Can you wear a mask while carrying a firearm? Until March 2020, most gun owners would have never thought to ask this question. 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 sheriff’s they interviewed and a tweet 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 statutes. 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.