How To Apply For A Concealed Carry Permit: A Quick Guide
How To Get A Concealed Carry Permit
Today, we're going to guide you through the process of applying for a concealed carry permit, or as some may know it - a CCW (carrying concealed weapon) permit. If you're an armed citizen, or you're considering becoming one, knowing how to legally carry your firearm is crucial.
Just a heads up, though, rules and guidelines can vary widely from state to state, so it's essential to familiarize yourself with your local laws. If you'd like to get a basic overview of your state's concealed carry laws, head over to our 50 State Guide To Concealed Carry Laws.
Ready to dive in? Let's start!
Know The Concealed Carry Permit Laws In Your State
First things first: You'll want to get familiar with your state's laws regarding concealed carry permits.
While federal law establishes a baseline, states have an incredible amount of latitude. Some states are "shall-issue” states, which means the state must issue a permit to any applicant who meets the legal requirements.
Others are "may-issue" states, where the authorities have discretion over whether to issue a permit, even if the applicant meets all the requirements.
Then you have constitutional carry states, which don't require a permit.
You'll want to make sure you look up and understand the concealed carry permit laws of your state, so you know a bit more about how it will work for you.
Make Sure You Meet Concealed Carry Permit Requirements
The next step is to ensure that you're eligible to apply by meeting the baseline concealed carry permit requirements.
Every state is different, but some things are the same everywhere. You need to be a legal US resident, with no felony convictions, active warrants, restraining orders, and no convictions for certain misdemeanor offenses (usually crimes of violence like assault, domestic violence and so on) that would disqualify you from possessing a gun in the first place.
In most cases, you need to be at least 21 years old to apply for a concealed carry permit. This isn't the case everywhere though, as states like Montana and Vermont allow folks who are 18 and older to apply.
Some states add some additional requirements, like residency (some states let residents and non-residents apply, some don't) and so on, so make sure you check your state laws.
If Required, Take A Concealed Carry Training Course
Most states require you to take a concealed carry training course to qualify for a concealed carry permit. You'll have to submit proof, so just saying you took the class isn't good enough.
The course content and length can vary significantly by state, but typically, you could expect a blend of classroom work and live-fire training. It's a fantastic opportunity to learn for the first time or refresh your knowledge about firearm safety, usage, and legal considerations.
Some states will require a qualification shoot, meaning you'll have to shoot your gun at targets and be graded at how well you do.
Get Your Concealed Carry Permit Paperwork Together
Once you've got your training done and dusted, you'll need to assemble the required documents for your concealed carry permit application.
You'll typically need a copy of your driver's license or other state-issued ID, proof of residency, your firearms safety course certificate, and possibly, fingerprints for a background check.
As far as the fingerprint requirements, some states require you to get fingerprinting done by a third party, and in some states you'll be fingerprinted by local law enforcement. Make sure you know what the fingerprinting process is for you.
Again, these can vary by state, so make sure you've got everything you need on your checklist!
Submit Your Concealed Carry Permit Application!
Once you have all the necessary documention together, it's time to submit your concealed carry permit application.
Like everything else, this varies by state and you need to figure out how you have to do that where you live. In some states, you have to submit your application in person and in others you can submit it by mail or online.
In any event, after you've made sure you meet the requirements, gathered all the requisite paperwork and submitted it in the fashion prescribed by state law, then it's time to wait until you get it!