Fulltimers And CCWs

 Posted by at 5:33 am  New, Nick's Blog
Dec 242010

After reading yesterday’s Bad Nick Blog, titled Armed Citizens Fight Back, several readers e-mailed me to ask if I have a concealed weapon carry (CCW) permit, and how fulltime RVers can get a permit to carry a handgun.

I actually have two CCW permits, a non-resident from Arizona, and a permit from South Dakota, our state of domicile. Between the two of them, those permits are honored in a total of 36 states that have reciprocity agreements with the states that issued my permits. On the map below, the states in blue all honor one or both of my permits.

CCW Permit Map

Getting a concealed carry permit depends on your home state. Some states require you to pass a concealed carry course and demonstrate proficiency with your weapon before you can qualify for a permit. Others simply issue a permit to people who meet the necessary requirements.

In South Dakota, it’s as simple as filling out a form and submitting it to the Sheriff in your home county. After a background check, you go to the Sheriff’s office, pay a small fee (under $20 as I recall), and your permit is issued. Check with the Sheriff in your county for specific information.

The other two states most popular with fulltime RVers also issue concealed weapons permits to their residents. For Florida residents, this link to the Florida concealed carry permit requirements will help you determine what is required. Texas residents can click this link to Texas CCW information.

Arizona, Texas, and Utah all issue concealed carry permits to non-residents who meet their requirements to obtain such a permit. Check each individual state’s website for information on non-resident permits.

At our Arizona Gypsy Gathering rally in Yuma, Byron Hibshman will be giving a seminar on Transporting Firearms In Your RV. Byron will also be doing an evening class to qualify for a Utah non-resident CCW permit. You can contact Byron at his Traveling CCW website for class information and fees.

A good guide to traveling with firearms is the book The Traveler’s Guide to the Gun Laws of the 50 States, which has detailed info on every state, and what is legal and not legal in that state. Another good reference is the website Handgunlaw.us. But please be aware that things can change on a daily basis, so if you have a question or concern, check with local authorities before you go.

Making the decision to own and carry a firearm is not one to be made lightly. It brings with it a very heavy responsibility to yourself, to your family, and to society. I always tell people that if they are going to have a gun, please, please, please take a firearms safety course, as well as a course on firearms use in a tactical situation. You must not only know how to shoot, you need to know when to shoot, and when not to.

And then practice regularly with your firearm. It’s one thing to punch holes in paper at a range, but in a real life situation, when the adrenalin is pumping and you’re scared to death, even trained police officers and combat veterans miss a lot more than they ever hit their targets.

Face it, most of us will never need a weapon to defend ourselves, especially in the RV lifestyle. However, the flip side of that coin is that any of us can find ourselves in a desperate situation at any minute. After all, we don’t spend all of our lives in safe, secure RV parks. We all drive down the road, eat in restaurants, and shop in stores. And we never know what the guy behind us in traffic or in the checkout line, or at the next table, will do. Having faced off with armed opponents both with and without a gun in my hand in the past, trust me, it’s much better with the gun!

Thought For The Day – Dear Santa, All I want for Christmas is thick hair and a thin body. Please don’t mix them up like you did last year.

Register Now For Our Arizona Gypsy Gathering Rally

Nick Russell

World-Famous, New York Times Best Selling Author, and All-Around Nice Guy!

  16 Responses to “Fulltimers And CCWs”

  1. Hate to burst your bubble on how easy it is to get a CCW in SD. Effective this year at least in Pennington county(Rapid City) you have to prove you lived in the county for 230 consecutive days at one location (RV campground receipt). I was lucky to get mine in 2009 in the simple procedure but spouse nor our friends could get theirs this summer.

  2. Good information and advice. The only thing I wish to add is that using a firearm against someone would probably be a last resort, as a life saving act against someone who also is using deadly force towards you. A lot of bad guys can take away your weapon if you;re not prepared to use it. And, only bring it out when are are prepared to use it. Like you said Nick, there are classes one should take if you are going to have a firearm.

  3. Must just be in Rapid City, Rod. I got mine in October in Mitchell (Hanson County), (we use Emery as our mail service) and were just in Mitchell three days getting some other stuff done.

  4. Good info Nick. I plan on taking Byron’s class at your rally. Thanks for the sensible take on this often volative topic.

  5. To Rod Bahnson – Are you sure about the ‘230’ days? The South Dakota website found here –


    says “Has physically resided in and is a resident of the county where the application is being made for at least thirty days immediately preceding the date of the application;”

    plus I’ve read where it’s really up to the sheriff of your county.

