Most states in America require some form of training prior to being issued a concealed carry permit (also known as a CFP, CCP, CCW, CP, LTC and many other state specific acronyms…). The training that is required will vary greatly from state to state. For example, to obtain the Utah permit all you need to do is attend a 3-4 hour classroom only training course, while obtaining an Illinois permit requires a minimum of 16 hours of training in both the classroom and live fire at the range.
There are a few states, however, that do not require any training at all to obtain a permit. you are still required to submit an application, pay a fee and undergo a background check, but no formal training is required. These states are called “no-training states“, and include:
- Mississippi (standard permit)
- South Dakota (for non-enhanced permits)
In addition to the above, there are also several states that allow individuals to carry without obtaining a permit at all. These states are called “constitutional carry states“, and include:
- New Hampshire
- North Dakota (residents only; concealed carry only)
- South Dakota
- West Virginia
- Wyoming (residents only)
Legal Heat conducts concealed carry training courses in over 35 states and has trained over 300,000 students in the past decade. One of the top questions we get in no-training states is “why should I take a class?“. Let’s look at the top 3 reasons.
So why would you still want to obtain a carry permit if you live in a no-training or constitutional carry state?
There are many reasons why someone living in a no-training or constitutional carry state may still want to obtain a permit. A few of the most important are highlighted below:
Reason #1: To carry in other states.
If you choose to carry in a constitutional carry state without a permit you are limited to carry in only that state. Also, if you obtain a permit only from a no-training state then you will be fairly limited on the number of states you will be able to carry in. In order to carry in more states you may want to obtain a non-resident permit from a state that requires training, such as the Utah permit. Utah’s permit is available to applicants from any state and only requires a 3-4 hour classroom training course (with no live-fire). It is valid in 30+ different states (the exact number depends on your state of residence) and can be obtained entirely through the mail once you complete the simple training course. As an example of how obtaining a training state permit (like the Utah permit) can be beneficial, look at the below maps of where you could carry with the Washington (no-training) permit vs. the Utah (training) permit.
All Legal Heat classes are designed to be “multi-state” courses, which means we design them to allow the students to carry in the most states possible. As you can see above, by simply taking a 3-4 hour class you will be able to carry in significantly more states.
Reason #2: To get high quality training, especially on current laws.
Some of the common responses we get when we advertise courses in no-training or constitutional carry states is something like this:
“Why would I take a class when I don’t have to?”
“No class is required! Don’t pay for a class!”
“All I did was go to the courthouse and apply. Don’t take a class!”
It should be obvious that doing the bare minimum in life is not a great way to improve skill and knowledge. There is a reason tens of thousands of individuals sign up for cooking classes each year, even though there are no laws that require someone to take a cooking class. Some people actually want to improve their knowledge and skill. This is especially important when your life and liberty are on the line.
In addition to being a great refresher on safety, firearm selection and shooting fundamentals, Legal Heat courses are also heavily geared towards updating students on current laws.
There are over 20,000 state and federal firearm laws. Given the complexity of these laws it is VERY easy for the everyday gun owner to accidentally commit a felony (as discussed more below). Learning the laws, from a reliable source, is by itself worth the cost of taking a class. All Legal Heat curriculums have been developed by attorneys and professional instructors. All you need to do is read the reviews from some of our 300,000+ past students to get an idea of how students feel about the value of our training.
Reason #3: So you don’t accidentally go to prison.
Obtaining a carry permit exempts you from several laws (both state and federal) that would otherwise apply to you if you didn’t have a permit. Those who live in constitutional carry states need to be especially vigilant that they don’t accidentally violate the law. As a simple example, let’s discus something everyone does every day – driving past a school.
18 U.S.C.A. 922(q)(2)(a) (aka The Federal Gun-Free School Zones Act) makes it a FELONY, punishable by up to 5 years in prison, to possess a firearm within 1000 feet of any K-12 public, or private, school. This includes simply driving past a school with a loaded handgun in your vehicle.
The Law: It shall be unlawful for any individual knowingly to possess a firearm...At a place that the individual knows, or has reasonable cause to believe is a school zone.18 U.S.C.A. 922(q)(2)(a)
There are only a few exceptions to the felony school zone rule:
- If you are on a private property not part of school grounds
- If the individual possessing the firearm is licensed to do so by the State in which the school zone is located.
- If the gun is not loaded; and in a locked container, or a locked firearms rack that is on a motor vehicle
The most important exception above is if the individual possessing the firearm is licensed to do so by the State in which the school zone is located. The DOJ clarified in a 2013 letter that his means you are breaking the law if you pass through ANY school zone in ANY state from which your permit isn’t issued.
“The license must be issued by the State in which the school zone is located… a concealed weapons license or permit from any other state would not satisfy the criteria.”
Constitutional Carriers Beware! This means if you are carrying a firearm without a permit (i.e. in a state where a permit is not required), this federal law would be in full force against you. Even though you might not like to hear it, you commit a felony every time you carry within 1,000 feet of a K-12 school without a permit. If you think you can simply avoid a K-12 school and not commit a felony, think again. Take a look at the below map showing all the K-12 schools in the United States. Unless you live in the top of the Sierra-Nevada mountain range, you probably want to get a permit to avoid committing a felony.
This is only one example of why having a permit is advantageous. Other examples include making the firearm purchase process simpler (i.e. exempting you from the NICS check requirement) or allowing you to carry in additional locations that are otherwise off limits. Also, if you are a hunter, most states have specific exemptions for permit holders related to carrying firearms in vehicles, while bow hunting, etc.
There are over 20,000 state, federal and local gun laws in America. Regardless of what your state law requires, taking a Legal Heat training course can be invaluable in helping you understand those laws as well as qualify you to carry in the most states possible.
If you are considering obtaining a carry permit or want to learn more about the laws discussed in this article, Legal Heat has a FREE online introduction to concealed carry course you can take by clicking here.
To learn more or Sign up for a Legal Heat training course visit: www.MyLegalHeat.com
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