If you're concerned about your safety or about protecting your family and property, you might be thinking of getting a gun and a permit to carry. The first step is to learn the requirements in your state for gun ownership and for getting a permit to carry. Regulations vary by state, and federal regulations apply as well. Here's what you need to know.
You Should Verify You're Eligible
Some things you might not think of can affect whether you can own a gun and get a carry permit. This can even include if you have a medical marijuana license. Federal laws may prohibit you from owning a gun if you take medical marijuana, even if the substance is legal in your state. Past problems with drugs, alcohol, domestic violence, and criminal charges can also affect your ability to obtain a gun.
When you're ready to fill out your application, you may need to submit a recent photo and have your fingerprints taken. You can apply online in some states, but other states may require you to apply for your permit to carry in person. You'll also need to pay a fee for your permit when it's issued initially and when you renew it.
You May Need To Take Firearms Classes
You may need to take classes on gun safety and how to use a gun properly before you can get your permit to carry. Classes might be waived if you're in the military or you've had previous military experience. It may seem like an imposition to have to take classes, but the classes are usually short, and they are for your own safety. Just be sure to take a class from an instructor registered by your state.
You may not need to take classes again when you get your permit renewed. However, if you let your carry permit lapse, you may have to start the process all over by taking classes and applying for a new permit.
Some Permits Are Good In Other States
Some states have reciprocity when it comes to a permit to carry. However, reciprocity varies among states, so if you plan to travel with your gun, it's important to verify you'll be in compliance with the laws of all states you go to. You may need to get a permit in multiple states so that you're protected.
You can also get a multi-state permit that's good in many, but not all states. Some states with high reciprocity allow non-residents to get a permit, so it might be worth getting a permit in a state besides your home state if your home state doesn't have reciprocity with very many other states.