Alaska, Arizona, Idaho, Kansas, Maine, Mississippi, Missouri, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Vermont, West Virginia and Wyoming… What do all these states have in common? Well, if you’re a resident of any of them and are legally allowed to own a firearm, you’re allowed to carry one concealed.
This is a term called either ‘permitless carry’ or ‘constitutional carry’ and each state regulates precisely what those terms really mean. For instance, some states will allow someone to carry a pistol without a permit so long as it is concealed. For others, they grant a full range of open carry or concealed carry.
In almost all cases, it applies specifically to residents of that state — though there are exceptions.
As more and more state legislatures consider permitless concealed carry, a natural question arises: if I don’t need a permit to carry concealed, why should I go through the process of getting one?
In this article, we’ll address specifically why it’s a good idea and how getting a permit from your state, even if you don’t need one to carry within the state, can help you out later on.
There’s an imaginary (and very legally binding) line that divides states. That imaginary line can work for you or against you. Let’s take the wonderful state of Pennsylvania. In Pennsylvania, the permit process is pretty simple but the state is surrounded by other states where the process to carry concealed is anything but.
It’s pretty easy to go for a ride along the Appalachian mountains and wind up in either New York or New Jersey. In both cases, that Pennsylvanian resident is now in hot water. If he or she gets pulled over and the police discover he’s armed, there are severe legal ramifications for that.
Those severe ramifications can include prison time, enormous court costs, attorney fees, etc. These are situations that financially ruin people and it’s all because of an imaginary line.
While a Pennsylvanian resident would almost always be on the wrong end of the law if he crosses into New York or New Jersey with his pistol, there are equally important situations where even in a permitless state, it’s important to have a permit.
Let’s take Maine and Idaho. They both make potatoes. Maine acknowledges that its citizens have a constitutional right to bear firearms. Idaho does as well. However, for Idaho, it’s for Idaho residents only. Everyone else needs to have a permit. If a farmer from Maine goes to see what his competition in Idaho is doing, he probably needs to bring his permit.
The good news? Idaho acknowledges Maine’s concealed carry permit. If that Maine potato farmer brings his permit and a copy of his favorite Stephen King novel, Idaho law enforcement will generally respect that. If he forgot the permit but just brought his signed copy of It, Idaho law enforcement won’t be pleased at all about that.
Don’t Discount The Training Component
Most gun owners assume they may know more than they do. Even if you are extremely proficient and a veritable expert, it never hurts to go over the basics. Many states require some form of training in order to get their permit. This training component is an opportunity to not just re-familiarize yourself with basic safety and marksmanship but also see how your fellow man operates.
This is also an opportunity to ask questions. Asking a question in a training environment — no matter how dumb anyone thinks the question is — is the opportunity to prevent yourself or another person from making a mistake. You’re also helping out your fellow classmates because perhaps one of them wanted to ask a question but was either too timid or too proud to ask.
Those are just two important reasons why even if your state is permitless, it may still be a very good idea to obtain a concealed carry permit.