What is the Virginia Non Resident Permit Anyways?
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Getting a carry permit is pretty straightforward right? Find and instructor, take the course, apply for and receive the permit and you are all set. Pretty straightforward indeed… What most instructors won’t or don’t tell new students and novice shooters is that permits come in all different shapes and sizes.
Just like that first handgun you bought, the options were endless. Do I get a Glock, a Sig, a CZ? Do I look for a weapon that holds more rounds? Revolver or pistol? Lighter and smaller or larger and heavier? These are just a few of the questions that one should answer before purchasing a firearm.
On the other hand, most people who are seeking their permit choose a local instructor in their state of residence and apply for the permit of the state that they live in. While this is perfectly fine, I highly encourage everyone to do their own research (or just read mine if you trust me) before choosing a permit to go with. I am going to break down what to look for when applying for you concealed weapons permit.
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In concept, this should be relatively easy. We live in an age where technology encompasses just about everything and generally day to day activities are simplified. Unfortunately, as you should have already noticed, the government is extremely efficient at being inefficient.
For instance, here in Minnesota, I am required to go down to the sheriff’s department between 9:00 am and 3:30 pm, minus 11:30-12:30 for lunch, Monday through Friday to get my permit. Now if you are not from Minnesota, you probably think that the process is pretty quick considering we are a flyover state and who the hell wants to live in a frozen tundra 6 months out of the year. While you might be right about that last part, the application process is far from simple.
I live in Hennepin County, the largest county in Minnesota. The county itself hosts right around 1.2 million of Minnesota’s 5.5 million residents. This equates to roughly 22% of the total population. The office that handles permit applications for all Hennepin County residents is about 160 square feet and located in downtown Minneapolis. In all, if I want my Minnesota permit, I have to take half a day of PTO, drive downtown Minneapolis, find parking, wait in line (sometimes up to two hours) and ensure that I do it all within the time frame allotted.
I tell you this simply to give you a picture of what it looks like to go through the permitting application in my hometown. Let’s take a look at the Virginia Non-Resident application process.
To apply for a Virginia Non-Resident application, one has to complete a state approved training organization (like National Carry Academy’s Online Conceal and Carry Course) and request an application package from Virginia by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. From there, check your mail, fill out the application, have your friendly neighborhood police department take your finger prints (roughly about 5 minutes of you time), send it back and wait for you permit in the mail.
Pretty simple right?
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While cost might not be the most pressing matter, who doesn’t love to save some cash? Pricing varies state to state and even county to county within that state. Take Minnesota for example. Across most counties, the application fee is $100 ($75 for renewal.) The counties are allowed to drop it down to $75 ($50 for renewal) if they so choose. Do you think many counties get on board with taking less money than they are allowed to collect?
On the other hand, Wisconsin’s resident and non-resident permit is only $40. A pretty big drop for two states that border each other. When choosing your carry permit, make sure you examine all the costs involved.
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We already talked about Reciprocity in a previous post here, but I wanted to briefly cover the topic again as explore non-resident permits and why they might be a better option than your home state permit. Reciprocity, or the ability to carry in another state, widely fluctuates based off of the state you live in and the training requirements of the state’s permit for which you are applying.
If you have done your research, you have probably noticed that Arizona, Florida, Utah and Virginia are four of the best options when it comes to reciprocity. For today we are going to look at Virginia’s permit. I choose Virginia because I believe that it has the best value and most convenient application process. Below are two maps, one showing Virginia and one showing Minnesota.
Let’s see the two states battle it out. Minnesota is valid in 26 states while Virginia is valid in 28 (32 including constitutional carry states). Minnesota covers a lot of the heartland, but Virginia does it better and includes more southern states. Minnesota and Virginia both cost $100 with the state. Minnesota’s permit is accepted in Virginia, Virginia’s is not accepted in Minnesota. Very similar training requirements, but drastically different application process and coverage. So which would I get? Considering I want to carry in the state that I spend 90% of my time in, I am going to opt for combining the benefit of both to cover my home state and also increase coverage in states that I visit (North Dakota and New Mexico.)
Overall, there are hundreds of thousands of different options for permitting are available with different states. Whether you choose one permit or twenty, it is a choice that you have to make that best fits your lifestyle. Before you choose your permit, take a look at the other options like the Virginia Non-Resident permit before you purchase.