There are a lot of reasons you should still take a firearms class and get your state permit even if your state has constitutional carry. We’ll cover the reasons why seeking firearms education is important and how a permit can help you.
Constitutional carry means a person can carry a concealed handgun without a permit. There are states that have already passed constitutional carry and a few states joining them as of July 1, 2021. While this is a giant leap for our Second Amendment rights, there are some caveats to being able to carry a handgun in your residential state and across state lines. North Dakota, for example, passed constitutional carry only for residents of their state, but they honor all valid concealed carry permits from states that honor North Dakota’s permits. Age limits are also set by the state for constitutional carry for people 18 years of age or over 21 years of age.
So what does all of this mean? Constitutional carry is great if you have been meaning to take your firearms class to get your permit or apply for your state’s permit and haven’t had a chance to do so. But skipping out on eventually getting your handgun permit is a big mistake if you travel. There are laws that allow for guns to be transported in your vehicle across state lines, but as soon as you step out of your car with a handgun on you, you’re committing a crime. Depending on what state you live in, many issue handgun carry permits that are honored in other states. This is called reciprocity. While many states will honor permits from other states, not all are reciprocated. Always check your state and federal laws before traveling.
Have you ever purchased a handgun or other firearm and had to wait a period of time before being able to take it home? A permit can expedite this process with the ATF. Most permit holders take home their guns the same day after filling out Form 4473 because their information is already stored, a background check has already been completed, and fingerprints are on file. This makes the new NICS background check quicker to complete. In some states, a purchase permit is required to buy a gun with some allowing a carry permit to be used instead.
Some Americans are well versed in firearms safety, gun handling, and concealed carry laws, but the majority are not. In March of 2021, 4.7 million background checks were completed by NICS for firearms. While we can’t state an absolute fact, we do know that 4.7 million people have not signed up for a firearms class. With constitutional carry sweeping states, this means untrained, uneducated individuals will be carrying handguns. While you would think this would make us feel safer, it should be a frightening thing to think about.
Negligent discharges occur when there is a lack of knowledge or carelessness. There is no excuse for lack of knowledge when there are firearm instructors across the nation holding classes from introduction to pistol, basic concealed carry classes, getting started in competitive shooting, all the way to long-range rifle classes. Seeking out multiple instructors to teach you different lessons is also valuable to make you a well-rounded shooter as well as a more educated firearm owner.
Your first firearms class should cover the rules of firearms safety, how to unload and load a firearm, shooting fundamentals, and cleaning firearms. Basic education is just the start of what you need as a gun owner especially if you carry concealed. Intermediate courses will teach you how to find the right concealed carry gun for your body type, concealed carry holster considerations, how to draw from concealment, how to clear malfunctions under stress, and more. Advanced courses can teach you how to respond to an active shooter, how to render medical aid, how to reload behind cover or concealment, how to shoot on the move, and more.
Don’t become another statistic. The Second Amendment is under fire every day and accidents with firearms are never caused by the firearm, but by the person holding the firearm. We need to set an example for others and the next generation to respect firearms and to be lifelong learners always seeking out education.
Kenzie Fitzpatrick is a professional competitive shooter and an active blogger for many firearm websites. As an NRA-certified instructor and National Range Officer Institute Chief Range Officer, Kenzie trains new shooters on basic firearm safety, brings new shooters to competitive shooting, and works major matches across the country. She has a passion for teaching people how to concealed carry and is a positive ambassador for the Second Amendment.
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