We wrote an article about getting concealed weapons permits from other states before, with the primary theme being to point out that the well known Utah CCW permit is not the only option out there, and indeed, is not even necessarily the best option.
This time we’d like to ‘zoom in’ some more on the issue, and from the particular perspective of WA state residents. How can you best end up with permission to carry your pistol in as many states as possible?
The first thing you should do is, of course, get your WA state CCW permit. The good news is that WA is a ‘shall issue’ state, meaning the local Police Department (if you live in an incorporated area) or County Sheriff’s office (if you live in an unincorporated part of a county) is required by law to give you a CCW permit, unless you are disqualified (eg by a past felony conviction) from having one.
You don’t need to explain or justify why you want one, and you don’t need to have attended any classes (but we recommend you should attend a class that offers you both some training on gun safety and handling issues and also gives you an appreciation of the relevant Washington and federal laws related to gun ownership, carrying, and self-defense usage – we at Code Green provide such courses).
To get your WA permit, you simply fill out the form, pay the fee ($36 plus a variable fee for being fingerprinted – different offices charge different amounts for this, but expect about $20), get fingerprinted, then patiently wait for the permit to be sent to you in the mail. By law, the issuing authority is required to send this to you no more than 30 days after you’ve applied (and in our experience it will take close to exactly that long), and the license will be valid for five years.
Now that you have your WA permit, what next?
Getting Permission to Carry in Other States – WA Reciprocity
The good news is that your WA CCW permit gives you reciprocal rights in 24 additional states.
You can carry a concealed weapon in these 24 other states (see table, below) without needing anything more than your WA permit – but note that in such cases, you have to be in compliance with the laws of the state you are visiting (and, of course, federal laws) – whatever the laws say in WA don’t apply in another state, even though you are using your WA CCW permit.
When you think about it, that makes sense, the same as with driving licenses. You have to observe the laws of the state or country you are in, no matter what the driving laws are in the state you got your license from.
This leaves 26 other states, plus the District of Columbia, where you can not carry concealed without securing an additional permit.
Reciprocity from Other State CCWs
Now, in theory, you could go get permits from as many of these other 26 jurisdictions as will issue them to you. But there’s a simpler way. You can simply get one or two other permits from other states which will in turn be recognized by many of the other states.
This is where the UT permit comes in. If you add a UT permit, you get seven more states that you can carry in. These are, obviously enough, states that will honor a UT permit, but which don’t also honor a WA permit.
But UT is not the only other state to consider for getting a permit, which was the point we made in our earlier article, written to be relevant to people resident in all states. Somehow UT has attained a reputation that is not necessarily completely deserved; other states offer ‘better’ permits (ie as easy or easier to qualify for, and recognized by as many or more states). We also like the FL permit (lasts longer and is valid in more states than UT). We also like the AZ permit, but the FL one edges it out by being valid for seven rather than five years.
The Complexities of CCW Reciprocity
Why do some states honor some permits and not others? That’s a very good question, and there’s no easy simple answer.
Some states have a simple reciprocity policy – if any other state will accept their permit, they’ll in turn accept permits from that other state.
Other states say they will accept permits from other states that have similar or stricter requirements for who can qualify for a permit. For example, a state that requires a shooting skills test qualification to be eligible for a CCW might agree to accept only CCWs from other states that also have a similar requirement.
And then there are all sorts of other factors as well, plus let’s not forget the states that just flat out say ‘We’re not accepting any other states’ CCWs at all’.
Federal Reciprocity Proposals
For some time now, there have been attempts to enact a federal level law that compels all states to recognize all CCW licenses from all other states, just the same way that states currently recognize all other states’ driving licenses.
This would of course make things tremendously much simpler. Currently it is a real mine-field of which states accept which other CCWs, and subject to what sorts of conditions, and so on.
But it is not without potential problems, either. One obvious problem is that if one state requires its residents to pass a shooting skills test and a written examination on gun safety, gun laws, etc, in order to qualify for a CCW, why should it then be compelled to accept, for example, our own WA CCW – something we can get without having to do anything except fill out a form and pay a fee?
