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Since national permit reciprocity has the same chance of becoming law as the Cubs winning the Super Bowl (mixed metaphor intended), I’ve been collecting concealed carry permits so that I can strap up everywhere that I tend to spend time. So far, I’m licensed in my home state of Massachusetts, nearby New Hampshire and sunny Florida, but not in Nevada where I’ve spent many months visiting my money. So, I decided after my prior Las Vegas trip to take the required eight-hour class and shooting test on my next Trip to the Strip, which was last week . . .

I arrived in LV on Monday night and stayed until Friday afternoon, so I was interested in a midweek class. I wanted to train at the awesome Clark County Shooting Range, but classes are held there on Sundays only, as near as my Google-fu could tell. Some of the other training classes that were recommended to me also were not available midweek.

Fortunately, The Gun Store in Las Vegas holds classes on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays, including the Wednesday that I was going to be in town. I registered for the class by computer a week before my scheduled arrival and promptly received a confirmation. The Gun Store is on Tropicana, just 3.5 miles west of the Strip. I stayed at the Rio, on Flamingo just west of the Strip, so TGS’s location was very convenient. Best of all, the class is free. Well, shucks, that’s just what I wanted to pay!

But free doesn’t exactly mean free. I’d still have to rent two guns – a pistol and a revolver. In NV, a shooter has to qualify with the type of gun he or she will carry concealed. If the permit holder is approved only for pistols, he can’t carry a concealed revolver, and vice versa. A permit holder needs to qualify with both to conceal both.

While that’s a PITA, it’s a marked improvement from the prior law that required permit holders to qualify with the exact make and model of pistol that they were carrying. Thus, if a CCW holder wanted to carry any one of ten different pistols in his collection, he’d need to qualify ten times. That’s totally whacked, especially since qualifying with one revolver entitles the holder to carry any revolver. Fortunately, that law has been changed.

I also had to buy the lead-free, frangible ammo that The Gun Store requires at $25 per box for 9mms and .38Spls. The total cost of the free class, rented guns and purchased ammo would be about $75, which I think is pretty reasonable for what I got.

Tuesday night before the class, I studied hard for several hours. At Binion’s on Freemont Street, downtown. Okay, the only shooting I did at Binion’s was at the craps tables, but don’t hate the player, hate the game. It wasn’t my fault.

The Blackjack dealers at the front of the casino, which is open to the street, were the cutest bunch of twenty-something blonde Russian girls I ever did see, with big smiles and little garments. Pretty girls have been taking my money for fifty years so I was helpless to resist. Ah, but the Gods of Odds were smiling down upon me. I was hotter than a two-dollar pistol, and won enough to pay for the gun rentals, ammo, permit fee and a nice lobster dinner afterwards.

The nine-hour class (eight hours of instruction plus 60 minutes of breaks) was taught by a husband and wife team. He’s a LEO and I found his presentation to be a trifle pedantic. Still, he tried to be engaging and drily funny and never once proned-out anyone. She was unpretentious and a pretty good presenter with a dry sense of humor.

For example, we’ve all seen noobs cross their thumbs when firing a pistol. She explained why doing so was a bad idea and described the problem as “self-correcting.” Yes, it is. She also showed how to clean chambers and forcing cones with an unlikely implement – namely, a baby-bottle nipple brush. Hey, it works, and leaves the nipple with the refreshing taste of Hoppe’s. I’m sure kids dig it.

The first part of the eight-hour torture regime was a video where living gunshot victims – crooks and cops alike — carefully explained that gunshots don’t necessarily end the fight or cause death. I would have been more impressed had dead gunshot victims returned to explain that sometimes guns do, but Jonathan Edwards isn’t NRA certified.

After the instructor spoke for a while about I forget what, he introduced yet another video. Lo and behold, it was an Armed Response viddy hosted by our colleague Ralph Mroz, containing a brief episode featuring our very own Rabbi illustrating the Tueller Drill. The Rabbi did the shooting while Mroz did the running, and the point was made.

If a BG is fifteen feet away from you and running balls-out in your direction, you won’t have time to draw and shoot unless you’re as fast as the Rabbi or the BG is as slow as Ralph Mroz. Or both. Since the Rabbi shoots faster than Quickdraw McGraw and Mroz runs like a turtle, the Rabbi actually won. That guy’s a freakin’ cobra, man. We aren’t.

I’ve taken similar classes before and, as a Massachusetts and NRA certified instructor, I’ve given the course. So that loud report that the class heard after a couple of hours was the sound of my head impacting the table. However, a later portion of the lecture covering Nevada law did hold my undivided attention.

Although I’m a lawyer and perfectly capable of reading the statutes for myself, the instructor was able to distill the relevant case law and police enforcement procedures into a coherent and informative hour. I got a lot out of that portion of the program, but the rest was a hideous waste of time for me. Unless you’ve never heard of the NRA’s Three Rules, I think you’d be bored, too.

