How to Obtain a CCW Permit


Did you get that Baby Rock you’ve been looking at all summer? Awesome—perhaps now it's time to take the next steps and obtain a concealed carry permit? Let us help you get started on the process.

Here are a few things you should know about obtaining a CCW permit.

Check Your State Laws

First and foremost, you need to check your state laws. State laws on the process for obtaining a concealed carry permit vary and, in some cases, quite significantly. Obtaining a permit in New Jersey, for example, is a more laborious process than getting one in Alaska, where concealed carry doesn’t require a permit.

Some states may require applicants to take a class beforehand, while others might simply require applicants to stop by a courthouse or sheriff's office to fill out an application form and pay a fee. Do a little prep work beforehand, and develop a checklist of what you need to do. You’ll save yourself some work.

Shall Issue—May Issue—Constitutional Carry

Another important item to look into is whether your state is a “shall issue” or "may issue" state. In a "shall issue" state, as long you meet the permit requirements, the issuer must give you a permit. Whereas in a “may issue” state, even if you meet the requirements, the issuing authority is not required to give you a permit.  These states also typically require applicants give a written reason on why they should receive permits.

States such as Alaska and Missouri don’t require residents to have a permit to carry concealed—this is commonly referred to as "constitutional carry." If you plan on visiting one of these states, you should still check if authorities require a permit for out-of-state visitors.

Currently, the following states do not require a permit for concealed carry:

  • Alaska
  • Arizona
  • Idaho
  • Kansas
  • Maine
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • New Hampshire
  • North Dakota
  • Oklahoma
  • Vermont
  • West Virginia

Check out the NRAILA website for concise information on your state’s gun laws and permit reciprocity among other states.

Meet General Requirements

Generally speaking, in order to qualify for a permit, you must be a U.S. citizen or resident of the permit-issuing state (but not in all cases). If you have a prior felony conviction or are under indictment for a felony, you won’t be eligible. Having a mental illness is also a disqualifier. Essentially, if you can pass a background check, you're all clear.

Prepare for a Class

In the event you need to take a class, it’s best to come prepared. You may engage in some shooting in the class, so bring eye and ear protection and know proper gun safety rules of thumb. Even though you’ll likely go over these rules in the class, there’s nothing wrong with coming prepared.

It's also wise to know proper range etiquette and how to maintain a pistol before you attend a training class. If you happen to have a Rock Island Armory 1911, you should definitely download this gun-care guide to keep it running well into the future.

Getting Serious About Concealed Carry? Learn More!