Indeed, there would then be a loophole – residents of the stricter state could conceivably come to WA (or one of a number of other states) and get a CCW here, then use that back in their own home state, having avoided the need to do the formal classwork and range work.
So it is a complicated issue of state vs federal rights. Bills have sometimes been passed in the House of Representatives (such as HR822 – in 2011) supporting the national acceptance of a state’s CCW, they have not (yet) been taken up in the Senate. The new President (Mr Trump) has expressed his support for the concept, but that has yet to translate into a tangible outcome.
For at least the foreseeable future, we’re stuck with what we have. So let’s keep reading.
State by State Issues
Let’s do a state by state review of how you can get permission to carry in that state (the list below assumes you have a WA resident’s CCW permit rather than a non-resident WA permit).
To make it reasonably simple to follow, if a state accepts your WA permit, we provide no further comments. There’s not really anything more you care about in such a case.
If the state doesn’t accept a WA permit, we then detail if it will accept any or all of the ‘big three’ of AZ, FL and UT permits (as issued to a non-resident of AZ, FL or UT, which is what you as a WA resident will presumably be). Again, if the state accepts any of these three permits, there’s no need to comment any further.
Lastly, if we’re running out of options, we let you know how else – if at all – you can manage to get a carry permit for that state. Eleven of the states are in red, because those states are somewhere between extremely difficult and impossible for you to get a non-resident carry permit (that’s not to say it is difficult for residents of those states to get permits, too; it just means it is difficult for us as non residents).
|State||WA Permit Accepted||AZ FL UT Permits||Comment/Strategy|
|CA||Does not honor permits from any other state. You’d need to get a permit in CA, but CA doesn’t issue non-resident permits.|
|CO||Only honors resident permits from selected other states, but not WA, so unless you can get a resident permit from AZ, FL, or UT (or some other states too), you’re stuck. Doesn’t issue non-resident permits.|
|CT||Does not honor permits from any other states, but may (rather than shall) issue a non-resident permit. Very difficult.|
|DE||AZ FL UT|
|DC||Does not honor any permits, does not issue any permits. A total zero here (is it a coincidence that DC has both the highest concentration of politicians and one of the highest crime rates?).|
|GA||AZ FL UT|
|HI||Does not honor permits from any other states. Although the state may issue permits to both residents and non-residents, it seems that it almost never does.|
|ID||Yes||If applying for an ID permit, a handgun safety course is required – Code Green can provide this for you.|
|IL||Does not honor any permits, does not issue any permits. Another total zero.|
|ME||Only honors resident permits from selected other states, but not WA. Will issue non-resident permits so if you must have a ME permit, you’ll need to apply for one directly. Handgun safety course required – Code Green can provide this for you.|
|MD||Does not honor any other state permits. It is a may issue state, and may also issue non-resident permits, so if you must have a MD permit, you’ll need to apply for one directly, but your chances of getting one are not very good.|
|MA||Does not honor any other state permits. It is a may issue state, and may also issue non-resident permits, so if you must have a MA permit, you’ll need to apply for one directly, but your chances of getting one are not very good, and if you do get one, it might be restricted to only allowing you to carry a weapon for specific purposes or reasons. Yuck.|
|MI||Yes||Honors WA permits issued to WA residents only, not to out-of-staters with a WA permit.|
|MN||MN accepts permits from 15 states, including non-resident states, but not from AZ, FL, UT or WA. Maybe get an ID Enhanced permit, which would be accepted.|
|NE||AZ FL UT|
|NV||AZ FL UT|
|NH||Only honors resident permits from selected other states, but not WA, so unless you can get a resident permit from AZ, FL, or UT (or some other states too), you’re stuck. But it does issue non-resident permits, so if you must carry in NH, you simply fill out the paperwork to get a NH permit. No training course required.|
|NJ||Does not honor any other state permits. It is a may issue state, and may also issue non-resident permits, so if you must have a NJ permit, you’ll need to apply for one directly, but your chances of getting one are not very good.|
