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Do I Need a Permit in a State with Constitutional Carry?

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Concealed Carry
Do you need a permit in constitutional carry states?

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We can already feel the hackles going up on the backs of many of our readers as they read that headline with the resounding “Oh, hell no!” sounding off louder than last night’s cheers of “Happy New Year!” But here’s some food for thought, bear with us…

In the United States, the term “consti­tutional carry” (also known as permitless carry, unrestricted carry or Vermont carry) refers to the legal public carrying of a firearm, either openly or con­cealed, without a license or permit. Virginia has yet to jump on the bandwagon, but there are currently 27 states that have some form of permitless carry, both for residents and often nonresidents visiting there. Those states are Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Missis­sippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hamp­shire, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Ver­mont, West Virginia and Wyoming.

So, the short answer to the question, “Do I need a permit for constitutional carry?” is, “No.”

There are still advantages, however, to having a concealed carry license, whether living or traveling in these states. In some states, even with permitless carry, having a carry permit can provide certain benefits such as allowing you to forego a background check conducted each time you buy a firearm and if traveling, it often allows you to carry concealed in states that offer reciprocity with (your state) and that may not be permitless carry states.

“One of the most significant advan­tages is that you do not need to have a background check conducted each time you buy a weapon in a number of permitless states if you possess a CCW permit (or CHP) from that state,” says Craig Rosenstein, a U.S. Law­Shield Independent Program Attorney for Arizona. “Additionally, it’s also nice to have if you travel so that you may carry concealed in states that offer reciprocity with (your state) and that may not be permitless carry states.” Ad­ditional benefits include being able to drop your children off at school while in possession of your firearm as long as you do not get out of the car and being able to eat in establishments that serve alcohol while carrying as long as you are not personally consuming alcohol (double check the specific laws for your state, this is the case in Arizona and a number of other states).

Attorney Gilbert Ambler, who practices law in Virginia and Pennsylvania says a permit can be a benefit in several scenarios:

  1. A permit allows you to carry concealed, a big and obvious benefit in states that would only allow open carry under their permitless carry laws.
  2. If Virginia, if you have a permit, it allows you an exception to the one handgun every 30-day purchase law, so you are not restricted in buying multiple handguns in less than a month.
  3. Having a carry permit can also provide you with a defense to a federal Gun-Free School Zones Act violation, since you are allowed to travel through a school zone with a firearm on your person or drop your child off at school wearing your firearm as long as it remains concealed and you do not get out of your vehicle.
  4. Another benefit, at least in Virginia, Ambler notes is that in many localities, you can’t carry certain types of weapons such as a centerfire handgun capable of holding more than 20 rounds without a permit or carry a handgun equipped from the manufacturer with the ability to accommodate a suppressor. But with a permit you can.

Remember, laws, of course, vary by state and even locale. Always consult with an attorney who specializes in firearms law in your state on specific ques­tions about local gun and self-defense laws.

Or, continue being the utter rogue badass you are, and play the laws as you see fit (you are certainly within your rights to “permit or not to permit” when it comes to constitutional carry). Regardless of the way you prefer to roll, we’ve seen enough well-intentioned gun owners get jammed up on a legal point so it’s always a good idea to have the number of an experienced gun law attorney on hand should a situation go south in a hurry.

—Ace Luciano & Doug Howlett

(Editor’s Note: The useful information in this article was provided by Ace, Doug merely provided the curse words and innuendo.)

 

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