By Dean Weingarten
Arizona – -(Ammoland.com)-Carry permits do not have to be expensive and complex. The New Hampshire permit has been fairly easy to obtain for many years, if you already had a permit from your state of residence.
During the last few months I have renewed a couple of carry permits. It is not intensely difficult, but when you have better things to do, it can be irritating.
Some of the requirements make no sense. Others were obviously put in as poison pills during the passage of the original bill. Many seem designed to discourage people from obtaining a permit.
As John Lott has noted, the more expense, in time or money, or both, that it takes to obtain a permit, the smaller the percentage of people who will make the effort to obtain one. It is not a straight slope. The smaller the percentage of people become, the willingness to jump through hoops grows exponentially. At the end of that scale are people who choose their career so that they can carry the means to protect themselves and their family.
Here are some silly requirements I have noted to obtain a carry permit.
Fingerprints. Silly. Not needed. Several states do not require them. An unnecessary expense and expenditure of time. Florida adds another $42 to “process finger prints”. May be it is a cash cow for them. Arizona recommends two fingerprint cards for their permit, doubling the printing expenditure on the applicant's part. For Arizona, it is a way to try to assure a good set of prints. They only submit one copy, and one copy will (if it is legible) be enough for a permit.
Taking of fingerprints by the police. Most people do not have the equipment or training to take their own prints. I do and did. Florida requires that the prints be done by a police agency.
Pictures. Several states do not require pictures. More time and expense. States that do not require pictures usually say that it is a good idea to have a picture ID with your permit. An old friend in Wisconsin just tapes a copy of an expired driver's license to his Wisconsin permit.
Notary signature to show that you signed the application. I had to do this for the Florida permit. It is not required in most states.
Payment by a restricted method. Arizona, when they passed their law, required that payment be in the form of money orders or certified checks. I suspect that could be overturned by a court. No one has bothered to try. It is another minor inconvenience that has to be overcome. Several states allow you to pay by credit card online.
Difficult and costly training. When Arizona started its shall issue permit system, it had the longest training requirement of any state. 16 hours of training was required. I enjoyed training those classes. You could fit them into a weekend. The instructor did not have much time left over. But it cut down the number of people willing to obtain a permit substantially. Taking a whole weekend to attend a class is difficult for people with busy lives.
These requirements are small potatoes compared to some that are in place in the states that still have the archaic “may issue” system of permits. I consider it a “feudal” system, in that it gives significant power to some authority, often a police chief or sheriff, sometimes a committee, to arbitrarily grant or deprive individual permits. The “may issue” system is invariable corrupted as officials, being human, are swayed into granting permits to people with political clout and money, and who find mechanisms and reasons to not grant permits to those who they dislike or are simply inclined to ignore.
John Stossel, who has money and clout, was denied a permit in New York City. He produced a TV segment on it. The bureaucratic obstacles that he faced were daunting.
I can relate. When I entered Panama, I had a number of firearms with me. Through misinformation I had been given about protocols, I did not have a permit. That is a story for another time. The Panamanian authorities impounded my firearms. After six months of diligent effort, and the help of a secretary fluent in spoken and written Spanish, I obtained the desired permit.
It involved several solo trips on foot into a disreputable part of Panama City, as parking there was virtually impossible. On one occasion two Guardia, aghast at the idea that I was entering the area alone, insisted on accompanying me. A confident attitude and looking as if you had every right to be where you are, goes a long way, as my old First Sargent had taught me. Teniente Puga, who was in charge of issuing permits, did not like Americans. I had to have the permit to recover the firearms; so I had considerable incentive to obtain it. The status of forces agreement helped, as well. When I retrieved my firearms, they were in excellent condition.
Many people say that “The Second Amendment is my permit!” It is an admirable attitude. Unfortunately, in many parts of America, people who carry without big daddy government's permission, take a serious risk of being arrested, convicted, fined, jailed,and having many rights taken away, including voting. I wish it were not so. Second Amendment activists work toward the day when the Second Amendment is fully enforced in all American territories.
The incremental approach with permits is working. In Arizona, we started with no permit. Then we passed shall issue with 16 hours of training. The 16 hours were intensely enjoyable for me as an instructor. With prep, I could fit it into a weekend of two long days. But many busy people find an entire weekend difficult to make time for. Exercise of Second Amendment rights was chilled.
We reduced the training requirement to 8 hours, then 4, then we added numerous substitutes, such as having served in the Military (a DD214 is sufficient), a hunters safety course, or having had training for another state's permit. We reduced training for renewal from 8 hours to 4 hours to no hours.Eventually, we passed “Constitutional” carry, while keeping the much simpler and easier permit system.
Simplifying and making the permit system easier to navigate, moves the system toward “Constitutional” carry. When obtaining a permit is easier, the number of people with permits increases. This increases political clout with the legislature, and reinforces the belief that carry and self defense are widely supported, mainstream activities. It increases the number of Second Amendment activists.
The Arizona permit system can be improved considerably beyond what it is. But once you obtain “Constitutional” carry, the incentive to improve the permit system is diminished.
An intermediate step toward “Constitutional” carry nationwide, would be competition among the states for a cheap, easy, permit that is recognized nationwide.
©2016 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.
About Dean Weingarten;
Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer, a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1973. He taught the Arizona concealed carry course for fifteen years until the goal of constitutional carry was attained. He has degrees in meteorology and mining engineering, and recently retired from the Department of Defense after a 30 year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.