Rejected CCW Permit - Legal Hang-Ups in the Concealed Weapons Permit Application Process
Life is simple. The law isn't. And unfortunately, for many people looking to obtain a concealed carry permit, there are a number of hoops that need to be jumped through prior to obtaining one.
We here at Alien Gear Holsters get a lot of questions in regards to different legalities like if a spouse has a criminal record or do ccw classes have to be taken prior to applying. While states tend to regulate these affairs individually, we'll try to give a good overview of a few different CCW stipulations.
DISCLAIMER: The information used to create this article is based upon openly accessed media and law records. It is meant only as a point of easy reference but should never be used to substitute an actual in-depth look at a resident's own state laws concerning the concealed carry weapon permit application process. Always consult an attorney if you feel you may be operating in a legal gray area.
Obtaining a CCW with a Criminal Record
Violations of the law can often break down into two major simple categories – misdemeanor and felony offenses. While these two broad categories then striate out into a myriad of different distinctions, felonies tend to be the major nail in the proverbial coffin when it comes to getting a concealed carry permit.
In almost every state, a felony is an automatic bar from a concealed carry permit. In most cases, it also strictly limits one's ability to legally own and use certain firearms at all.
There are five basic phases of a felony or violent misdemeanor charge which will result in an immediate bar or stop in the CCW application process:
Under Indictment – You are being actively investigated and are in the court proceedings for specific charges levied against you.
Charged – You have been formally charged with a crime. A judge and jury have not decided whether or not you are guilty or not-guilty.
Convicted – A judge has formally declared you guilty of a crime or crimes.
Guilty Plea – In a bid to reduce or alleviate sentencing, you have pled guilty to a crime.
Adjudicated as Delinquent – You were formally charged and convicted of a crime as a juvenile.
The notable exception is when a felony has been expunged. This is the very costly process of getting a court to erase a prior offense from the records. In most cases, this results in the court's ruling being sealed – under which law enforcement and other authorities must obtain a higher permission to breach that seal.
If you have had prior felonies but they have all been expunged and you have court documents veritably proving this – you may still be eligible to apply for a CCW permit in some states. Conditions apply.
Misdemeanors That Kill CCW Applications
Having a misdemeanor, in most states, in of itself does not disqualify an applicant.
A class of misdemeanors related to domestic violence, abuse, harassment, and/or trafficking illegal substances generally become the strike point in the application proceedings.
For these types of offenses, the only way of getting around them is to have them expunged as well. Violent offenses and drug trafficking offenses are generally not expunged. There are case examples for the expunging of minor possession charges but that is usually on a state-by-state basis. As always, consult an attorney.
CCW and Mental Competency
We all know plenty of people who seemingly skate the fine line of mental competency – yet there is a very important distinction that has to be made before it can halt or delay the CCW application process.
In most states, mental competency is something determined as a result of a court order and is regulated by both state and federal laws. Events such as being committed to an institution, being found to be mentally ill and subject to hospitalization by a court's decision all tie into that. Take a look at this chart that lists of how each state regulates firearm possession by the mentally ill.
We're purposefully not bringing up psychoactive medications and prescriptions because those are truly concepts that fall square into the legal arena. There are medicines that will undoubtedly impair judgment in some form or fashion and, when such a question arises, it is best to consult your physician and attorney to determine the best approach.
Would you consider moving to a more gun friendly state?
About The Author
James England (@sir_jim_england) is the contributing editor for Alien Gear Holsters. He is a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom and private defense contracting in Afghanistan.