I carry concealed every single day. In fact, pretty much the only time I don’t have a gun on my hip or in my pocket is when I go to the post office to mail a package. Obviously, because the post office doesn’t allow guns, I lock my gun in my car, but as soon as I get back to the car, my gun goes right back on my body.
Even though I always carry concealed, I realize not everyone does (and if you don't, you should at least make sure you're carrying another self defense tool, among these). Many people only carry occasionally, and some have their concealed carry permits simply as a form of insurance so that if they one day choose to carry, they can do it legally. Whatever your reason for having a permit, I want to help you make sure it’s always valid so you never find yourself in the position of violating the law and carrying a gun on an expired permit.
(Train often, even if you don't carry concealed every day)
Most states make it very easy to renew your permit, so there’s little excuse for not having a valid permit at all times. For instance, the other day, a friend of mine stopped by my house. This friend has a Utah concealed carry permit that was about to expire and he asked me what he needed to do renew it.
In the majority of states, you can renew your concealed carry permit online, without leaving your home or taking another class, which is the case for the state of Utah. All you have to do is go to your state government website that handles the renewals. If you don’t know the website address, simply Google something along the lines of “Utah Concealed Carry Permit Renewal.”
Once you get to the state website you go to the permit renewal section and start the process, which typically takes about 15 minutes. You have to fill out all of your information again for your name, date of birth, address and all of the other information required the first time you filled out a concealed carry permit application.
You also have to answer the same questions and verify that you’re not a convicted felon, you don’t have a restraining order against you, you don’t do drugs, you are a United States citizen and so on.
Once you answer all of those questions, you have to provide a new passport quality photo. In the case of the friend who came over to my house, I just took a picture of him against the blank wall with my digital camera. I uploaded the picture to the Utah renewal site and it allowed me to “crop” the picture so I had a passport-looking headshot.
After the photo was loaded, all he had to do was pay the fee to renew for another five years. In the state of Utah, the renewal fee is only $15, plus there is a $.75 “convenience fee” for renewing over the Internet.
The renewal website for the state of Utah is very user friendly and it probably took us 10 minutes to complete the entire renewal process, including the photo. I imagine many states are the same way.
If you happen to be like me and have multiple permits – I have Virginia, Utah, Arizona, and Nevada – then it’s important to stay organized and keep track of all the different expiration dates. There are many concealed carry websites that allow you to set up reminders, or you could use an online calendar to do the same thing.
In fact, if you haven’t looked at the expiration date on your permit lately, do it right now. Pull out your wallet and take a look at your permit. If you don’t already have a reminder set up, do it before you get up from the computer.
The last thing you want to have happen is to accidentally let it expire so you can’t carry your gun. Plus, if you let it expire, in most states you have to take the class all over again and pay the entire fee instead of the less expensive renewal fee.
I think you and I can both agree that we never want to do anything illegal, so renew your permit today, if the time has come, and never let this important task slip from your mind.