Difference Between Concealed Weapon Permit & a License to Carry a Firearm?


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Civilians who legally carry handguns in public usually either have a Concealed Weapons Permit (CCW or CWP), or a License to Carry a Firearm (LTC) depending upon the state in which they reside. While in some states there is no difference between the two, in other states there is a substantial difference, and that concerns the manner in which the handgun may be carried.

Knowing the specifics of state laws where living or visiting can keep an individual out of trouble and allows the freedom to carry lawfully.

History of Concealed Carry Legislation

The modern trend to allow licensed citizens to carry handguns started with Georgia in 1976, but it didn't come to the public's attention until Florida passed its version in 1987. Within the next 10 years, more than 20 states passed and signed similar laws.

As of 2009, 38 states are shall-issue, two states allow carry with no formalities, and eight still retain restrictive carry based upon some discretionary authority.

Specifics of Concealed Carry

Each state has somewhat different laws concerning age, training, testing and application for a CCW licensee, but the one factor in common is that the weapon must be totally concealed. In some states, a CCW holder may be punished for printing or flashing, which are to allow the gun to either be seen under the clothing or out in the open. Other states are more lenient if either appears to be an honest mistake on the CCW holder's part.

Another difference between state's laws is that some of the clearly state the purpose of the law is for handguns, and other states define the word "weapon," such that knives and other items are legal.

Specifics of a License to Carry a Firearm

A License to Carry a Firearm is just that. No other weapons are allowed under the various state laws. Because some states, such as Indiana, Pennsylvania and Michigan, never actually assert in the law that the firearm must be concealed, they are considered "open carry" states. It is legal with a LTC to carry a handgun in the public's view, subject to other requirements.

Most states that have a License to Carry law require many of the same requirements for testing and training as the other states with CCW laws.

A Misconception about Carrying a Firearm

In a landmark study in 1995, Clayton Cramer and David Kopel found that, "There is no evidence to suggest that carry reform will cause any increase in murder, let alone an increase so large as to outweigh the significant number of lives that could be saved by allowing people ... to help protect the public."

Favorite Carry Guns

Those who carry concealed tend to favor slightly smaller handguns such as a Kahr, Keltec or a Glock. These lightweight, small but powerful handguns are comfortable inside the waistband, or even in a coat pocket. The new breed of lightweight .38 Special revolvers are popular also.

Open carriers in LTC states often carry full-sized 1911A1s, or .357 Magnums. These heavier handguns need more support to comfortably carry and doing so openly allows the clothing to fit the gun, and not the gun to the clothing.

What Is the Difference Between Concealed Weapon Permit & a License to Carry a Firearm? | eHow.com