Everything about our guide to concealed carry is defined in generalizations. The reason for that is every state is different. While some states may have concealed carry classes, other states don’t. Also, states that do, offer classes may be slightly different or completely different.
Some states have Constitutional Carry Laws, which means you can carry concealed or open (again, depending on the state) without any kind of permit, so long as you are not prohibited from owning or carrying by law.
The last factor worth considering is that many states are rapidly evolving their gun laws. For instance, Alabama used to require nothing more than a $15 to $35 permit (depending on your county). Now, Alabama is a Constitutional Carry state, and there is no need for a permit. That change was made very recently.
Concealed Carry Guide
How Long are Concealed Carry Classes
Some states require residents to take concealed carry classes if they want to carry a concealed firearm. Since most concealed carry classes cover just the basics (mostly regarding gun safety, rather than carrying concealed), you won’t learn everything there is to know about carrying concealed.
These classes typically last a single day. Firearm safety courses usually last longer and are either substituted for concealed carry classes or combined. Jump on any concealed carry class, in any state, and you will most likely think you are in a firearm safety course.
That’s because these classes spend 95% of the time on gun safety and the remaining 5% on carrying concealed. That’s not a knock against gun safety. Gun safety is highly important without a doubt. It is a knock against these classes because they eat up an entire day or longer without actually teaching you all of the fundamentals of carrying concealed.
Only a few states have inordinately long concealed carry classes, usually because they include much more than just concealed carry. Most of those states are pretty restrictive where their gun laws are concerned. The longest classes are the all-encompassing ones, which include safety training, concealed carry, maintenance, etc.
How long is a Concealed Carry Class Certificate Good For
That depends on the state. In most states, you only have to take a single class, and then you have to pay a fee to the country Sheriff’s Department (the county in which you reside). After that, you get your CCP.
In general, permits last one year. Some states offer more years at an increased cost but discounted from what you would pay if you renewed annually. Although you obtain your permit in the county you live in, the permit qualifies you for concealed carry throughout the entire state.
In some states, it’s not the length of the concealed carry permit that’s the problem. It’s the waiting time to receive it in the mail or to go down and pick it up. Depending on the state, it can take months to receive your CCP (Concealed Carry Permit).
Why is that the case? Who knows. Some states claim that it’s a processing issue, and there are a lot of applicants. That hardly warrants a two to three-month waiting period. Other states claim it’s a cool-down period, in case you’re enraged and considering doing something awful.
What States Honor a Concealed Carry Permit
Most states will honor a concealed carry permit, to one degree or another. Then some states now have legal Constitutional Carry, which is also known as permitless carry. Only one state refuses to issue concealed carry permits, and that’s Vermont.
Massachusetts, New York, Connecticut, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Hawaii, and California are “may issue” states, which is another way of saying you’re not going to get one. In the states that are “may issue,” you still have to complete an application, pay the fees, and take courses just to be told “no.”
In rare cases, they will issue a concealed carry permit. Most of the time, however, you shouldn’t expect it. Many states are considered “reciprocal” states. A reciprocal state will honor the concealed carry permits of non-residents who received their CCP in another state.
To understand which states practice concealed carry reciprocity, you have to use a website calculator such as this one. Determining which states reciprocate is difficult because it changes depending on the state you received your CCP in.
The following states don’t follow reciprocity: Illinois, South Carolina, California, Oregon, Washington, Hawaii, Colorado, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Rhode Island, New York, Connecticut, New Jersey, Massachusetts, and Delaware.
The two states with the largest number of non-resident permits issued are Florida and Utah. No other states are even close. Utah has 424,531 non-resident permits, while Florida has 221,440. The next closest state is Virginia, with 42,924.
It’s very difficult to provide a straight and simple answer to common concealed carry questions, simply because each state has a mind of its own. America’s government was designed as a system with three branches—executive, legislative, and judicial.
The states follow that format, each having a governor, supreme court, and legislative body. So long as state laws don’t conflict with federal law or the constitution, it’s valid state law.
It’s a matter of concern when traveling across several states, even if you have a concealed carry permit because some states won’t honor it. It’s always a good idea to check each state before traveling, so you never find yourself in a tight spot with the law.
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