Today I stopped by the sheriff’s department to renew my concealed handgun permit. Took a total of fifteen minutes, including filling out the renewal application, and fifty bucks. I don’t carry as much as some people think I should, but having my permit in force makes me feel better.
When I first got my permit, the process took about 6 weeks start to finish. First, I had to take a course in handgun safety–I opted for the classroom course offered by the Sheriff’s department, since if anything ever “went down,” I wanted to be able to have that particular certificate on my side, though I’ve taken quite a few different classes before and since. Then, I had to set an appointment date to show my certificate, get fingerprinted, turn in my application and get my mugshot taken. From that date, it took about another 5 weeks for the permit card to arrive. Of course, this is just in my county, in my state; you can find out what hoops through which you need to hop in your own hometown here.
As I’ve mentioned, renewal was a breeze. Of course, my photo is going to be horrific, because I overslept this morning and last night, I got drenched adjusting the downspouts on my gutters in the middle of the first big deluge of the season. I’d have worn a hat all day at work to hide the horrible do, but knowing they’d make me take it off for the photo, I figured I’d avoid having a hat-head on my license for the next four years. Well, my driver’s license more than makes up for it. In that mugshot, I look totally hot.
Back on topic! While waiting the few minutes for my number to be called, I was pleased to see that several of the applicants were females my age or a bit younger, and two of them were accompanied by their beaus…one was renewing his license, and the other, like his lady, was a first-timer. Do I feel an “Ideas for the Perfect Date” article coming on? Maybe not, but the scene warmed my heart like a Hallmark ad, and without the nausea.
The cheerful, matronly lady behind the counter told me that since Monday, she’d processed 83 new concealed handgun permit applications. “Lots of folks whose permits expired decades ago are coming in to renew, too,” she said. “People are a little uneasy.”
She had her hands full indeed, so I saved my next question for the woman in the front office. Recently, newspaper publishers around the country have found it fashionable to request and print the identities of concealed weapons permittees under the Freedom of Information Act. (Permit applications, both approved and rejected, are usually considered public record). As applications are made at each citizen’s county sheriff’s office, it is the local sheriff who must fight (or invite) the release of this information.
So I politely asked the attitude of our sheriff toward releasing information to the media. The clerk smiled at me, and said, “He’ll fight it all the way.”
“Good,” I said. “Thank him for me.”
If you’re considering a concealed handgun/weapon permit, or if you already have one, consider contacting the sheriff’s department for your counties of work and residence. Let them know your feelings about this matter, and while you’re at it, ask him what his policy is on concealed handgun permits in general. Send an e-mail or write a letter expressing the importance of your right to carry, because he or she is an elected official, and it’s your responsibility to speak up for yourself as a constituent.
Are you on the fence about getting your permit? Here are a few things to consider.
Some folks say, “I don’t want to be on some list.” Well, chances are, you’re already on some list. If you had to go through the background check to purchase a gun, you’re on a list. If you frequent firearms or self-reliance forums, I’d bet my tinfoil hat you’re on a list. Heck, the Men in Black are probably monitoring you right now, this very second, dying to find out if Prada does indeed make a Bug Out Bag, and if so, can they legislate a tax stamp for it?
You don’t think you’ll ever really carry a weapon with you, so..what’s the point? Well, let’s see. Say you have a situation (stalker, disgruntled and violent ex beau/employee/etc.), and you have a good reason to feel the need for immediate protection. Regardless of expedited permits, which are rare by the way, it will take days if not weeks (or months, in some counties) to legally carry a concealed firearm. Having laid the groundwork, taken the required classes, and received your permit well in advance of any urgent need is a pretty good idea. If you’re like me, and you had somebody threatening you with bodily harm, you’d probably opt to carry illegally if you had no other choice, but if you’re caught, or if (gawd forbid) you have to use that firearm against your aggressor, you’re faaaaaaaar better off to be on the side of the law (even if you’re already on the side of the constitution, but let’s leave that one alone for now, shall we?)
Another good reason to have your permit is to show that you value your rights. You’re not supporting RKBA because you like to duck hunt every year with your Uncle Bob. You’re supporting RKBA because you know you’re responsible for yourself and your own when some creep comes barging in the front door at 2am. Other good people will go further, and tell you that your AR-15 is for protecting you from authority gone amok, and I tend to agree.
Even I’m stunned when I learn how many permit holders are in this or that county. When I looked around the waiting room this afternoon, I realized that even I stereotype the typical gun owner. We’re not toothless rednecks (not that there’s anything wrong with being toothless OR a redneck) we’re not gullible to so-called “fear-mongering”, and we’re not police-academy-reject-cop-wannabes.
But I’ll bet my satin panties that most folks who do have a permit, or who simply own a rifle for sporting purposes, have never put forth any effort toward the preservation of RKBA. Dianne Feinstein, for one, has a concealed handgun permit (AND armed bodyguards) but she’s doing her best to make sure us peasants can’t have the same rights to self-preservation. OK, that’s extreme–but what about you? Come on, write a letter to your Sheriff, your Senator, your Congressman, your mayor, your governor, whatever. Choose a viable RKBA organization to support, and send in your dues. Your firearm might be concealed, but you should let your government know exactly what’s on your mind.