    I guess I’ll find out in two more years.

  6. Here is the link to Minnehaha County (Sioux Falls) for a CCW application. It says only that you have to be a resident for 30 days. That’s what I downloaded filled out and mailed in to the address on the form, and then stopped into the sheriffs office downtown and picked up my permit. I was in and out in 15 minutes. That was in July.


  7. Nick, if you don’t mind me asking, does your concealed weapon permit allow you to carry your weapon aboard U.S. military bases? The reason that I ask is that we usually camp at military campgrounds.

  8. A guy runs Red light and gets pulled over by a local policeman. He hands the cop his driver’s license, insurance papers and his CCW.

    “I see your CCW permit. Are you carrying today?”

    “Yes, I am.”

    “Well better tell me what you got.”

    “I got a .357 revolver in my inside coat pocket. There’s a 9mm semi-auto in the glove box. And, I’ve got a .22 magnum derringer in my right boot.”

    “Anything else?”

    “Yeah, back in the trunk, there’s an AR15 and a shotgun.”

    “Are you on your way to or from a gun range…?”


    “Well then, what are you afraid of…?”

    “Not a damn thing…”

  9. Nick,

    Karen and I had thought we had lined up our summer position for 2011. A COE boat ramp near Atlanta, Ga. Beautiful spot on the lake and duties we knew we’d enjoy. The more I investigated the job…the more I became uncomfortable. Ramp is remote..8 miles from the nearest town…back a 1.5 mile dirt road. Ramp is open 24 hours a day…we would be the only workampers there. No cell service. Only law enforcement after hours is the local sheriff and sometimes the state police. COE rangers DO NOT carry weapons. When I checked into our having a weapon for safety…..no. I’m a retired police officer..you don’t snow me with stats…not near Atlanta, Ga. COE does not allow weapons on site. I started looking that day for our summer position. NUFF SAID!

  10. Opps fat finger “30” days and is interesting that Pennington county has different views.

  11. I am a former police officer who teaches the Florida concealed weapons permit class, and must say that an RV is on my list of “someday”, but I am going to have to teach a lot more classes before someday arrives.

    I think RVes need a way to protect themselves, and the good thing about the Florida permit is that 34 states have agreements with Florida to honor the permit. Another good thing about it that you don’t even have to be a Florida resident to get one.

    Once you do get a permit, you need to make sure you take the time to practice with whatever pistol you’re carrying. You never know who or what you’re going to run into as you cruise the highways.

    Talking about cruising the highways, you should get plenty of chances to practice with your pistol as you hit the different campgrounds and remote places I only imagine traveling to. You should also take advantage to stop by some of the top firearms training centers around the country as you’re planning your future road-trips.

    Stay safe & happy travels

  12. Nick, if you are retired Law Enforcement, with more than 20 consecutive years prior to retirement ( I have 30 plus) you are entitled by the Homeland Security Act to carry a handgun concealed. You do come under some sensible restrictions, like airports and commercial air flights, nothing that a permit to carry issued by the state would allow anyway. Any of your friends who fall into this class can check with their respective Police Departments or Homeland Security. My Dept issued me a retired ID that I use for this purpose.

  13. Nick, this is a topic I have wondered about. No real desire to have a CCW, but do want to have some arms in the trailer. By some I mean at least a short barrel shotgun and a 9mm auto.
    Being new to RVing my question; is it the same having loaded firearms in the RV as it is to have them in home? The question is assuming that the arms stay in the RV.

    Any advise on this subject would be appreciated.


  14. Nick, When I received my CCW in Ohio, the list of reciprocity states included Washington. This was in 2005, however I believe it’s still current. Do you know of a change? Bob

  15. My rv is my home. I have a ccw from my home state. I do not worry about state laws as I travel through the USA. I keep gun in rv, not carrying it with me. I would use if someone was breaking into my trailer with me inside reguardless of the state. Defending myself and my family in my own home is a far greater priority and my second ammendment rights as far as I am concerned. I would not take it outside of the rv unless I was legal in that state. Others can do as they want, this is my position. I would not take it into Canada and I won’t travel into Mexico.

  16. $10 for 4 years for South Dakota.

    Minnehaha has a waiting period of 10 days, most of the rest of the state is just a NICS check away from getting a permit.

    In one week you’ll have reciprocity with Iowa too…they changed their CCW rules during the summer to Shall Issue and set up for reciprocity with SD…YAY!

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