what to do when you lose your ccw license

What If You Lose Or Forget Your Concealed Carry License?

In almost all states, a person is required to keep their concealed carry license on them at all times. Very few states have constitutional carry and only in certain instances can a person carry concealed without a license. Thus, you want to keep it on you.

But what do you do if you don't have it? What do you do if you misplace your license? Most people put it in their wallet, but if you accidentally leave your wallet at home...what do you do?

Where Did My Concealed Handgun License Go?

losing your ccw license

In virtually every state, the law when it comes to concealed carry dictates that you have to keep your concealed handgun license on you at all times if you're going to carry. This is so you can produce your license if called upon to do so by law enforcement, since legally carrying a loaded firearm is not something that states believe should be up to the honor system. They want to verify that you're doing what you're doing legally.

Seems fair enough, right? After all, if you're going to get a gun, holster and gun belt, you might as well do it legally.

But what if you don't have your license on you? That's kind of an Achilles heel to the whole thing.

It's easier than you think, and the fixes aren't necessarily easy. Most people put theirs in their wallet. Good place for it, but wallets are easily left on the dresser or wherever in the bustle of the morning.

Some people put it in their pocket. This gives you a bit of a failsafe, as you still have it even if you forget your wallet…unless it gets left in a pocket when you change into a different pair of pants. Ever left a dollar or two in a pants pocket? Same thing can happen to a CPL. Someone might opine that shirt pocket can work just as well, but you wind up with the same potential for failure.

First Thing Is To Know Concealed Carry Laws

what to know about ccw laws

So, once you've determined that your license is no longer on you, the first thing is to be aware of the concealed carry laws of your state, or the state you work in if you're a non-resident. A good number of states, for instance, allow for permitless carry in one's home or - this is literally the most common verbiage - "fixed place of business." That means if you're at home or work, you don't need to worry about the license.

If you happen to live in a state where that is the prevailing law regarding carry without a permit, then that takes care of most of your day. After all, most of the day is spent at work and then home. Carry at work like normal without worry, and once home, you're good. If not, then your gun shouldn't leave the parking lot.

What about the time in between? Specifically, what about the commute?

Look up the relevant laws for transporting a firearm. Since the author (as knowledgeable, handsome, and in possession of a manly beard as he is) has no idea what state you, the reader is in, that's something you'll have to look up for yourself, as are the relevant carry laws.

The laws also vary regarding transporting a firearm. In, say, Washington state, you cannot transport a loaded firearm at all unless it's a handgun and you are in possession of a valid carry permit, which is not an uncommon law. In other states, a loaded firearm must be in plain view at all times - such as the state of Idaho - regardless of whether you have a permit or not.

In still other states, it's fine to carry a concealed firearm in a vehicle without a permit so long as it isn't loaded.

Make sure you are aware of the law in your state, and follow it accordingly.

What To Do If You Forget Or Misplace Your Handgun License

what to do if you lose your firearms license

Here's what to do:

First, as it says in a certain wholly remarkable book, don't panic.

Next, if you can't carry in the office without your permit, leave your pistol in your car. DO NOT leave it sitting in plain sight. This may get the authorities called and may get your car broken into. If transport laws dictate the gun must be unloaded for transport since you've left your permit, do so. If transport laws dictate the gun be placed in plain sight, do so, but not while the car is parked and while you're inside your place of work.

For the drive home, take action to ensure compliance with transport laws. Make sure to unload the pistol if necessary; you do not want to rely on whether a police officer has had a good enough day to be understanding. Not that police are out to hose you for an honest mistake, but electing to let someone off with a warning and giving them a ticket or arresting them is often up to discretion...which is out of your control. Therefore, control what you can.

As a side note, it's a good idea to have either a pistol case or portable gun safe in your car at all times. This gives you portable storage, which will also help ensure compliance with transport laws, should they require a case.

When driving home, don't be a speed demon. Drive normally, and legally. Get home in a lawful manner, and lawful manner is important because you don't want to get pulled over.

However, once you get there...just make sure you have your permit on you the next time you leave the house.

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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