. This list includes Ohio itself, the 20 states with which Ohio has mutual reciprocity (at the time of this writing), and Vermont (which requires no license at all). Kansas, Minnesota, Montana, New Mexico and Nevada are listed, which specifically honor Ohio, without concern for mutual reciprocity. (The Ohio license is honored there, but Ohio does not recognize their licenses.) And finally, Indiana and South Dakota are included, which honor licenses from ANY state, without concern for mutual reciprocity.

To expand the list of states in which an Ohio licensee can legally carry, we'll examine a few particular non-resident licenses. They are:

PENNSYLVANIA NON-RESIDENT LICENSE Valid: AK*¹, AR*, AZ*², FL*³, GA, ID*², IN², KY², LA, MO*², MTº, NC*, ND†, OK*², PA, SD², TN*², TX, UT*², VA*, VT¹, WY*

NEW HAMPSHIRE³ NON-RESIDENT LICENSE Valid: AK*¹, AL, AZ*², GA, ID*², IN², KY*², LA, MO*², MS, ND†, NH, OK*², PA, SD², TN*², UT*², VT¹, WY*

FLORIDA NON-RESIDENT LICENSE Valid: AK*¹, AL, AR*, AZ*², DE*, FL*³, GA, ID*², IN², KY*², LA, MO*², MS, MTº, NC*, ND†, NEº, NMº, OH, OK*², PA, SD², TN*², TX, UT*², VA*, VT¹, WA*, WY*

MAINE NON-RESIDENT LICENSE Valid: AK*¹, AZ*², DE*, ID*², IN², KY*², ME, MO*², NEº, OK*², SD², TN*², UT*², VT¹

CONNECTICUT NON-RESIDENT LICENSE Valid: AK*¹, AZ*², CT, ID*², IN², KY*², MI*, MO*², MTº, NEº, OK*², SD², TN*², TX, UT*², VT¹

* States having mutual reciprocity with Ohio - Alaska (AK), Arizona (AZ), Arkansas (AR), Delaware (DE), Florida (FL), Idaho (ID), Kentucky (KY), Michigan (MI), Missouri (MO), Nebraska (NE), North Carolina (NC), Oklahoma (OK), South Carolina (SC), Tennessee (TN), Utah (UT), Virginia (VA), Washington (WA), West Virginia (WV), and Wyoming (WY) 

º States that honor the Ohio license specifically, without need of mutual reciprocity – Kansas (KS), Minnesota (MN), Montana (MT) and New Mexico (NM)

¹ States where anyone who can legally own a firearm can carry it concealed, with no permit or license required - Vermont (VT) and Alaska (AK)

² States that honor licenses and permits issued by any other state, without need of mutual reciprocity - Arizona (AZ), Idaho (ID), Indiana (IN), Kentucky (KY), Michigan (MI), Missouri (MO), Oklahoma (OK), South Dakota (SD), Tennessee (TN), and Utah (UT)

³ States that only honor licenses / permits for residents of the issuing state. They do not honor non-resident permits from other states - Colorado (CO), Florida (FL), Michigan (MI), New Hampshire (NH), and South Carolina (SC)

† North Dakota will only accept the non-resident license/permit of another state if A.) the two states have a signed reciprocity agreement, and B.) the other state accepts a North Dakota non-resident license. For example, North Dakota has reciprocity agreements with Pennsylvania, Florida, and New Hampshire (among others). Because Florida and New Hampshire law prohibit those states from honoring non-resident licenses from other states, non-resident licenses/permits issued by those states will not be honored in North Dakota. On the other hand, Pennsylvania has no such law prohibiting it from honoring non-resident licenses. Therefore, because Pennsylvania will honor a North Dakota non-resident license, North Dakota will honor a Pennsylvania non-resident license.

The Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, Florida, Maine and Connecticut lists above show the states in which each of those NON-RESIDENT licenses is valid.

As you can see, there can be a great deal of overlap in where each license is accepted. For example, Arizona (AZ) accepts the Ohio license, as well as non-resident licenses from Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, Florida, and Maine. To highlight this overlap, any state that recognizes the Ohio license is shown above in ITALICS, when it also appears in the lists for the non-resident licenses.

The states appearing above in BOLD show the net gain to an Ohio-licensed person, should you choose to obtain the non resident license from the state in whose list the BOLD states appear. For example, although the Maine non-resident license is valid in 13 states, twelve of those states are already covered by an Ohio license. Thus, the eleven covered by Ohio are shown in ITALICS, while Maine, being the only state in the Maine list which does not appear in the Ohio list, is shown in BOLD. The BOLD states, therefore, are your net gain in number of states in which you can legally carry, should you choose to obtain the relevant non-resident license.

NOTE: Although a state may honor both your Ohio CHL and a non-resident license, as a resident of Ohio I recommend that you rely primarily on your Ohio license when traveling in those states. In other words, when traveling in Arizona, leverage your primary Ohio license's direct reciprocity with Arizona, rather than relying upon any of the out-of state non-resident licenses discussed here. This will minimize confusion for both you AND for any law enforcement officer you may come in contact with. The exception to this, is Florida. IF you obtain a Florida non-resident license, use that as your primary license when in Florida. (If you do not obtain a Florida non-resident license, you are still covered in Florida by reciprocity, with your Ohio license.)

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