If Constitutional Carry Passes, Do You Still Need a CCW Permit?

If Constitutional Carry Passes, Do You Still Need a CCW Permit?

If Constitutional Carry Passes, Do You Still Need a CCW Permit?

There’s a lot of buzz around constitutional carry right now—as I write this, South Carolina has just passed a bill codifying it into law. Several other states have similar bills under consideration, and it would appear that the nationwide trend now is firmly in favor of constitutional carry as a right. While I firmly believe this to be a good thing, I have to note that it leaves the CCW community with some questions. Primarily, this:

Do we still need to go through the process and expense of getting concealed carry permits with constitutional carry laws in place?

The short answer is: yes, yes we do. The long answer is a list of reasons why. As it turns out, CCW permits offer several benefits both for individual permit holders and for the community as a whole.

Interstate reciprocity is still a consideration.

For good or ill we’re a mobile society, and interstate travel is a routine part of many of our lives. A CCW permit—and a solid knowledge of the applicable laws—allows us to take advantage of interstate reciprocity legislation and stay on the right side of the law as we travel.

Interactions with law enforcement are often easier.

CCW permit holders are some of the most law abiding citizens around, and LEOs know this. Having a permit often makes you one of the good guys in the minds of the cops, so having one can help routine interactions with the police run a lot more smoothly.

CCW classes impart vital knowledge.

This varies from state to state, but in general CCW permits require completing a training course. These often cover more than just CCW law and explain self-defense law in general. Plus they give you the chance to ask whatever questions you may have about CCW while meeting like-minded people. Networking and expanding your knowledge base are never bad things, so take advantage.

Other perks abound, depending on the state in which you live.

In my home state of North Carolina, my CCW permit allows me to buy handguns more quickly and easily—the permit counts as the background check required by state law. This alone makes it worth it, and other states offer similar perks.

Getting a CCW permit offers tangible support for CCW and the Second Amendment.

The process of getting a permit shows our lawmakers that We the People support our right to keep and bear arms in a very real way. By putting our money where our collective mouth is, we’re advocating for our rights in a way that state governments find difficult to ignore.

Short story made long, I strongly suggest that we all retain our CCW permits, and that we help new shooters get theirs. The cost is minimal compared to the benefits, and it all plays a role in maintaining the freedoms we cherish.

If you’re living in a state with constitutional carry, I’d be interested to hear about your experiences, please drop me an email or get in touch via the comments section.

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Michael Jenkins is a writer and editor based in Wilmington, North Carolina. He is a lifelong reader, gardener, shooter, and musician. You can reach him at opencarryjenkins@gmail.com.
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Keith Fisher

In Missouri, it’s not true constitutional carry, there are still 17 places listed in law that you can’t carry, and if you have a permit, you get what could be considered a slap on the wrist if you inadvertently, or (intentionally) carry into one of those places. If you don’t have a permit, you’re committing a class B misdemeanor, with a possible 6 month jail term, and $500 fine.
My business has certainly taken a hit since the law was announced. My hope is that eventually people will realize the importance of still getting a permit, both because I would like my business to return, and so that there are more educated people, not making the news, and not tempting the powers that be to legislate our rights away again.

Sandra Gutowski

Good post.

Keith Fisher

Thank you. I tried to be descriptive without getting too long.


I, like Keith Fisher, am from MO. And though we are technically a Constitutional Carry state, like he said, it’s not true Constitutional Carry (though we have much better laws than our neighbor, Illinois).

Although I’m a MAJOR advocate for educating oneself and receiving training, I don’t feel as if we should feel obligated to go through it. It is not the government’s place to regulate something that constitutionally, “shall not be infringed.” Requiring me to take classes, pay money and identify myself to the government just so my rights aren’t infringed upon is clearly un-constituional and that puts more power in the hands of the government which is exactly the opposite of what our founding fathers wanted. The purpose of the Constitution wasn’t to give the federal government authority, it was to limit it’s authority. The problem is our government is no longer looked at as a government “by the people, for the people” but rather a government by politicians to limit the people. “Shall not be infringed” means that the government has no legal place to regulate, track or even revoke my right to carry a firearm…especially considering the wording of the 2A mentions that it is for the purpose of a militia which is defined as “military force raised from the civilian population” thus meaning that, if necessary, we need to be able to form a militia to defend ourselves against threats, both domestic and abroad. In short, I think that the federal or even local governments attempting to regulate the carry of a firearm (either concealed or open carried) is a conflict of interest as the amendment was put in place so that we could protect ourselves…even from a corrupt government if one were to rise against us.

