Many of my readers have a CCW Permit of some type, I do not. This is not because I do not want one or because I don’t believe in this practice. The one and only reason is because I live in California. It is more complicated (maybe even impossible) for me to get a concealed carry permit here. This is because California is a “May Issue” state. What does this mean?
Concealed carry is legal in most areas of the United States. A handful of states and jurisdictions restrict or ban CCW, but all states except Illinois for legal concealed carry via a permit or license, or via constitutional carry. Most states have “shall-issue” laws. This means if a person meets the requirements to obtain a permit, the state must issue one. Some states have “may-issue” laws. These states may (or may not) issue permits to carry if a person meets the requirements to obtain one. States with may-issue laws usually do not issue permits unless the applicant provides a documented need for a concealed weapon, such as for retired police officers, judges, and federal agents.
There is one more thing to consider regarding your state laws and concealed carry rights, this is recognition of other states’ permits under the Full Faith and Credit Clause of the of the US Constitution. There are several popular combinations of resident and non-resident permits that allow carry in more states than the original issuing state; for example, a Utah non-resident permit allows carry in 25 states. Many states, however, do not recognize non-resident permits, especially for their own residents.
The main reason this is on my mind today is because I noticed a “Conceal Carry” class at my local gun range. The description of the class makes it seem like getting a CCW permit in California is only a matter of taking the class and filling out the application. It is when you go to the local Sheriff’s website (I am in San Diego) to download the application that you discover the “fine print”. You must be in law enforcement, have documented threats that require extra personal protection, private security, or for justified business reasons. What all that really means is they will issue permits to whomever they want to and they will deny any applications as well if you cannot satisfy them with your documented proof. Also, remember that in each state with authorized carry laws – there may be certain establishments (like bars) that you cannot carry within. Just like other gun laws, it is your responsibility as a gun owner to know if you can or cannot legally carry in your state and the details of those laws.