Applying for a concealed weapons permit may seem like a daunting and expensive task. The process does vary on its technicalities from state to state but overall it is quite similar.
Regardless of the process, if you are going to conceal carry a firearm, applying for and obtaining this permit is absolutely necessary. Not only is the permit a legal necessity but it also teaches you what you can and cannot do. Carrying a firearm is great prevention and deterrent against criminals.
We will walk you through how to apply for a concealed carry permit as well as other considerations for once you obtain it.
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Which States Issue Concealed Carry Permits
To begin, you will need to determine if your state will even issue a concealed carry permit. There are three classifications and each one functions exactly as it sounds.
- No Issue States – These states do not issue concealed weapon permits to their residents. This list is short and technically only includes Washington D.C. However, there are a few other states that “may issue” permits but in reality, deny almost all of them. These states include Hawaii, New Jersey, and Maryland.
- May Issue States – This group of states may or may not issue concealed carry permits to its residents, and it is dependent on the issuing authority. In addition, applicants must have “good cause” for needing to conceal carry. Self-defense is not considered “good cause” and permits can be denied without cause. Aside from the states listed above that routinely deny permits, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, New York, and Rhode Island are on this list.
- Shall Issue States – All other states fall into this category and a “good cause” is not required. As long as the criteria are met, you will be granted a concealed carry permit.
If you live in a “shall issue” state, obtaining a concealed carry permit is relatively easy and follows similar steps.
Identify Issuing Authority
Living in a “shall issue” state is far from the last hurdle. Now, you will need to determine who the issuing authority is for your area. This is likely your local police or sheriff’s department but could also be the city government.
Once you’ve identified who will be applying to, you need to fill out all of your paperwork. The paperwork must be filled out completely because incomplete forms could mean denial of your permit.
Part of the reason you must identify who will issue your permit is that you will be submitting payment to them. No one wants to pay the wrong person, and very often, fees for concealed carry permits are non-refundable.
Training and Classes
Depending on your state, it is likely you will have to take a mandatory safety and educational course. This course typically consists of content based on your state’s laws surrounding firearms (both concealed carry and open carry), self-defense technicalities, as well as any other laws that can affect how or where you carry.
For example, most states have an alcohol statute. If you have a few alcoholic drinks at home and have to defend yourself with a firearm, even though you aren’t using your concealed weapons permit, the law can still get sticky.
Basically, it means that because you’ve been educated on the law and have a concealed weapons permit, you should know better than to shoot someone while drinking. This also means the state can revoke your concealed weapons permit.
This class will also teach about the legal places you can and cannot carry and your options of where to place your firearm while inside.
The other component of training will be live fire instruction. This portion of the class will teach you some basics of proper stance, firing, as well as becoming familiar with drawing your handgun from a concealed carry position.
After you’ve completed your paperwork, paid your fees, and attended the needed training, you will have to wait for your permit to be issued. This process shouldn’t take too long, but each state has its own laws on how long they have to issue. This could range from 2 weeks to 5 months.
While waiting for your permit, continue to follow the law and do not conceal carry your weapon.
However, a great idea is to get out to the range and practice pulling your firearm from where you will carry it.
This practice will put you at ease when you do carry and reinforces what you will do in the event that you need your weapon.
Renewing Your Permit
Keeping your permit up-to-date is important because it is a legal document and required for you to conceal carry your weapon. If your state allows open carry, you will still be able to do that if your permit lapses, but it is always smart to be ahead of the game and renew before it expires.
Another reason to keep your permit from expiring is that some states will allow you to simply renew the permit without retaking the safety classes. This can detract from cost and make the process a bit simpler.
How to Get a Concealed Weapons Permit: Safely Carrying
When you actually do get your concealed weapons permit, you will be educated on the law and the physical aspects of using your firearm while carrying in a concealed manner.
Something that may not always be covered in these classes is how to not attract attention, considering ways to carry extra ammunition and the idea of carrying a less than lethal weapon.
Scotsman Shield has great tips that compliment the earlier course material and gives valuable thoughts on staying safe.
Carrying in public isn’t for everyone, but if you’re going to keep a weapon on you at all times, openly or otherwise, taking a safety class is never a bad idea.
Learning how to apply for a concealed weapons permit does not mean you will become a better shot or a super sniper. Taking the class teaches you the laws involved with a concealed weapon. This is a great start, but to be effective, you should also consider further training.
No matter how you choose to defend yourself and your family, making an educated choice is beneficial. Consider teaching your older children basic safety as well–which can make for a fun family safety lesson!
Looking for more fun family activities? Check out the family section of our blog. We have tons of great ideas!