By Annette Doerr, Women’s Outdoor News
If you’re reading this column, you likely have a pistol license issued by the state in which you live. If you’re lucky enough to live in one of the “Constitutional Carry” states, you may not even need to have a state license. Hopefully at some point in the future, having your pistol permit will be similar to having your driver’s license. When you’re driving and you get to your state line, you don’t have to stop. That’s not the case when it comes to handguns.
Depending on the state in which you live, your pistol license may or may not have reciprocity to legally carry your pistol in other states. Some states—including New York, the state where I live—do not grant reciprocity to any state.
Many states will offer a nonresident permit so that out-of-staters can legally carry their firearm when in that state. While my home state of New York does not currently grant reciprocity to any other state, a New York pistol permit is recognized and has reciprocity in 22 other states. Confusing, right? A great resource that I use often is the interactive reciprocity map on the website usacarry.com. This website also contains up-to-date information on the latest reciprocity agreements and changes that happen during the year. That said, as responsible firearm owners, it’s up to each of us to know the laws of the states we live and travel in, so do your homework.
Nonresident Pistol Permits in Florida and Utah
Two popular states that issue nonresident pistol permits are Florida and Utah. The bonus to these 2 particular states is that once you meet the application requirements, you can apply by mail. (Many states that offer nonresident permits require you to appear in person to apply.) Both Florida and Utah require a certain amount of documented training, such as an NRA pistol class or a specialized Utah pistol course, prior to submitting your application, fee and fingerprint cards.
FLORIDA: At the time this is going online, the Florida nonresident permit cost $112. You may deduct $42 for the fingerprint processing fee if you have your fingerprints digitally scanned by your local law enforcement agency and are submitting a digital copy.
The minimum requirements to qualify for a pistol license in Florida, according to the Fresh From Florida state-run website, are as follows:
- You must be at least 21 years of age, unless you are a service member, as defined in Section 250.01 of the Florida statutes, or you are a veteran of the United States Armed Forces who was discharged under honorable conditions.
- You must meet the citizenship and residency requirements set forth in the law.
- You must be able to provide a certificate of completion from a firearms training class or other acceptable training document that evidences your competency with a firearm.
- You must not have a disqualifying criminal record or other condition that would make you ineligible for licensure.
Applications can be submitted through the mail, or in person.
UTAH: At this time, the cost of a nonresident Utah Concealed Firearm Permit is $49; it has reciprocity in 35 states. The minimum requirements for a Utah permit as stated on the Utah DPS website are as follows:
- Applicant must be at least 21 years of age
- Proof of good character…whereas the applicant:
- has not been convicted of a felony;
- has not been convicted of any crime of violence;
- has not been convicted of any offense involving the use of alcohol;
- has not been convicted of any offenses involving the unlawful use of narcotics or other controlled substances;
- has not been convicted of any offenses involving moral turpitude;
- has not been convicted of any offense involving domestic violence;
- has not been adjudicated by a court of a state or of the United States as mentally incompetent, unless the adjudication has been withdrawn or reversed
- is qualified to purchase and possess a firearm pursuant to Section 76-10-503 and federal law.
A criminal background check is conducted for all applicants.
Of note, Utah requires the completion of its own safety class, which is taught by Utah-certified instructors. A list of current Utah instructors can be found here: Certified Utah instructors.
While Florida and Utah nonresident permits are widely popular, depending on where you live and where you plan on traveling with your firearm, you might want to check the requirements and reciprocity for other states near you, even if it means applying in person. For example, although I live in New York, I spend a lot of time at a home in the mountains of Pennsylvania. Because of this, I obtained my Pennsylvania nonresident License to Carry Firearm (LTF). Despite the fact that I own a home and property in the state, I cannot legally obtain a resident permit as Pennsylvania is not my primary state of residence. No worries, though—I can still do everything with my nonresident permit that I could with a resident permit, and as an added bonus, Pennsylvania has reciprocity to 26 additional states. Between my New York resident permit and my Utah and Pennsylvania nonresident permits, I could drive from Vermont to Washington State and never have an issue, thanks to reciprocity!
If you’re considering applying for a nonresident pistol permit, here are 9 things you need to know:
- Laws vary by state. It is your responsibility to know the laws of state for which you are applying. Independent online resources are great, but there’s never a total guarantee of their updated accuracy. A quick phone call to the state police or sheriff’s office can give you the information you need to know, before you decide to apply.
- Reciprocity is subject to change.
- Renewing your nonresident permit may be a hassle if you need to renew in person. Be mindful of the dates your permits expire and make sure you renew them promptly.
- Know the training requirements and complete everything ahead of time. While NRA pistol classes are more widely available, the Utah class is specialized and has a smaller number of certified instructors. It may take you several weeks to months to be able to attend and pass the class, depending on availability of the class in your area.
- Some states will mail you their required fingerprint cards. Don’t assume that your local police department’s cards will be accepted. Again, know what is needed ahead of time.
- Most states require you to have your home state’s pistol permit in order to obtain a nonresident permit from their state. Having this means you’ve already passed the background checks and been vetted.
- Due to backlogs, it may take up to several months to obtain your nonresident permit, especially if you’re applying for it by mail.
- It may take a few tries to find somewhere to fingerprint you. My local police department will not fingerprint for out-of-state permits. It took a few phone calls to find a department that would!
- Double-check that you’re getting the best bang for your buck with any state you’re considering applying to. Many have identical reciprocity, and costs vary widely.
While I’ve shared a lot of information on 2 state’s application process, they are similar to many other states. Take a look at the links I’ve provided above, and see if obtaining a nonresident pistol permit makes sense for you. Be safe out there, and carry on!
Thanks to the team at Women’s Outdoor News for this contribution. Click here to visit WomensoutdoorNews.com.