applying for ccw online

You CAN Get a Concealed Carry Permit Online... Sort Of

Given modern conveniences, some may wonder if getting a concealed carry permit online is a possibility. It actually is...sort of. It depends on what state you're getting a license in or from, if you're obtaining a non-resident permit.

It also depends on what one means by "online." You can certainly buy a gun belt with a steel insert totally online, but applying for a CPL online will require some offline actions first.

Restrictions to Getting A CPL Online

online cpl application

Just to get this out of the way, this is not legal advice about getting your CPL - but rather just for the purposes of discussion. If you need legal advice, talk to a lawyer that's licensed to practice in your state, or in the state that you're looking to get a license from.

Now that we have that out of the way, back to how to get a CPL online. It depends on what you mean by "online." For instance, can one just get on the internet and apply for/be issued a CPL?

The answer is not really. Any concealed pistol license has a certain wait period involved. Applying online probably won't affect the wait time much. The only way to get a permit issued faster requires court hearings in states that allow for that.

Also - and here's the kicker - getting a CPL in any state involves meeting certain a training course. You also have to get fingerprinted, neither of which can be done online because it requires at least one other human to complete, ie a trainer and a person to take your fingerprints.

This is all provided, of course, the state you're trying to get a license from accepts online applications, because not all of them do.

CCW Rules Depend on States

location rules

Whether you can get a CCW license really more to what DEGREE a license can be applied for online. It depends on what state's license you're applying for.

Bear in mind that some states which allow for fingerprints to be mailed in or transmitted digitally; this requires getting fingerprinted either by an approved law enforcement agency or third party provider.

For instance, Arkansas allows for the application to be submitted online, but a certificate of training and fingerprints have to be submitted by mail. The state of Louisiana has basically the same policy, as does the states of Indiana, Texas and several others; consult the website of your state of residence or the state you intend to gain a license from, if applying for a non-resident license. Non-resident licenses are quite popular for gaining additional concealed carry reciprocity, especially if one's home state is not widely reciprocated with.

There are a few variations on the theme; for instance, South Carolina allows for online renewal applications, but initial applications, training certificates and fingerprint cards have to be submitted by mail. Oklahoma allows for the initial application to be submitted online along with a digital copy of one's photo ID, but a summary sheet has to be printed off and taken to a county sheriff's office. One also has to take in a certificate of training and be fingerprinted in person.

Applications in the state of Iowa go through county sheriff's offices; some offices allow for online applications.

Other states, such as Arizona and Florida, allow applications to be sent by mail. Other states only allow people to apply and be fingerprinted in person.

Since it varies, be sure to consult with the laws and policies of the state you're applying for the license in.

Benefits to Getting a Concealed Carry License Online?

concealed handgun license online benefits

Why would a person get a concealed carry license online if they can? Partially it's due to the convenience factor. Not everyone has time during office hours or could even get time during office hours and get to the police station. Some people live some distance away from the local police or sheriff's station, making getting there impractical.

Other people are looking to get a non-resident license for greater reciprocity. That certainly isn't a bad idea; since the laws regarding concealed carry reciprocity differ between the states, not every state honors every other state's license. Some state licenses, even the non-resident ones, have much more widespread reciprocity, so some people will obtain one to augment their resident license.

In any case, make sure to do your homework before applying.

Sam Hoober  

About The Author

Born in southeastern Washington State, Sam Hoober graduated in 2011 from Eastern Washington University. He resides in the great Inland Northwest, with his wife and child. His varied interests and hobbies include camping, fishing, hunting, and spending time at the gun range as often as possible.

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