All of that being said, yes, I do hold a MO state CCW and I will continue to renew it, although it makes me seem (and often feel) hypocritical, but that is merely for reciprocity purposes. I travel frequently for work and my firearm is much like the old AmEx commercials…I don’t leave home without it. With the laws around our nation being out of whack like they are, the only way I can ensure that I’m not going to be arrested for exercising my right to self defense is to maintain a permit that is reciprocated in the states to which I travel.

Sir TuberKopf

Thumbs up on certified training.
There’s an issue not discussed a lot except to recomend CCW insurance, and that is liability. It applies to every gun owner, even those who don’t CCW.

Even in a home invasion, self defense shooting, there is a good chance you’ll be sued by gold digging relatives of the criminal that made you act in self defense. Being trained implies self control, and reduces accident and error from the equation, giving you a stronger legal standing.

The craziest thing I heard recently in the news was the father of a brutal home invader who was shot dead by an adult resident with an AR style rifle. The father said the AR gave an unfair advantage to the homeowner, who was outnumbered 2 to 1! I heard this and predicted a protracted gold digging law suit.

When the second amendment was written, I don’t think anyone anticipated out of control, gold digging law suits, but they are our modern reality.


The title of this article asks if we still “need” a license. Some of the reasons listed might make it a good idea to have one, but certainly not a necessity.

David Williams

I lived in Phoenix Arizona and they have constitutional carry as well as ccw. The problem was the idiot who would walk around with a weapon with no clue on how or when to use it. I have seen arguments by a non ccw carrying person stating that they don’t have to abide by no weapons allowed signs because they have the right to carry. One such argument resulted in the gun owner pulling his weapon! CCW holders are assumed to know the applicable laws and the RIGHTS of the property owner. We know when it’s lawful to use our weapons. Most non CCW gun owners will not. CCW licences are relatively inexpensive to obtain and the training can be as little as $50.
In Phoenix at a local mall there was a shooting that occurred where some untrained gun owner thought a crime was being committed 50 yards away and he started shooting. The parking lot was busy with shoppers who luckily were not hit. The gun owner was arrested! Now imagine there had been 5 others who thought the same way? How many innocent bystanders would of been hurt or killed? I believe in people’s rights but with rights comes responsibilities. If someone can afford a weapon they can afford getting a CCW and insurance!

Jim Lagnese

And then there is open carry here as well. It took me a bit to get used it, originally being from NY. I haven’t seen any stupid acts yet, I guess I am lucky, knock on wood. I got my CCW, which was pretty easy compared to NY and a little harder than Iowa, where I lived for a bit before moving here.

David Williams

It’s still better than a lot of places. I think the training helps in the long run

Jim Lagnese

It’s a lot better than most if not all. I got a CCW for travel and because I go a few extra places carrying, if I desire. It wasn’t bad for me as I had taken a safety course in Iowa, so all I had to do was show that documentation. In Iowa though, All I had to do is give the county sheriff $10 and as long as I passed the instant check, I could go and take the course. I took the course, came back and got my CCW. With AZ, I had to mail it into DPS and wait 2-3 months. NY is a whole other ball of wax. I got my CCW in NY in 1981. Back then, I had to take a course at the county range and pass a shooting qualification. Further, I had to own a pistol to keep my CCW, which was very limited, to and from range or hunting and all pistols were registered with the PD. Further, if I wanted to buy a pistol, I had to pay for a purchase document before hand and then bring in the gun to be inspected and registered by the police. Going through the process today probably would cost at least $500 and you’ll wait months. In NYC, only celebs and pols gets permits and NYS permits are invalid in NYC. Now they have magazine capacity restrictions too.


Seems like we’re talking constitutional carry at a state level. If it were Fed law then a permit shouldn’t be necessary. Sure, it would prove you’re not a felon, but at that point to suspect you might be just cuz you carry would be illegal. But I might also keep training records in my phone to demonstrate that I’m ‘a good guy’.

Keith Fisher

Currently, federal bills being discussed in legislature, are not addressing Constitutional Carry, but rather, universal acceptance of CCW Permits, just like every state is required to recognize your driver’s license. I’m not saying Constitutional Carry will not happen, there just is not currently a bill before Congress addressing it, where there is one addressing National Reciprocity.


I know, and I suppose reciprocity is a good start. But my dream is to see ‘Constitutional Carry’ enshrined (AGAIN!) in US law.

