Forgot Your CCW Permit At Home, What NOW?!

Forgot Your CCW Permit At Home, What NOW?!

Forgot Your CCW Permit At Home, What NOW?!

In the rush of excitement of finally receiving your concealed carry permit or license, you’re likely looking forward into heading out into the world with the ability to legally protect yourself with a handgun concealed on your person.

However, in most states that require a permit, they also require you to be able to produce that permit upon request by law enforcement. There are even some states that can have your permit subject to revocation and potential criminal charges if you are unable to produce it while carrying.

So what do you do if you’re pulled over and you realize you don’t have your concealed carry permit on you?

The best solution we advocate is be up front.

Many states, like Texas, link your concealed handgun license (CHL) to your driver’s license or state-issued identification card. In Texas, you’re obliged to let the officer know you’re carrying on first contact at a traffic stop. Being up front with the officer and letting him know that while you were issued a valid permit, you cannot produce it is, in many cases, the best way to avoiding a bad situation.

While some may advocate that you simply say nothing and stay put throughout the police interaction, if your identity and driving record is linked to your concealed carry permit, you can put yourself in hot water with that officer.

In states like Georgia the officer is not allowed to detain you to verify your lawful carriage of a concealed handgun.

O.C.G.A. § 16-11-137

(b) A person carrying a weapon shall not be subject to detention for the sole purpose of investigating whether such person has a weapons carry license.

That is VERY specific to Georgia. So, ultimately, it is your call as to how you choose to proceed. Law enforcement officers generally appreciate knowing whether the person they are interacting with is armed or not. And we are not going to advocate for you to do anything that would either be potentially incriminating or avoiding the law.

If you’re NOT interacting with law enforcement and, for whatever reason, discover you left your concealed carry permit at home or at work, try to head back to recover it. This may be inconvenient but it is assuredly less so than having to interact with law enforcement without having it available.

Now, if you’re in a state that requires no permit to carry openly, you may just be better off open carrying until you can get to where ever your permit is located.

If you are in a state where your permit is reciprocated BUT you do not have it on you, it is highly advised that you unload your firearm and safely store it in a place you cannot access it until you can get your permit in-hand. If you are stopped during this time, so long as you are directly heading to get your permit, you are most likely protected under FOPA — so long as the firearm is unloaded and stored in a place you cannot readily access it.

Does all this sound a bit excessive and inconvenient? You sure bet. But we’re also trying to be responsible and accountable and part of that is obliging the law of the land. Ultimately, use your judgement and proceed accordingly.

Before the problem gets to this level, here are a couple checks we always recommend concealed carriers do before heading out the door.


  • Physically check to make sure you have your concealed carry permit in your wallet or purse.
  • Place it in a well known slide in your wallet so you always know where to go to get it.
The information in this post is for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. You should contact your attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem. Use of and access to this Web site, emails or any of the e-mail links contained within the site do not create an attorney-client relationship between i156 LLC and the user or browser. The opinions expressed at or through this site are the opinions of the individual author and may not reflect the opinions of i156 LLC.
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Luke McCoy is the founder of USA Carry. In 2007, he launched USA Carry to provide concealed carry information and a community for those with concealed carry permits and firearm enthusiasts.
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Smallbiz Utah

An electronic version you could show on your phone, like your insurance would be good too. they should even have an electronic version of your DL with bar code or QR code so the officer can scan it. It could be in an app that is supported by local law enforcement and could be used to remind us of renewals citations and organ donation programs. But that is too easy.

Mark Gates

Does anybody know if that is a legal option in any state? I’ve thought about that too, although I’m sure Illinois would be last on board as usual.


I don’t think it is officially sanctioned anywhere, but it may buy you mercy with some officers.


In my state when the police run your plates it will come back to the officer you were issued a
CCL…so before he/she even approaches your car they know so if you don’t know this and the cop asks is there a weapon/gun in the car and you say no because you don’t have your CCL card you could be caught in a lie …..I can’t think of any good reasons to take it out of your wallet or even leave it at work.

Mark Gates

Normally I’d agree, however I’m a firefighter and one time I had to do the shopping for the shift and put my wallet in my duty pants. The next morning I went home (drove home carrying) with out my wallet including my CCW and of course in Illinois my FOID. Had I been pulled over I’d have been royally screwed. Had I known I couldn’t have even unloaded and secured the weapon in my car safe. Had to drive back to the station to get my wallet unarmed 45 minutes each way. What a pain. Like SmallBiz Utah I would like the option to present a digital copy for rare situations.


+1 on the electronic version but until the app exists, take a picture of the CCW card and keep it on your smart phone. I’ve never left the house without my phone and wallet.


Pretty simple – just take a picture of it with your cell phone – may not be officially sanctioned, but serves as proof of the permit if you happen to need it in a pinch.
Also – make photocopies of the permit and leave one in your glove compartment/console – or perhaps in a secure location in your trunk.
It’s also a god idea to have a lockable case in your trunk (and trigger lock) in case you feel better securing it, or happen to have to make an unplanned trip to someplace where it is prohibited.
As another commentator here said – never take the CCW out of your wallet unless necessary – so it is always with you.

In 20+ years, only been asked to show it when buying a firearm or ammo (my state requires that).

Max Wasatch

It is a very bad idea to leave anything with your address on it in your car. A lot of crime happens from people breaking in a steeling you garage door opener and your address. You are off getting groceries and they are getting everything else you own.


One has to carry proof of registration and insurance, so the address is already likely in the vehicle.

Max Wasatch

You actually are just required to have it with you when the vehicle is in operation. You can keep it in your wallet if you prefer.

Most states give you two copies of your registration. One is a receipt and has you address on it. The other is your registration which does not have the address on it. That is the one to put in the car. If your state has not started this yet I would start harassing your elected representatives about getting up to date.


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My carry permit is in the same slot right behind my driver’s license! DON”T waste money on the “special CCW credentials wallet and badge! These may well get you in trouble for impersonating a Police Officer and makes one more item you need to remember when you leave home. Carrying your CCW in your wallet with you DL means only one thing to remember, your wallet!

Warren Cohen

Keep you CCW with your driver’s license. If you’re carrying it far better to inform
any peace officer during the initial contact and follow the officer’s
instructions exactly. If in your vehicle when stopped keep both hands on the steering wheel in plain sight until instructed to do otherwise. I know you’ve done nothing wrong and the stop is a mistake, but remember the officer believes he had a reason for stopping you; and, how many officers have been killed or injured while interviewing a “stopped” subject.