The prevalence of guns in our country has a divisive political and social history that is now playing out on college campuses in a response to recent incidents of campus gun violence. A vocal new movement is now calling for allowing adult (21+) students with licenses to carry concealed weapons on college campuses. Eleven U.S. universities now allow concealed weapons on campus, nine of them public. Last year, 17 states considered campus carry legislation, but none enacted them.  Concealed and open carry laws are rapidly changing across the nation and gun control opponents are making inroads state by state. In July 2009, The Wall Street Journal noted how the gun lobby has successfully pushed guns to more and more places, yet has suffered 34 consecutive defeats on students carrying guns into classrooms.

This is an installation of 50 signs (one for each state) that conveys the complex rules and regulations that pertain to concealed weapons across the nation.  These signs will reflect the density of meta-data the surrounds the act of purchasing, transporting and using handguns. Juxtaposing the cool dispassionate nature of info graphics with the grim realities of an armed citizenry.

There are 24 states that prohibit concealed weapon carry on college campuses by persons with a valid concealed handgun license/permit. These states are Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, and Wyoming. Texas law specifically prohibits concealed carry on campus but includes a clause that allows an individual college/university to 'opt out' of the law and allow concealed carry.

Our goal with this piece is to point out the complexity of this issue for members of campus communities across the country and examine how it is playing out state by state.


State regulations relating to the issuance of concealed carry permits generally fall into four categories that are typically described as No-Issue, May-Issue, Shall-Issue, and Unrestricted:


A No-Issue jurisdiction is one that does not allow any private citizen to carry a concealed handgun.


A May-Issue jurisdiction is one that requires a permit to carry a concealed handgun.


A Shall-Issue jurisdiction is one that requires a permit to carry a concealed handgun, but where the granting of such permits is subject only to meeting certain criteria laid out in the law; the granting authority has no discretion in the awarding of the permits.


An Unrestricted jurisdiction is one where no permit is required to carry a concealed handgun.

Currently, among U.S. states, only Alaska and Vermont allow residents to carry a concealed firearm without a permit.

Training Requirements

Some states require concealed carry applicants to certify their proficiency with a firearm through some type of training or instruction.


Reciprocal recognition of concealed carry privileges and rights vary state-to-state.

"Opt-Out" Statutes ("Gun-Free Zones")

Many states (e.g., Minnesota, South Carolina, Texas) allow private businesses to post a specific signage for Gun Free zones.


a signage installation by Curt Belshe and Lise Prown