Wayne Clark

That last sentece, Keith, is the rub. There shouldn’t BE a bill before Congress addressing constitutional carry. It was addressed way back in 1776! The Constitution hasn’t changed since the last amendment…& it wasn’t the 2nd. The same rights that were acknowledged by the founding fathers, haven’t changed, except in the greed of the governments…both state & federal. When you have such a variance in costs to obtain a permit per state, it become prohibitive for some to obtain that permit.
As one poster so arrogantly said, “if you can afford a weapon, you can afford a permit”, didn’t take into account a hand-me-down from family, or someone on a fixed income just wanting to protect himself/herself or their families. And just because you have a permit, doesn’t make you proficient by any stretch of the imagination. Training IS a major plus to exercising your 2nd. amendment right…but not a prerequisite. And I know that freedom isn’t free but it’s not meant to build the fiscal growth of a state’s budget by PAYING for a right. It would only be fair, if we had to pay to vote, or not incriminate ourselves, or have due process, or express our opinions! Can I see a show of hands willing to pay for those…& other, rights? Didn’t think so.

Gary Birlem

I feel that all citizens desiring a CCW permit should have to take and “pass” a CCW class, which should be the same in all states, including shooting their weapon. The state should then be obligated to issue the permit. Educated and trained people carrying weapons would make me feel a lot safer than just issuing permits or allowing anyone to carry a weapon, concealed or otherwise.


In Kansas it allows you to pass through a school zone while carrying concealed.

Keith Fisher

Mark, you probably know this, but other people might not, the school zone exception is actually included in the Federal Gun Free School Zones Act, but only applies when the permit was issued by the same state the school is in. So if you have a permit from State “A” it exempts you from the 1,000 foot rule, but not in any other state, even if that state has reciprocity with State “A”. Individual states may, however, pass laws forbidding it even when Federal law allows, or to reaffirm what is already stated in the Federal law.


I live in Northwestern Kansas. I have called the Colorado Bureau of Investigation concerning driving within 1,000 feet of a school since I drive by one on US36 on my way to Denver and back (the driveway to the school is on a US highway). I was told it was not a problem for me to carry on the highway.

Keith Fisher

As far as I’m aware, no law enforcement agency at any level has ever set up road blocks, or anything like that, to see if anyone has a gun in their car. So far, the law has not really been abused, despite it’s poor wording. If the wording were taken to it’s extreme, someone living within 1000 feet of a school would be subject to it in their own home. Rare case of law being applied as it was intended. It’s intent, as I understand it, was to have additional charges for someone otherwise breaking the law, such as if they are caught dealing drugs, and have a gun with them, they have two charges to hit them with. This is clarification on my part, not suggesting you are incorrect, or anything like that.


The specific school I am referring to in Colorado is in the country. There is no town nearby. To avoid this school would probably involve literally driving at least two miles out of your way. I was not aware that my Kansas concealed carry permit was not acceptable for driving through school zones in other states. This could basically become entrapment since if you are driving out of state you may not know where schools are located. I do understand your above point about the intent of the law. The problem could arise if you are in a car wreck in a school zone, picked up for speeding etc. I just wish they would get rid of the law against guns within 1,000 feet of a school.

Keith Fisher

I’m taking a wild guess here, but I’d bet unless you did something to warrant being handcuffed, the LEO you were dealing with probably wouldn’t even realize he could slap you with a GFSZ charge. Most are not out looking to make an arrest. I drive a sports car, so it’s not too unusual for me to get pulled over. They usually seem to care less that I’m armed. As soon as I tell them (First words out of my mouth) that I’m licensed to carry (Always, even if I’m in a state that does not require it) they seem like it’s a relief, because they realize I had to go through the same background check they did to get their job. About half the time, they want to talk guns before they let me go. They also sometimes ask me for my business card. Be polite, and all troubles are avoided, 99.9% of the time, despite what you hear on TV.


I live in Arizona. And it is a Constitutional Carry State. And Yes I did get a carry permit for Arizona. And I did it so that if I traveled I would be able to carry if I wanted to. Arizona’s Carry permit is recognized in around 38 states at this time. And I do know which states they are. I also have an app on my Smart Phone that also tells me what the gun laws are for every state and it also tells me if they recognize my Arizona carry permit as well. And the app is free but they do ask for donations but you don’t have to make one to use the app. And as a responsible gun owner I feel that it is up to me to know what the gun laws are for any state that I might have to go through or that I’ll be staying in to make sure that I have no problems when I’m carrying my gun. And the app is called CONCEALED CARRY and it can be found in both the Google Play store or in the istore.

