Recently, Arkansas legislators began working on a bill that would create an ‘enhanced’ concealed carry permit that allowed the permit holder to go onto the campuses of universities, churches, and other places where traditionally concealed carrier could not go.
The big caveat is the permit applicant will need to have taken an advanced course curriculum focusing on using a gun in sensitive locations.
“This training is going to be more focused on what do you do if you are in a sensitive area and God forbid a bad guy pulls out a gun and starts shooting and also if you are in an area like that and law enforcement arrives on the scene,” Representative Charlie Collins told 5 News.
While the bill is still up for debate and voting, it draws upon a much larger issue: should states have ‘enhanced’ permits where they already have regular concealed carry permits and licenses?
Most importantly: are these enhanced permits worth it for the concealed carrier?
To answer that question, first I had to look up how many states had enhanced permits in the first place.
Turns out, there’s a few. Arkansas, if this bill passes, would be added to a list consisting of North and South Dakota, Mississippi, and Idaho.
What Do You Get With An Enhanced Concealed Carry Permit?
Idaho is a good example of the difference between a regular concealed carry permit and an enhanced permit.
In Idaho, in order to get an enhanced concealed carry permit, you need to undergo more training. The background check is the same. You must be a resident of Idaho to apply for a resident enhanced concealed carry permit. They do issue non-resident enhanced permits so long as the non-resident has maintained his concealed carry permit in his original state.
The pay-off is enhanced reciprocity across the United States. Just about 37 states recognize Idaho’s enhanced permit.
What Would Arkansas Concealed Carriers Get Out Of This Proposed Enhanced Permit?
Arkansas enhanced concealed carriers would legally be allowed to walk into places they may have otherwise been prohibited from going with a gun.
The University of Arkansas campus, the State Capital and other public buildings are just some of the places concealed carry permit holders who get the enhanced carry permit will be able to carry a gun. – News 5
If National Reciprocity Act doesn’t solve those problems or doesn’t make it through the legislative process, then I’m under the impression that the advanced training may satisfy some states that currently do not acknowledge the Arkansas permit.
Big hold-ups include South Carolina, Virginia, New Mexico, Washington, and others. Those are states with extremely strict criteria for concealed carry.
Why Additional Training Is A Caveat
You know what you know. I may think I’m the best painter in the world but until someone else sees my paintings, it’s just my own impression of my work I’m judging.
When it comes to guns, there is a demand in some places to demonstrate a degree of competency before carrying concealed.
Arguably, an 8 hour class or a 24 hour class won’t change incompetence. What it will do is demonstrate that at a minimum, this individual has experienced a set of training, completed a curriculum of study, and demonstrated basic competency in the principles.
For gun owners, it’s one extra hoop to jump through.
Something about this training component, however, seems to make state legislators and bureaucrats more comfortable with the idea of someone carrying a gun.
Whether this is a good thing or a bad thing is up for someone else’s debate.
What I would say is this: if an enhanced concealed carry permit allows greater freedom of travel across state lines and potentially within one’s home state, go for it.
An 8 hour class is just two evenings and a piece of paper. It’s worth it to not have to deal with an additional layer of painful legal problems in the very rare incidence you need to pull your gun to defend your life.