Why Get a CCW Permit in a Constitutional Carry State?
Why would anyone pay for a course – and then pay again for a concealed carry permit – when they live in a constitutional carry state? Below are the three reasons why I chose to do it that went beyond the educational benefits of going through more formal training.
But first, a little background.
I live in Arizona. It's one of the most gun-friendly states in America, and it has constitutional carry. This means that any Arizona resident, or U.S citizen, is eligible to carry a concealed gun as long as they are at least 21 years old and are permitted to possess a firearm. Currently, half the country recognizes the right to carry without a government-issued permit.
Even though this is the case, I recently completed a two-day certified concealed carry course. It cost $75, including having my fingerprints taken.
Once you complete a course, you can apply for a CCW permit. For this, you submit your fingerprints, application form, proof of course completion, and a money order for $60. It takes approximately 60 days to get your CCW card. A CCW is good for five years, at which time you can renew it for $10 for another five years.
I'll quickly add that I am currently waiting to receive my physical CCW permit.
PEN AND PAPER ONLY
Surprisingly, there was no gun training involved in the course. It wasn’t even necessary to have shot a gun. Of course, training was highly recommended. But all that was needed for the course was a pen and paper.
Over the course of six hours, three hours each day, a highly knowledgeable instructor went over the Arizona concealed carry laws. Even though these laws are readily available to read online, it was helpful to review them with an authority.
After reviewing the laws, we delved into a multitude of scenarios and situations where the use of deadly force would be legally defendable. More than once, the instructor reminded us that the best fight is the fight that never happens. The last 30 minutes were devoted to a representative from USCCA enlightening us on the importance of concealed carry insurance and how that works.
Overall, I felt as though the class was worth it. I came away with a much clearer understanding of the responsibilities of concealed carrying.
While education is probably the best reason of all to go through a concealed carry course, I did have other personal reasons that went beyond training for why I wanted to get my CCW permit.
Number one was reciprocity. An AZ CCW permit, at the time of publishing, is recognized by 37 states. That’s an impressive number of states that will allow me to carry. That alone, in my opinion, is enough reason to get a CCW permit.
The second reason is to simplify the process of interacting with law enforcement if I am ever stopped for a traffic violation. Arizona law does not require me to inform the officer that I’m carrying. However, if they ask, I must tell them.
With a permit, there are some things that can make this easier. For one thing, the officer may know that I could have a permit by running my registration. But they would also know that I have taken steps to be an educated gun owner by going through a course. If needed, I also have the ability to simply hand the officer my permit along with my firearm to make that interaction simpler and safer for both of us.
On the one hand, it shows that I am invested in safety and following the law. On the other, it can make interacting with law enforcement easier for everyone involved.
The third and final reason is to speed up NICS background checks when I have a gun shipped to my FFL at my local gun shop. My current wait time is anywhere from an hour to a few days - usually the latter. Having a CCW is supposed to speed up this process. So, I'm looking forward to that.
Currently, 25 states have so-called Brady exemption agreements with the ATF in which valid CCW/CHLs are accepted in lieu of a NICS check. You still have to do the 4473, and the dealer can still decide not to sell you a gun if you seem sketchy (talking about assassinations, doing a bump of coke at the counter, scratching imaginary bugs under your skin, et. al), but if you have a card, you can really cut down on your time waiting for NICS.
So, in conclusion, I think there are a number of very valid reasons why it is worth getting a CCW permit even if you live in a state that has constitutional carry. I’m happy that I completed my course, and I look toward to receiving my permit. I also look forward to getting more training.
Plus, I also got to interact with an instructor and ask questions alongside other people going through the course. So, you have the chance to meet other people inside the concealed carry community, and you don't have to do all the work alone to stay informed.