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Tom Kertscher
By Tom Kertscher June 29, 2020

No, wearing a mask doesn’t void concealed-carry permit

If Your Time is short

  • No national law prohibits licensed concealed-carry holders from carrying a weapon and wearing a mask.

  • Some states generally prohibit wearing a mask in public to conceal one’s identity.

  • But states with those laws have said the laws don’t apply to wearing a mask to guard against spreading the coronavirus.

A viral image shared on Facebook claims that wearing a mask in public, which is widely recommended for fighting the spread of the coronavirus, threatens the rights of people who are licensed to carry guns.

The image shows a handgun and an identification card and this message:

"Know what else wearing a mask does??? Anyone?? REMOVES YOUR CONCEAL CARRY ability. That’s right!! Its in the rules. CCW licensees are NOT allowed to wear face coverings while carrying. Now let that sink in."

The post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)

Some states generally ban wearing masks in public, unrelated to their concealed-weapon laws.

There is no nationwide law banning carrying a concealed weapon while wearing a mask.

"With some minor exceptions, concealed carry is a matter of state law," said Duke University law professor Darrell Miller, co-director of the Duke Center for Firearms Law. He and UCLA law professor Adam Winkler said they were aware of no federal law that would bear on masks and concealed carry.

One such ban is temporarily lifted

In Illinois, it is a felony to carry in a vehicle or on your person "any pistol, revolver, stun gun or taser or firearm or ballistic knife, when he or she is hooded, robed or masked in such manner as to conceal his or her identity.". 

Under an executive order from Gov. J.B. Pritzker in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, as of May 1, most Illinois residents are required to wear masks while in public. 

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But the governor’s order "does not require or suggest that law enforcement should arrest or criminally charge concealed-carry license permit holders for wearing protective masks while in public, as long as they are complying with the other provisions of the Illinois Concealed Carry Act and are not committing any other violations of Illinois law," Illinois State Police said.

States clarifying the situation

We couldn’t find any state where wearing a protective mask while carrying a concealed weapon is currently banned. Here’s a look at the situation in several states, some of which were the subject of similar Facebook claims:

North Carolina: We’ve rated as False a claim that in North Carolina, "you can be charged with a felony for wearing a mask and concealed carrying." A state law — sometimes known as the anti-Ku Klux Klan law — forbids adults to conceal their identities in public. But it applies whether they’re carrying a concealed weapon or not. And the law was suspended in May for the coronavirus, although it expires Aug. 1.

Georgia: Fordham University law professor Nicholas Johnson noted that Georgia has a KKK-related law similar to North Carolina’s. But that law was suspended for people wearing masks because of the coronavirus in an April executive order from Gov. Brian Kemp.

Oregon: "Oregon law does not prohibit someone from wearing a mask while lawfully carrying a concealed weapon," reads a June 25 statement from Marion County Sheriff's Office. 

South Carolina: "There is no South Carolina concealed-weapons permit law that prohibits a South Carolina CWP holder from wearing a mask to comply with a city or a county health ordinance or to help stop the spread of COVID-19 while carrying a concealed weapon," reads a June 25 statement from the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division.

Utah: "Utah law has no prohibition against carrying a concealed firearm and wearing a mask," tweeted the Utah Department of Public Safety, June 24.

Virginia: Virginia has a law that generally prohibits the wearing of masks to conceal identity. Gov. Ralph Northam issued an executive order requiring masks for the coronavirus, leading to questions about concealed carry. The Augusta County Sheriff’s Office said May 28: "This order doesn’t restrict your ability to conceal a firearm legally."

We rate the statement False.

Our Sources

Facebook, post (archived here), June 23, 2020

PolitiFact, "Facebook post wrong about wearing mask, carrying concealed weapon in North Carolina," June 26, 2020 

FactCheck.org, "Wearing Face Mask During Pandemic Doesn’t Affect Concealed Carry Permit," June 26, 2020

Email, UCLA law professor Adam Winkler, June 28, 2020

Email, Fordham University law professor Nicholas Johnson, June 28, 2020

South Carolina Law Enforcement Division, statement, June 25, 2020

RAND Corp., "The Effects of Concealed-Carry Laws," April 22, 2020

Facebook, Augusta County (Va.) Sheriff’s Office post,  May 28, 2020

Facebook, Marion County (Ore.) Sheriff's Office post, June 25, 2020 

Email, Duke University law professor and Duke Center for Firearms Law co-director Darrell Miller, June 27, 2020 

Twitter, Utah Department of Public Safety tweet, June 24, 2020

NewsChannel20.com, "ISP responds to face coverings, concealed carry concern," April 28, 2020

North Carolina Law Review, "A Survey of Statutory Changes in North Carolina in 1953," June 1, 1953

Associated Press, "Gov. Kemp suspends Georgia's anti-mask law amid pandemic," April 15, 2020

Illinois General Assembly, unlawful use of weapons law, accessed June 27, 2020

Email, Wisconsin Carry chairman Nik Clark, June 27, 2020

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No, wearing a mask doesn’t void concealed-carry permit

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