What if you were in a life-threatening situation and didn’t have access to your firearm?
Most gun owners feel a bit safer when they have their gun with them. But it may be illegal in your area to carry your gun into certain places unless you have a concealed carry license.
But how does this license work? What can it do for you, and how can you get licensed? Keep reading to discover the answers to these questions!
What Is a Concealed Carry Permit?
Our guide is going to help you learn all you need to know about getting a concealed carry license. First, we need to answer the big question: what is this license, anyway?
This license (sometimes known as a CCW permit) does exactly what it sounds like: it authorizes you to carry your firearm in a concealed manner. This may include a holster, though many licensees conceal their weapon in a backpack, bag, purse, and so on.
This license is the single best way for gun owners to keep themselves protected at all times. However, depending on where you live, you may not need this special license at all.
Do I Need This Special License?
The short answer is “it depends where you live.” At the federal level, the government makes no restriction on the carry of firearms. But each state has its own levels of restriction.
However, Constitutional carry states are still in the minority of states in the country. If you live outside of such a state, or plan on traveling outside of a Constitutional carry state, it’s important that you get a concealed carry license.
Some states are known as Constitutional carry states, such as Texas, which was very recently declared a constitutional carry state. That means that you can carry a firearm without any special license or permit. Other states have tighter restrictions ranging from the age of the gun owner to what they can carry and how they can carry it.
“Shall Issue” and “May Issue” States: Know the Difference
By now, you should know whether or not your state will require you to get a CCW permit to carry a concealed firearms for use in self-defense or not. And if a permit is required, then you need to find out whether you are in a “shall issue” state or a “may issue” state.
In a “shall issue” state, requirements for the CCW permit are very straightforward. So long as you meet all the requirements (which usually involve being at least 21 years old and completing a gun safety course), then the state will automatically issue your permit.
In a “may issue” state, you must still meet all of the requirements for the license. But these states typically require you to justify why you need the permit, and they reserve the right to refuse to issue the license. Obviously, you should be honest with the state, but the most persuasive reason for needing a CCW permit is that you are worried for the safety of yourself or your family.
Now that you know more about this permit and the differences between the states, let’s explain how you can get certified for a concealed carry license.
Do Your Own Research
Given what we already touched on above, you might have guessed the first step. And here it is: you need to do your homework before you really get started.
In this case, “homework” involves checking out the state and federal requirements for gun ownership (federal requirements are usually things like former convicts or dishonorably discharged soldiers not being able to buy a gun). Basically, you need to make sure there will be nothing stopping you from owning and carrying a gun in the first place.
Next, you need to look into your state’s stance on CCW. Do you live in a Constitutional carry state or not? If not, do you live in a “shall issue” state or a “may issue” state?
Once you have the answers, it’s time for the next step.
Taking the Right Course
There may be some differences in how states treat concealed carry laws, but there is one thing most all of them have in common: if you want to apply for a concealed carry license, you should take a training course beforehand.
Courses from licensed and professional trainers help you learn more about defensive shooting, your rights to disclose firearms at a traffic stops, and general principles of self-defense.
Completing this course can help you better defend your home and even defend yourself from things like lawsuits and jail time. Mostly, though, completing this course lets you apply for your permit, as it proves you understand responsible gun ownership.
Fill Out the Application
Once you complete the course, it’s time for you to complete your concealed carry license application. Your state is going to have its own specific submission process. However, you will almost certainly need to complete a form and then submit copies of your fingerprints, driver’s license, background check, and the certificate from the training course you attended.
You will need to pay a small processing fee when you apply. Then it’s only a matter of waiting for your application to be processed and approved, which if it is, you will likely be notified by mail.
How To Keep Your License Current
Once you have your CCW permit, you’re good to go. But you should be aware of the need to keep that permit current.
Your state will outline any requirements for renewing your permit, including how often you will need to do it. In many cases, renewal is a simple process you complete online.
You may or may not have to complete additional training as part of your renewal. But even if this isn’t required, you may want to take more defensive firearms courses to stay informed on new gun laws while keeping your skills polished.
Get Started Today
Now you know how to get your own concealed carry license. And the biggest part of this process is completing the required safety course.
Fortunately, we make it easy for you to complete these courses. When you’re ready to train, just check out these convenient locations so you can go ahead and get started!