At the end of the lecture, we took a fifteen-question test that was graded on the spot. The test was easy. I scored 100%. The guy in front of me scored 100%. The blind guy in the last row scored 100%. His guide dog scored 100%. The empty chair in the front row scored 100%. Even Rep. Carolyn McCarthy would have scored 100%, and she’s an utter moron. Then again, there were no questions about the shoulder thing that goes up.

I had the option of immediately taking my shooting practical or returning the next day at 9:00 am. I had my prescription eyes and high-NRR ears with me and I wanted to sleep in the next day, so I decided to go ahead and shoot. I felt like I was taking a chance due to my lack of REMs even though it’s an easy test. I needn’t have been concerned.

I chose a Glock 17 for my qualifying pistol and a Taurus Model 685 for the revolver. I got permission to dry-fire the revolver and I was thrilled with the trigger. If it comes that way, it’s the best revolver trigger ever. If it doesn’t come that way, then the gunsmith who tuned it must have made a pact with Satan, because the trigger was that good.

I believe that the current Nevada minimum test requirements include six rounds at three yards, 12 rounds each at five and seven yards with a reload after six rounds, with no time limit, shooting at a B27 target. A minimum score of 70% is required to pass.

The Gun Store has its own requirements, which includes six rounds right-handed and the same number left-handed, unsupported, at three yards, then six and six at seven yards, then six and six at 15 yards. The last two courses are shot freestyle, meaning one or two handed as the shooter sees fit. Each round, including the reload, must be completed in 60 seconds. A minute for twelve rounds with a reload doesn’t sound like much, but it’s actually all the time in the world. I forced myself to shoot as slowly as erosion and still used less than thirty seconds per round.

Even though I was bleary-eyed and the air conditioning was making my target flap around like a break dancer on speed, I had a perfect score with the pistol and one 8-ring hit with the revolver. Which is really nothing to brag about, since the oval 10-ring on a B27 is by itself almost as large as the targets I typically use. While I didn’t shoot a single tight group, I hit the oval on 71 out of 72 shots and felt that I should have done much better. Not that it mattered. The test is pass/fail and I passed.

The next day, I went to the fingerprint bureau to turn in my paperwork, get my electronic prints and pics and pay the $97.50 fee. The office on Cameron Street west of the Strip is very modern and well-appointed, so I know that the LVMPD is putting all those $97.50s to good use. Oh, if you’re going there to get your casino workers card, bring cash, because that’s all they take.

There’s a convenient ATM right in the office. However, if you’re going there to pay for your CCW, bring a cashier’s check or money order, because they don’t take cash for that. If you forgot your cashier’s check, no worries, mate. There’s a Western Union office on the corner of West Flamingo and Jones. I got my money order there and the cost was zero. Nothing. Well, shucks, that’s just what I wanted to pay!

Bring a book, because you might be hanging around the fingerprint bureau for a while. It took me about 1 ½ hours to get processed as thoroughly as a Hormel salami, even though the office wasn’t all that busy. On the other hand, the staff was unfailingly polite and the assembly line was reasonably efficient. I’ll get my permit by mail just as soon as the FBI gets off its ass and sends Nevada the all-clear.

Even though the process was no more painful that getting my first driver’s license, there still was something troubling about the experience. Forget for a second that I’m a nationally certified instructor, but I still had to sit through seven hours of stuff that I teach. Forget also that I’m already licensed in three states and have already suffered through every “firearms health check” known to man except anal probing. The fact is that in “hoplophobic” Massachusetts, I had to go through less bureaucratic  gobbledygook than I did in gun-friendly Nevada. To wit:

Nevada Massachusetts
Concealed Carry Shall Issue Statewide May Issue Statewide
Most Cities Are De Facto No Issue
Most Towns Are De Facto Shall Issue
Classroom Training 8 Hours 4 Hours
Shooting Practical Required Not Required
Gun Registration Required in Clark County Required Statewide
Must Appear in Person Handled By Mail
Resident Permit Fee $97.50 $100
Term 5 Years 6 Years
Nonresident Permit Fee $97.50 $100.00
Term 5 Years 1 Year
Recertification Required for Renewal Not Required for Renewal
Castle Law No Yes
Retreat Required, No Immunity Retreat NOT Required, No Immunity
Assault Weapons Law Are you kidding? We invented that!

You see, there are actually two Massachusettses — or is it Massachuti? Whatever. Parts of Massachusetts are extremely gun-shy. In Boston, Mayor Menino regularly conspires with New York’s Mayor Michael Scumbag Blamebag Bloomberg, his co-founder of the Illegal Mayors Against Guns, to keep his subjects helpless.

In surrounding towns with a large population of black and Hispanic folk, concealed carry is verboten. Because it just wouldn’t do to empower law-abiding black or Hispanic subjects to defend themselves with legal guns, would it? However, even in anti-gun cities, it’s not that hard to get a gun for home defense. Just don’t try walking around with it.

