If you’re wondering how you can get a concealed carry permit, there are a few things to know. It’s different in every state, but we’ll lay out the basics for you, and the specifics for the Commonwealth of Virginia.
First, a quick disclaimer… this blog post is just sharing ideas and thoughts on the subject. This is in no way meant to be legal advice. Also, if you’re a felon or mentally deranged, click the “x” button on your browser now.
Now, on with the program.
Because there are so many little details, it might be easier to give a quick answer, then follow up with the background and details you might need.
To get your concealed carry permit, here are the steps:
- Demonstrate competency by taking a gun safety or instruction class.
- Complete the Application for Concealed Carry Permit.
- Drop off the proof of competency, your completed application and application fee at your county court house.
First, I should give passing attention to the reasons behind getting a concealed carry permit. There are many, and most of the time you don’t need a particular reason. I chose to get my CCW more for a political statement than anything else. Still, there are occasions when I like to be protected.
But for some states, your reason for wanting to exercise your Second Amendment right is important. In New York, for example, the state can require that you prove your need to carry a gun.
(We’ll address the constitutional issue in another post. The short version is that the right to bear arms is right there in the Constitution. Three men deciding that right doesn’t apply to some people is outright tyranny.)
Just understand that while Virginia does not have any requirements that you prove need, your state might. Be sure to look it up. Your State Police website is usually a good place to start.
Details About Getting A Concealed Carry Permit
The process works like this:
1) Take a Concealed Carry Permit Class
Here is the list put out by the Virgnia State Police…
- Completing any hunter education or hunter safety course approved by the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries or a similar agency of another state;
- Completing any National Rifle Association firearms safety or training course;
- Completing any firearms safety or training course or class available to the general public offered by a law-enforcement agency, junior college, college, or private or public institution or organization or firearms training school utilizing instructors certified by the National Rifle Association or the Department of Criminal Justice Services;
- Completing any law-enforcement firearms safety or training course or class offered for security guards, investigators, special deputies, or any division or subdivision of law enforcement or security enforcement;
- Presenting evidence of equivalent experience with a firearm through participation in organized shooting competition or current military service or proof of an honorable discharge from any branch of the armed services;
- Obtaining or previously having held a license to carry a firearm in this Commonwealth or a locality thereof, unless such license has been revoked for cause;
- Completing any firearms training or safety course or class, including an electronic, video, or on-line course, conducted by a state-certified or National Rifle Association-certified firearms instructor;
- Completing any governmental police agency firearms training course and qualifying to carry a firearm in the course of normal police duties; or
- Completing any other firearms training which the court deems adequate.
It is noteworthy that this list may seem scary, but when you really read through it, the requirement is really simple.
Also note that when you go to sign up for a concealed carry permit class, different gun ranges and shops will have different requirements. Some are very strict and some are very easy. It is left up to you to decide what you need. In Virginia, your demonstrated competence could be as simple as watching a 45 minute video and answering 10 questions, or as comprehensive as a full day class with a couple hours of range time. Exercise good judgement here.
Once you have your training, make sure you get a copy of the certificate.
2) Visit your County Courthouse for a Concealed Carry Permit
You can prepare yourself for your visit by completing the Application for Concealed Carry Permit. Form SP-248 is required in Virginia. BUT… In Prince William County, for example, they have a computer set up for you to fill out the form right there in court building. If you call the Court Clerk, they will tell you if you need to have the form filled out ahead of time. Again, it’ll be different in every county in every State.
3) Deliver your certificate demonstrating your competence (your class certificate), the application required and the application fee ($50 in Virginia) and you’re done.
In Virginia, the Court Clerk told me to expect a 6-8 week wait, but my concealed carry permit came in just under four weeks.
Who Can’t Get A Concealed Carry Permit?
There are some people who are not allowed to even apply for a concealed carry permit. The Commonwealth of Virginia has 20 categories of people who are not eligible to apply for a concealed carry permit. You can read the entire list, but the main reasons include:
- If you’ve been convicted of a felony
- If you have a felony charge pending
- If you have received treatment for mental illness or substance abuse
- If you’ve been convicted of dealing drugs
These are the big reasons you may not be eligible, but there are a ton more and even these reasons have all kinds of additional qualifiers and conditions. You really need to read the state police website for yourself.
So, to recap…
What Happens After You Get Your Concealed Carry Permit
Second, fill out your State’s application, easily found online.
Third, visit your county courthouse and submit your competence certificate and applicate, and pay your application fee.
There is a HUGE amount of information you should know about what to do after you get your concealed carry permit. Laws in every state are different and it is up to you to know and understand the laws where you live. There are laws that apply to individual counties, cities, and municipalities. A great resource is the Virginia Gun Owner’s Guide. Buy this book! The book is careful to point out that you should still do your homework and learn the laws in your neighborhood.