• Phil Nelsen

The Definitive Guide to Guns & Masks (COVID-19)

Can you wear a mask while carrying a firearm? Until March 2020, this question had never really been asked. Given recent events, however, it has now become something gun owners need to know. Recently a viral meme has been spreading related to wearing masks while carrying:


This post has been marked as "False Information" by Facebook and has also been deemed False by Politifact & Factcheck.org. Showing their level of analysis, Politifact cited a few sheriffs they interviewed and a tweet by the state of Utah to conclude "No, wearing a mask doesn’t void concealed-carry permit."


It is not, however, that simple. There are dozens of laws relating to the wearing of masks in the United States. Although there is no federal law prohibiting the carrying of firearms while masked, there are many state laws that can restrict one's conduct while wearing a mask (including the carrying of a firearm).


We have scoured all 50 states' laws to bring you this definitive resource for laws relating to masks and carrying a firearm. Click on your state in the below map. If your state has a law prohibiting carrying while wearing a mask you will find the law cited along with an explanation.


Many of the state laws prohibiting masks are mens rea crimes. Mens Rea is the state of mind that the prosecution, to secure a conviction, must prove that a defendant had when committing a crime (i.e. the mens rea for theft is the intent to deprive the rightful owner of the property). Meaning, wearing a mask by itself would not generally constitute a crime, it must be accompanied by an intent to intimidate or do something else unlawful. There are, however, some states that simply have blanket bans on wearing masks, so click through the below map to see how the laws vary from state to state.

Masks & Guns - State By State Law Summary


If you are interested in learning more about firearm laws or get some top quality training (online or in-person) make sure to check out Legal Heat's training courses that are available nationwide. Also, to stay up to date on these laws make sure to download the FREE Legal Heat mobile phone application. Simply search Legal Heat in the App Store.




Phil Nelsen is a nationally recognized firearms law attorney, expert witness, college professor, author and co-founder of Legal Heat, the nation’s largest firearms training firm and exclusive national CCW training provider to Cabela’s.

Legal Heat offers CCW classes nationwide, and also publishes the industry leading Legal Heat 50 State Guide to Firearm Laws and Regulations which can be downloaded on iTunes, GooglePlay and Kindle App stores. You can purchase the paperback version of the Legal Heat 50 State Guide or sign up for a class at Legal Heat


DISCLAIMER: The information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice; instead, all information, content, and materials available on this site are for general informational purposes only.  Information on this website may not constitute the most up-to-date legal or other information.  This website contains links to other third-party websites.  Such links are only for the convenience of the reader, user or browser; Legal Heat, Phil Nelsen, and its members do not recommend or endorse the contents of the third-party sites.

Readers of this website should contact their attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular legal matter.  No reader, user, or browser of this site should act or refrain from acting on the basis of information on this site without first seeking legal advice from counsel in the relevant jurisdiction. 

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© 2018 by Phillip Nelsen