|NY||Does not honor any other state permits. It is a may issue state, and may also issue non-resident permits, so if you must have a NY permit, you’ll need to apply for one directly, but your chances of getting one are not very good. An additional endorsement is required for the permit to be accepted in the five counties comprising New York City.|
|OR||Some OR sheriffs will issue OR permits to WA residents. This is the only way to get an OR license.|
|PA||AZ FL UT||Requires a resident permit for acceptance|
|RI||Does not honor any other state permits. It is unclear if RI is a shall or a may issue state, but the real world seems to be it is difficult for RI residents to get permits. It might issue non-resident permits, so if you must have a RI permit, you’ll need to apply for one directly, but your chances of getting one are not very good.|
|SC||AZ FL||Only honors resident permits from selected other states, but not WA, so unless you can get a resident permit from AZ or FL (or some other states too but not UT), you’re stuck. But it does issue non-resident permits to people owning property in SC, so if you must carry in SC, you can apply for a non-resident permit. Handgun safety course required – Code Green may be able to provide this for you – contact us for details.|
|WV||AZ FL UT|
|WY||AZ FL UT|
WA Permit Accepted
AZ FL UT Permits
Note : This information is accurate, as best we can determine, as of 1 April 2018. It is subject to change at any time, and you should determine the exact current situation on each state’s website. Do not rely on the information in this table, other than as an approximate guide. We recommend Handgunlaw.us as the best third party source of detailed information on each state’s policies, and they have links to the specific web pages published by each state for direct information.
So Which Is/Are the Best Extra CCW Permits to Get?
The answer to this depends, to a large degree, on where you expect to travel in the US. If your travels will seldom/never, or only very briefly, take you to a ‘difficult’ state, why beat yourself up on trying to get a CCW for that state – maybe it is just not worth the hassle?
As you can see from the table above, variously an AZ, FL or UT permit gives you rights in nine more states above and beyond the states you can already carry in due to your WA permit.
None allow you to carry in MN, but for Washingtonians, an ID permit would add this capability.
On the other hand, there are two states which do not accept a UT permit but which do accept an AZ or FL permit – South Carolina and New Mexico.
So for most people, the best permit is the FL permit, and if you must have MN as a state, you would then get an ID permit as an additional permit.
It almost never makes sense to get a UT permit as the primary permit. Never mind its reputation, the current situation contradicts it.
The FL permit is nice because it lasts seven years, but at $97/87 for an out-of-state license (original issue/renewal) it is the most expensive permit (AZ is $60/43, so even after allowing for the seven vs five years, the cost per year is higher). It also requires your finger prints be taken by a police department rather than by any civilian finger printing service making it more of a hassle to work through the paperwork.
Application Process, Cost, and Duration of Permits
|State||Training||Photo Needed||Who Can Fingerprint You||Cost (New; Renewal)||Duration|
Code Green WA CCW class recommended
|No||Done when applying in person||~$55;|
|AZ||Safety Course, No Shooting|
Code Green offers AZ certification classes
|Yes||Code Green can do||$60;|
|FL||Safety Course, Shooting but not accuracy test|
Code Green offers FL certification classes
|Yes||Must be done by a police dept||$97;|
|ID||Safety Course, silent about shooting required|
Code Green offers ID certification classes
|Yes||Done when applying in person||$64;|
|OR||Safety Course, requirements seem to vary from one Sheriff’s office to the next|
Code Green offers OR certification classes
|Yes||Done when applying in person||$65;|
|UT||Minimum 4 hr course, weapons handling required but not necessarily shooting.|
Certification classes NOT currently offered by Code Green
|Yes||Code Green can do||$65;|
Your Next Step
After all the verbage above, it is really quite simple.
First, get your WA permit (this may be required as part of your application process for other state permits too).
Second, choose which of the other states you also want to get permits from, and then attend the appropriate Code Green class(es).
Third, send in the paperwork for the other states, and watch your mailbox.