In many states, if you want to carry a concealed firearm, you will need a permit issued but that state. The requirements for obtaining the permit can vary, but many states have concealed carry classes that you can attend before you are eligible to apply for your handgun permit.
When you own a handgun, taking it to the range or moving it from one place to another does not always mean carrying concealed. The laws in your state will often define what concealed is, so it is vital to check.
Many states are instituting constitutional carry laws that allow any law-abiding citizen to carry a handgun in plain view. However, as soon as the gun is hidden, you are concealing it and must have a permit. Concealed carry classes go over all the laws and scenarios you may run into as a gun owner and can help prepare you to make the right decisions about when, where, and how to carry your firearms.
The classes are detailed and contain information to help you become a responsible firearm owner and help you determine when it is okay to use your gun and when it could cause problems for you, even if you think you are within your rights. Knowing the rules and regulations surrounding concealed carry in your state is crucial, so taking the right classes to educate yourself will protect you in the event there is a situation that arises in which you need to defend your life or someone else's.
If you already own a handgun, you most likely have been through a federal background check as part of the purchase process. Some people have guns they own and never planned to carry, but when the time comes to apply for a concealed carry permit, you may need an updated background check completed.
Once you complete the concealed carry classes required by your state, you will need to take the paperwork and the application to the municipality for submission. In some states, the police department takes the applications. While in others, you must go to the state police barracks to complete the process.
You may need fingerprints to file with the application as well. Fingerprints are easily obtained at the local PD, or the state police can print you. While the background requirements are federal law, states can add additional steps to shore up the process and limit concealed carry. Often that means the process from one location to another is not the same and can be confusing.
Start with a call to your state police barracks or the Attorney General's office in your state to get clarification about the application process. Some states will have a website that answers all your questions, includes downloads for the application, and may have a list of available concealed carry classes in your area.