So, you’re looking to buy yourself a gun and carry it legally. This process is either going to be very simple or a bit more complicated. In some cases, the process is so simple that… Well, there is no process.
Some states allow you to carry a weapon, openly or concealed, without needing a permit at all. Other states have the right to refuse you service after extensive background checks based on their specific carry laws.
The rules and regulations vary for each state. To begin getting your concealed weapons permit, you need to do your homework. Check the regulations for where you live and find out exactly what is required in the state you live in.
Fortunately, thanks to The Department of Safety and Homeland Security (located in Tennessee), there are steps you can take online to simplify the process. Their home website contains applications, resources, and phone numbers for any of your questions. Going through them and their website is the safest and easiest way of starting your online process properly.
There are helpful things to know regardless of whether you’re interested in retrieving a permit online or in person. As was mentioned, guidelines differ from state to state. We’ve provided state-related listings below for you to follow to help you analyze the ease of access to weapons licenses in your particular state.
The First Steps You Need To Take
However, it’s important to note the care that must be taken in obtaining and owning a firearm. Most states adhere to the Castle Doctrine, so you have the right to protect your home (castle) and your family. This is a form of self-defense, not an enabling of extreme offensive measures.
Some states do have a “stand your ground” law in place that enables you to take certain actions given a threatening scenario. Other states have a “duty to retreat” law in place that gives the priority of engagement to the closest law enforcement agency.
Most places online or in-person that require a permit will ask that you have information on hand to aid in the application process, and in some cases, provide a background check. But in any case, you should at least be prepared to provide some documentation or ID such as a driver’s license, your fingerprints, a certificate for a firearms safety training course, and a processing fee.
There’s also the application itself which will be specifically tailored to the state that you live in. You can find online samples of concealed weapon permits if you want to track the information that will need to be filled out on the application. Still, you can usually find the application itself within one of your state’s official government websites.
If you’ve successfully submitted your application and you’re waiting for the permit, then the wait time will be anywhere from a week to six months. There’s no saying where your wait time will fall inside this spectrum; an estimate is usually given to you upon submitting your application, and there is even a way to track it.
Carry With Pride
Once you’ve gotten your permit, it is natural to be excited. When you go to carry your gun, you want to carry it with pride.
You can make your gun a true one-of-a-kind when you wrap it with a GunSkins vinyl wrap. These wraps make your gun wholly unique, as well as provide critical camouflage capabilities when hunting.
In the United States, “may-carry” states allow for the carrying of a concealed firearm and sometimes allow for the weapon to be carried openly as well.
However, may-carry states will always require that you have your weapon permit already in hand—literally having it “in hand” or on your person, if you want to avoid being arrested. Members of federal law enforcement, retired law enforcement officers, and probation officers may have other specific applications and permits they need to show and carry.
The may-carry title is also there for a reason. You “may” be issued a permit, meaning it is up to the authorities whether or not your application is successful, even after all your efforts.
This is usually because of the background check that these states require upon trying to own and carry a gun. If your background check reveals that you are on parole, have a restraining order or protective order on you, a felony conviction, or more, you may be denied. Additionally, if you are found to be under the influence of alcohol or are an unlawful user of another type of controlled substance, this is a serious offense. Arrests could be made.
If the authorities are not impressed by your level of skill, your age, state of residency, or consider you unstable in some way, then they have the right to not issue you your carrying handgun permit.
These are the may-carry states offering to issue concealed weapon permits after an application process and evaluation:
- New Jersey
- New York
- Rhode Island
Shall-carry states are fairly straightforward. In some instances, these states can control whether or not they will issue a concealed weapons license, but typically it is easier to obtain a permit in one of these states.
To put it simply, shall-carry states are states that “shall” issue a concealed weapon permit, so long as all the proper documentation and proof are provided. Refusals are rare and usually occur due to improper submissions or inaccurate documentation along with the application.
To review, shall-carry states offer to issue concealed weapon permits after an application process and probable evaluation. These shall-carry states include Florida, Alaska, Montana, and more.
There is a concealed weapon permit, but there is also an open-carry permit as well. Some states have restrictions on both. Other states may have restrictions, like age limits, on only the open-carry permit. It’s difficult to track the concealed weapon details of a state without knowing the open-carry regulations as well.
You may notice that the availability of an open-carry permit exists both in may-carry states as well as shall-carry states. This means that the refusal of your open-carry permit application is always a possibility and requires you to be just as thorough and careful with your application process—probably even more careful.
Permitless states are obviously the easiest states to obtain and carry a gun in. In these states, minimal questions are asked upon owning and purchasing a gun, and applications for permits are unnecessary in order to be able to carry one.
Continue to do your research for your specific state. Some states do not require a permit for a concealed weapon but do require a permit for openly carrying a weapon.
In most of these permitless states, to filter who gets to use a weapon, age limits are the only enforcement. Being 18 years of age or older will ensure that you are safe enough to carry a weapon in most states. Other states require the age of 21.
Vermont is an outsider, allowing 16-year-olds to own and carry weapons without a permit. It is advised that if you are under 18 years old, anything regarding the handling of guns should be strictly supervised by a guardian or adult.
After reading through the typical process, documentation required, and variations between all the different states, we hope you feel more equipped and confident to attempt to obtain a concealed weapon permit.
As long as you’re following the laws and regulations of your particular state then you shouldn’t have too much trouble obtaining your permit, besides a potentially extensive waiting period. What drives authorities to refuse a permit most of the time is a past criminal record or concerning medical history.
If you’re worried about your level of skill and whether or not you’re capable of carrying a weapon responsibly, that is a worthy concern to have. Note that when applying for your permit, you will usually be taken through exercises to judge your skills. So, in the meantime, you can hone the skills you already have (or wish to have) by visiting a shooting range. Additionally, if your state requires it, make sure you register your gun.
Constant Practice and Careful Care
Shooting ranges are very healthy for anyone looking to carry a gun. It will teach you how to use one well and carry it responsibly, and you don’t even need a permit to visit a range. They do require you to show a form of identification to prove you are 18 years old or older. Otherwise, you simply need to bring adult supervision.
The last thing to note is that even if you finally get that permit in hand, concealed carry or open carry, you may need to fill out a renewal application after the expiration date of your current license. The same applies to most other skill-based permits, like CPR certifications.
The same applies to owning a gun. Even if you live in a state that allows you to carry and use one with very little restriction, you should treat it with care and safety and practice with it to familiarize yourself with your own weapon—for your sake and the sake of others.