Wayne Clark

You shouldn’t have to have an app that tells you what another state’s gun laws are! Do you need an app to tell you if a certain state will grant your 5th. amendment right if you’re arrested? Do you need a special requirement from another state to receive due process of law, or have restrictions on what books you can read or words you can say? Do you have the right to vote democrat, republican, independent, or not at all…in any state you may live in?
“Responsible gun owner”, is way over used. How about being…a responsible person? That should cover everything! We might even have a responsible government if that mentality was applied…but don’t hold your breath.

Keith A. Milligan

See, this is where National Reciprocity comes in to play. Just one minor slip of knowing the laws and not knowing the laws can land you in hot water. At least you have the app where you van double check yourself. I have that very same app myself. But beware, any gun website or app will have a disclaimer stating to check all local laws. Because you say you know which states recognize your Arizone permit, but before that you said it is accepted in around 38 states. There is no around when it comes to gun laws. Without that app, the statement around could land someone in deep shit. It’s actually 36 states that recognize your Arizona permit whether by written agreement or not. Not trying to chastise you in the least bit. I’m just saying a lil slip can cause someone dangerous repercussions. Like the Marine who inadvertently carried his legal weapon in Virginia into communists New Jersey. He is seeking a full pardon but at this time Christie has only commuted his sentence, but the conviction still stands. Stay armed my fellow patriot


Although I agree that getting training is important, one is never freely exercising his God-given and Consttutional right to bear arms if he has to ask permission from a governmental body.

Gary Birlem

Iowa10, I think what’s creating the argument regarding our constitutional right to bear arms, and I just saw that “some” states ruled on this, that you have the right to bear arms on your property to defend your home and family. But to carry, concealed or otherwise in public, you need the CCW permit. I do understand that all states do not feel that way. I think the definition of “right to bear arms” needs to be defined.


Thanks. It has to mean elsewhere, else the minutemen would have been in violation since they were away from their homes. If bad governmental forces swooped down on hapless citizens, the citizens would not have time to seek permission, much less get training. I just know that bad guys never seek permission. Good guys should be extended the same “courtesy”. That way, there would indeed be a level playing field.


I believe in constitutional carry. But, I also believe in my own safety, which comes into play anytime I am in public, especially if i were to be around the uneducated carriers that would be at large with constitutional carry. Stupidity has no boundaries. I also believe that open carry can be an open invitation for criminals to attempt to take your firearm from you, once they see you have one. I think education is key to all who intend to carry but if we required a classes to become safe, people would say it’s not constitutional carry. Damned if we do, damned if we don’t.


I agree. Even if the cops can’t legally bother you, I’d much rather be able to say to an officer, “Yes, officer, I’m carrying a firearm, and I have a carry permit for it.”


I refer to constitutional carry legislation as “We don’t need no stinkin badges” laws. This allows me to advocate for the second amendment and make fun of CCW Badges at the same time. If only I could find a way to make fun of sheepdogs as well.


You wrote “South Carolina has just passed a bill codifying it into law.” This wildly inaccurate, the SC House passed a bill which now has been moved to the SC Senate. The Senate placed the bill in committee, alongside the Senate’s own bill which has been laying around for months, and either or both may still die in that committee, as they have done in past years. So no, South Carolina did not just codify constitutional carry into law. However there is hope.

Fred Miller

I have permits from NY, PA, FL, UT, CT and NH. I have safety courses from each state. There are still several states I’m unable to carry in, and I have to maintain all these permits at different times and for different amounts. It’s a giant PIA. You can drive a car, operate a boat or watercraft or fly a plane in all fifty states with a single license. It should be the same with a CCW. However, a CCW should be the same as as those licenses or certificates. A standard should be developed with a safety course and accompanying permit. I do understand the difference people would see between a drivers license (a privilege) and owning a gun (a right). However, requiring a safety course and a national CCW permit would weed out some of the morons and educate others who would otherwise become morons.


Mr. Jenkins,
You should update your article. South Carolina DID NOT codify it into law. As of April 23, 2017 the House of Representatives has passed their version of the bill and it’s up to the Senate to pass their version (S. 449) and then the Governor will need to sign it. Only then will it become law in South Carolina. Someone reading your article and believing it to be true could get in a lot of trouble walking around with a handgun and no permit.


Really appreciate this post, Michael. Just found it by googling. Husband and I received our CWP expiry notices today and were wondering why that was needed since Idaho is now a CC state. You’ve clearly laid out why it may not be “required”, but is highly recommended. Small price to pay (just around $38 each here) for that renewal. Thanks much.