The weapons one can possess legally vary depending on local and state laws, as well as federal regulations. Most commonly, people think of firearms when they think of personal weapons, but this can also include knives, tasers, pepper sprays, and batons, among other things. Possession of a weapon, such as automatic firearms, explosive devices, and certain types of knives, is illegal in many jurisdictions.
A concealed weapon is typically a gun or knife that is hidden on a person’s body or belongings. The most common type of concealed weapon is a handgun, but other weapons, such as certain types of knives, can also sometimes be concealed legally.
How Do I Obtain a Concealed Carry Permit?
Obtaining a concealed carry permit involves several steps, which can differ depending on local and state laws. However, the process usually consists of the following:
Understand the Laws
Start by understanding the concealed carry laws of your state or municipality. Most state government websites will have information about concealed carry laws and the process for obtaining a permit. This step is crucial because the requirements vary from state to state.
Meet the Basic Requirements
Before you apply, you must meet certain criteria. Usually, this includes being a U.S. citizen or legal resident, being at least 21 years old (though some states allow 18), and residing in the state where you’re applying. You should also not have any felony convictions or certain types of misdemeanor convictions, and you must be physically capable of handling a firearm.
Complete a Firearm Training Course
Many states require proof of firearm safety training as part of the application process. This can often be a state-certified course that covers topics such as safe handling of firearms, basic marksmanship, cleaning and maintenance, storage, and understanding the laws around the use of deadly force.
Apply for the Permit
Once you’ve met all the criteria and have your paperwork in order, including proof of training if required, you can apply. Frequently, this involves submitting an application to your local sheriff’s office or state police department.
Background Check and Fingerprinting
After receiving your application, the issuing agency will run a background check, which includes a criminal history check and may involve a mental health records check. You will also be fingerprinted. This ensures that no laws prohibit you from owning or carrying a firearm.
Pay the Fees
There’s usually a non-refundable application fee that you must pay when you submit your application. The fee covers administrative costs, including the background check and fingerprinting. Fees vary by jurisdiction.
Wait for Approval
Once you’ve submitted your application and completed all requirements, you will need to wait for your application to be processed. The length of this waiting period varies, but you can typically expect to wait several weeks to a few months.
Receive Your Permit
If your application is approved, you will receive your concealed carry permit. This permit may be sent by mail, or you may need to pick it up in person.
Obtaining a permit doesn’t give you carte blanche to carry a firearm anywhere. There are still restrictions, which can vary widely from state to state, on where you can carry a concealed firearm. For example, many states prohibit carrying firearms in places such as schools, government buildings, and private properties where firearms are not allowed.
What Are Concealed Carry Permit Violations?
A Concealed Carry Violation, or CCW violation, occurs when a person fails to adhere to the laws and regulations regarding concealed carry in their jurisdiction. This could be carrying without a permit, carrying in prohibited locations (such as schools or government buildings), or failing to disclose to law enforcement that you are carrying when required.
Consider this scenario: John is a law-abiding citizen with a valid concealed carry permit in his home state of Arizona. He takes a trip to visit his cousin in California, bringing his concealed firearm with him. Unaware that California does not have a reciprocity agreement with Arizona, John mistakenly assumes that his Arizona concealed carry permit is valid in California.
While visiting a government building in California, a metal detector reveals John’s concealed firearm. Because he is carrying a concealed weapon in a prohibited place and without a California concealed carry permit, John is in violation of California’s concealed carry laws. He could face charges, fines, potential jail time, and the suspension or revocation of his Arizona concealed carry permit.
A minor in possession of a weapon charge is a separate offense that typically involves a person under the age of 18 possessing a firearm or other weapon. This charge could be compounded with a CCW violation if the minor was also carrying the weapon concealed.
Consider this example: Sarah, who is 16 years old, lives in a state where it’s illegal for anyone under 18 to possess a handgun. Her older brother, who legally owns a handgun, leaves it in a drawer before he goes to work. Sarah, curious about the weapon, takes it and decides to carry it in her backpack to show her friends at school.
On the way to school, she’s stopped by a police officer for a minor traffic violation. The officer, noticing the outline of the gun in Sarah’s backpack, investigates and finds the handgun. Not only is Sarah now facing a minor in possession of a weapon charge, but she could also be charged with a concealed carry violation because the weapon was hidden in her backpack. In this scenario, Sarah might face juvenile court proceedings, and her brother could also potentially face charges for negligently storing his firearm where a minor could access it.
If I Have a Valid Concealed Carry Permit in My Home State, Will Another State Recognize It?
Whether another state recognizes your concealed carry permit depends on reciprocity agreements between states. Some states recognize all other state permits, some recognize only certain states, and others do not recognize any out-of-state permits.
You’ll need to research the specific laws for any state you plan to visit with your concealed carry weapon. To research the specific laws for any state regarding carrying a concealed weapon, you can follow these steps:
- Visit the official website of the state: Go to the official website of the state you plan to visit. Typically, the website will have a section dedicated to firearms laws, public safety, or law enforcement.
- Search for firearm laws: Look for information related to firearm laws, concealed carry, or weapons regulations on the state’s website. This may vary depending on the state, so you might need to explore different sections or use the search function.
- Check the state’s statutes or legal code: Many state websites provide access to their statutes or legal code. Look for sections related to firearms, concealed carry, or weapons laws. These statutes will outline the specific regulations and requirements you need to be aware of.
- Review relevant laws and regulations: Read through the applicable laws and regulations to understand the specific requirements for carrying a concealed weapon in that state. Look for information about permits, reciprocity with other states, prohibited locations, and any additional restrictions or obligations.
Do I Need an Attorney Who Handles Weapons Offenses?
If you are charged with a weapons offense or a CCW violation, it is highly recommended to seek legal advice. Even if you believe you were in compliance with the law, these are serious charges that can have significant legal consequences. An attorney who handles weapons offenses will understand the complexities of these laws and can provide guidance and representation.
LegalMatch is a service that can connect you with a criminal lawyer in your area. Our vetted attorneys practice in various areas, including weapons offenses, and can help you navigate the legal process. Don’t wait. Seek legal assistance immediately if you are facing any charges related to weapon offenses.