Concealed carry, or CCW (carrying a concealed weapon), refers to the practice of carrying a handgun or other weapon in public in a concealed or hidden manner, either on one's person or in close proximity. While most law enforcement officers carry their duty pistol in a visible holster, some officers, such as plainclothes detectives or undercover agents, carry their pistols in concealed holsters. In some countries and jurisdictions, some civilians are legally able to carry concealed handguns.
The practice of CCW is illegal in Canada but permitted under rare circumstances. Section 90 of the Criminal Code prohibits carrying a concealed weapon unless authorized under the Firearms Act. Section 20 of the Firearms Act allows issuance of an Authorization to Carry (ATC) in limited circumstances. Concealment of the firearm is permitted only if specifically stipulated in the conditions of the ATC, as section 58(1) of the Firearms Act allows a CFO to attach conditions to an ATC.
Provincial chief firearm officers (CFOs) may only issue an authorization in accordance with the regulations. Specifically, SOR 98-207 section 2 requires, for an ATC for protection of life, that an individual be in imminent danger and that police protection is insufficient. As such, where the relevant police agency determines its protection is sufficient, the CFO would have difficulty in issuing the ATC over police objections.
For issuance of an ATC under 98-207(3) for lawful occupations, provision is made for armored car personnel under subsection a), for wildlife protection (while working) and trapping under subsections b) and c). Unless hunting or other activity is occupational, it would not be possible to issue an ATC under this section. As noted, while a CFO can exercise some discretion, they must follow the law when considering applications for an ATC.
In the Czech Republic, holders of D category (exercise of profession) E category (self defense) gun license may carry a concealed firearm. Subject to fulfillment of legal requirements (e.g. clean criminal record, passing qualification exam, etc.), the license is shall issue. Open carry is restricted only to members of Municipal Police and the Czech National Bank's security while on duty (both subject to D license) and National Police (not considered as civilians though, no license needed).
Concealed-carry licenses are hard to obtain in Mexico but there is leeway if the applicant is wealthy and has political connections. Concealed-carry licenses authorize possession of pistols of up to .380 ACP caliber. In the face of rising crime, private citizens arm themselves despite the difficulty of obtaining a proper permit.
Concealed carry is legal in most jurisdictions of the United States. A handful of states and jurisdictions severely restrict or ban CCW, but all jurisdictions make provision for legal concealed carry via a permit or license, or via constitutional carry. Illinois was the last state to pass a law allowing for concealed carry, with license applications available on January 5, 2014. Most states that require a permit for CCW have "shall-issue" statutes; that is, if a person meets the requirements to obtain a permit, the issuing authority (typically a state law enforcement office such as the state police) must issue one, with no discretionary power given. California, New Jersey, New York, Maryland, Delaware, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Washington D.C. have "may-issue" statutes; these states may (or may not) issue permits to carry if a person meets the requirements to obtain one. However, in may-issue states Massachusetts, New York, and California, the issuance of the permit is dependent on county. It is generally seen that in those states, the issuing is permissive in rural and certain urban and suburban counties, but generally restrictive in places like Boston (Massachusetts), New York City (New York), and San Francisco (California). States with may-issue statutes typically allow authorities (usually the county sheriff or police chief in the jurisdiction) to issue permits based upon a demonstrated need, such as a job requiring the transport of large sums of money. Retired police officers, judges, and federal agents also may cite a need based on personal security. In practice, this subjective element means that rural jurisdictions typically award many more carry permits than urban ones, including states such as Illinois and California.
Further complicating the status of concealed carry is recognition of state permits under the laws of other states. The Full Faith and Credit Clause of the U.S. Constitution pertains to judgments and other legal pronouncements such as marriage and divorce, rather than licenses and permits that authorize individuals to prospectively engage in activities. There are several popular combinations of resident and non-resident permits that allow carry in more states than the original issuing state; for example, a Utah non-resident permit allows carry in 25 states. Some states, however, do not recognize permits issued by other states to non-residents (of the issuing state): Colorado, Florida, Maine, Michigan, New Hampshire, and South Carolina. Some other states do not recognize any permit from another state: California, Connecticut, Oregon Hawaii, Illinois (under its new law), Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, or Washington D.C.. Legislative efforts to resolve the issue have been made, but are generally met with protests that doing so would undermine the right of a state to hold residents to higher standards than a neighboring state.
In South Africa, it is legal to carry all licensed firearms and there is no additional permit required to carry firearms open or concealed, as long as it is license firearm is carried:
- in the case of a handgun —
- in a holster or similar holder designed, manufactured or adapted for the carrying of a handgun and attached to his or her person; or
- in a rucksack or similar holder; or
- in the case of any other firearm, in a holder designed, manufactured or adapted for the carrying of the firearm.
A firearm contemplated in subsection
- must be completely covered and the person carrying the firearm must be able to exercise effective control over such firearm (Carrying firearms in public is allowed if done in that manner).
In South Africa, private guns are prohibited in educational institutions, churches, community centres, health facilities, NGOs, taverns, banks, corporate buildings, government buildings and some public spaces such as sport stadiums.
Concealed carry in Slovakia is not common, only 2 % of the adult Slovak population hold a license allowing CC. Getting a handgun for home defense is much easier, yet a buyer still need to meet several conditions – generally one must be at least 21 years old, free of a criminal history and in a full state of mental and physical health to apply for a gun license. Fulfilling these terms, one needs to take an oral exam that covers questions from gun laws, first aid etc.
The complete way to possessing a handgun takes about three weeks and a non-professional can obtain a concealed carry license under a very rare circumstances. Gun licenses regulated by law can be issued in 6 categories: A - carrying for defense (rarely), B - possession at home for defense, C - gun-holding for work purposes, D - long guns for hunting, E - gun holding for sport shooting, F - guns collecting. 
Air guns, gas pistols and non-repeating muzzle-loaded guns are available to anybody above 18 without permission. Fully automatic guns, sound suppressors and hollow-point bullets (when used for self-defense) are forbidden.
- Constitutional carry
- Defensive gun use
- Gun politics
- Open carry
- Students for Concealed Carry
- Weapon possession (crime)
- Kocherga, Angela. "Some gun owners in Mexico defy the law to defend themselves". Retrieved 2012-04-20. at KVUE.com News, 14 May 2011
- "Concealed Carry in Slovakia". 2014. Retrieved 2015-06-10.