Arizona recently passed the “Constitutional Carry Bill,” a law allowing citizens to carry concealed weapons in public without a permit. It would seem that there is now no reason to get a permit, right? Wrong. In reality, there are many benefits to obtaining a permit. In this article I will describe the process to get a concealed weapons permit, and in the next article I’ll describe the benefits to having a permit versus not having one.
First, to get a concealed weapons permit in Arizona you must meet a few basic qualifications. You may not be a felon, must be over the age of 21, not be deemed mentally infirm by the court, and you must not have a domestic abuse conviction (misdemeanor or not). You must complete a training course, ran by a private school, which lasts at least eight hours and covers a specific curriculum provided by the state. Next, an applicant must have their fingerprints documented by someone licensed by the state. They will submit proof of training and identification and their fingerprint cards to the Department of Public Safety along with a $60 application fee. As Arizona is a “shall issue” state, as long as all their ducks are in a row the permit will be issued and mailed out quickly. Turnaround is generally 2-4 weeks from door to door.
The courses cover a variety of topics. The first few hours are spent on nomenclature and definitions, the basics of understanding a handgun and how it works. Many courses will explain the pros and cons of each type of weapon, for example automatics versus revolvers. As there are also many different methods of carrying a concealed weapon, classes will review this as well and analyze which solutions work best for which situations.
Another important section to be reviewed is the weapons safety rules. Treat every weapon as if it were loaded, never point a weapon at anything you do not intend to destroy, keep your weapon on safe (if applicable) and your finger straight and off the trigger until you are ready to fire, know your target and what lies beyond it, and maintain control of you firearm are the five modern weapons safety rules.
After the safety brief, there will be a mandatory qualification exercise. Every student in the class will have to fire ten rounds at a short distance at a man-shaped target. They must strike the target with a high percentage. It is generally impossible to fail this test due to marksmanship as it is at a very close range, this is effectively just a test of basic understanding of the weapon.
The next few hours are spent on the legalities of concealed weapons carry and self defense. There are many legal intricacies which determine where you may and may not carry a weapon, and general guidelines for what you should do if you have to use a weapon in defense of yourself or another.
In my next article, I’ll explain the benefits to having a concealed weapons permit versus relying on the “Constitutional Carry Law” recently enacted.