Thinking about applying for a concealed carry permit? With violent crime rates on the rise throughout much of the country, more and more people are now carrying firearms to protect themselves. However, there are a few things you should know before carrying a concealed firearm.
Obtaining Your CCW License
Unless you live in a state with an “Unrestricted” policy on concealed carry, you'll need to obtain a license in order to legally carry and conceal a firearm on your person's. Each state has its own laws regarding CCW license permits, some of which are more stringent than others. You can usually find out the requirements for obtaining a CCW license by contacting your local police department or probate court. Until you are granted the license and actually have it in your hand, you cannot carry a concealed firearm.
Renewing Your CCW License
Again, each state has its own laws regarding CCW license and their length of validity. In most states, however, CCW licenses are valid for 5 years from the date of issuance, at which point they must be renewed for another 5 years. Take notice of your license's expiration date and make a point to renew it beforehand. Carrying a concealed weapon can be a misdemeanor or felony, depending on the state's laws and circumstances surrounding the incident, so this is one mistake that you don't want to make.
Don't Use Drugs or Alcohol
This probably sounds like common sense to most seasoned CCW license holders, but it's still worth mentioning that you should never use drugs or alcohol while carrying a firearm, openly or concealed. Most states have laws that explicitly prohibit the consumption/use of alcohol or drugs while carrying a firearm. In Tennessee, for instance, drinking an alcoholic beverage in a restaurant or bar while carrying can result in your CCW license being revoked for up to three years, as well as possible fines and jail time. Its just not worth the risk.
If you plan on concealed carrying your new firearm, you'll want to pay close attention to its size. The bigger the gun, the more difficult it is to conceal. Thankfully, many manufacturers have begun to cater to the ever-growing demographic of CCW carriers by offering alternative pistol models with shorter grips and/or shorter barrels. The reduced size makes them easier to conceal and carry.
Prohibited Locations for Concealed Carry
A CCW license doesn't give you unrestricted freedom to carry a firearm in all locations. States may restrict the carrying of a firearm in places like post offices, federal court houses, train stations, IRS offices, DMV, police stations, political venues, hospitals, churches, amusement parks, “sterile” areas of airports, and privacy property on which the owner has prohibited the carrying of firearms.