There's one more gun on the streets.
And it's mine.
Well today, June 1, 2005, my permit showed up in a simple envelope without so much as a letter to accompany it.
My saga is finished and I am relieved. I would like to sum up my experience though:
February 26, 2005 - All required materials were sent in.
At some point in March it was necessary to sign the back of a photograph and mail it back.
June 1 - permit arrives.
I would also like to point out FWIW that I've nothing criminal on my record whatsoever, not even a juvenile charge, and I've been investigated by the FBI once already, and my prints were already on file before I applied for my CHL.
So if you're as clean as a whistle like I am, it won't speed things up at all like you might hope it would.
It's pricey, it takes a long time, but it works in the end I suppose. The best advice I feel I could give anyone interested in their first CHL is work backwards:
1. Decide what you're going to carry and purchase it. Start practicing with this gun as much as possible to make sure it's worthy of carry.
2. While you're gun shopping, learn your state's CCW laws. Don't half ass this. Study it. Know your CCW curriculum before you ever sit down and take the class. One thing I had to consider was that if I wanted to carry any pistol, I had to qualify with a semiautomatic so I practiced with a semiautomatic and my carry gun.
3. A basic pistol refresher like a brand new gun owner might take is a good idea even if you're not a brand new gun owner.
4. Try to take your CHL class with someone you have confidence in. Some of these people come on a little strong. My CHL instructor is a grandmother of four, and firearms are just another chapter in her life. I think I benefitted more from her wisdom than I did from rehashing the state law.
5. Check your paperwork 17 times and be 100% honest.
6. Expect delays. It is not a fast process.
7. Fire your carry gun every chance you get while you wait for the wheels to turn.
One thing I can stress is that it's a really awful idea to wait until you fear for your personal safety before getting your CHL. Get it as soon as you can afford it.