In other parts of the Commonwealth, where elected officials actually have brains in their widdle heads, carry guns are cool for residents. For non-residents, not so much. MA does not like visitors with guns. But all of Massachusetts has a Castle Law, while Nevada has been struggling to enact one for several years and can’t seem to get the job done. Then again, Massachusetts has an AWB, a law that’s so stupid it could only have been written by a Harvard man.

But what really differentiates LV form MA is “flashing,” or the inadvertent exposure of a handgun with no intent to intimidate or cause fear. It may come as a surprise that full-on open carry isn’t illegal in either MA or NV, which should eliminate the flashing problem. Uh-uh. Flashing will draw unwanted police attention in either state.

A Nevada permit holder who flashes in, say, a Costco in Las Vegas can expect to be shot dead by a bunch of “heroic” LEOs, including one with two prior fatal shootings on his record. A Massachusetts license holder who flashes in front of, say, the courthouse in Worcester and who is hassled by a local cop with a bad attitude can expect an apology from the local chief LEO. True cases, both.

I’m not saying that Massachusetts is a gun owner’s paradise, nor that Nevada is anti-gun, or that Massachusetts cops are morally superior to LVMPD cops. What I am saying is that Massachusetts isn’t New Jersey or New York, and that Nevada isn’t Vermont or Arizona. Whiffs of hoplophobia can be detected almost anywhere in this country if you know which way the wind blows. It’s up to each of us to purge America of that particular mental illness before that particular mental illness purges freedom.

Viva Las Vegas, baby. My next time there, I’m coming heavy.






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  1. I was pretty shocked to find my AZ permit is no good in NV. Actually, NM does not recognize it either. CA goes without saying. I’m staying home

    • NV only recognizes OOS permits where the issuer has requirements that meet or exceed NV’s own. That includes a shooting practical, a background search and the same excluded people.

      The Nevada Department of Public Safety lists these permits as recognized by Nevada: Alaska, Arizona (effective 7/1/11), Arkansas, Kansas, Kentucky (effective 7/1/11), Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee, Rhode Island, South Carolina (effective 7/1/12) and West Virginia.

      Check for yourself, but it seems that your AZ resident permit is now accepted in NV.

      • Yup! thats why I got AZ is specifically for Nevada and now New Mexico since thats the only Non Res I have they will accept.

        • Looks like I need to get an AZ permit then. It rather annoys me that my res UT permit is good in 37 or so states, but not in half my neighboring “gun friendly” states.

      • Ralph, Great article! I was looking around the lvmpd site and just wanted to get your opinion on what I have interpreted from it – as a non-resident, I can get the CCP but I’m NOT required to register any firearms with them because I don’t live there; is that correct?

  2. “Then again, Massachusetts has an AWB, a law that’s so stupid it could only have been written by a Harvard man.”

    Spoken like a Yale man.

    The only gun that I have that is MA-legal (were I to possess an non-resident LTC-A) is my largest and most destructive one. Yay! Makes no sense at all, and I resent it intensely.

    • I looked into this when Obama was trying to win the nomination over Clinton in ’08. Prior to 2008 least one out of the four people running for prez and veep for the past 60 or so years has come out of Yale. The place should be razed.

  3. Man – in comparison to CA – that permit is essentially free.

    To get one in CA costs 150 in gov’t fees alone plus a class that runs ~200. And, you have to qualify with each individual gun you list on your application – each qual will generally run you ~30-50. Plus to have to re-up with new class refresher every two years – ~120 or so.

    I budgeted $600 for the first year + 150 every two after that.

    This assumes that you’re in a county that will issue them. In Sacramento County (my residence) … they aren’t taking any more applications because of the back log. When I made my appointment last November, the earliest date I could get was August of this year. 🙂

  4. I believe the rules and fees for non-resident MA licenses are stupid. You pretty much have to go through all the hassel of a resident including taking an approved MA course and then you get wacked for $100/yr although you have met the same requirements. What have they protected with the policy except from people spending money in the state?

    Open carry is not illegal in CT either, but you will get the same police response. I believe it is the states way to say FU MF and let you know who is boss in the end. At least it make the hoplophobia feel better and the police can make believe they stopped something that nothing and can get a pat on the head.

    Sadly the stupid MA permit laws prevents me from taking my long gun to some nice Western MA ranges.

    • MA’s anti-outsider laws are both insipid and dangerous. However, neither the handgun licensing law nor the transport laws will prevent a person duly authorized in his home jurisdiction from transporting a “traditional” rifle or shotgun “in or through” the Commonwealth if the gun is unloaded, cased and secured.

      Also, you can shoot your traditional long arm at a firing or shooting range, and you can hunt with a hunting license.

      Check MGL Chapter 140, Section 129C, paragraphs (f), (g), (h) and (i).

      However, if the rifle you wish to transport or use is on the list of “assault weapons,” you have a potential felony problem if you do not have a MA LTC-A. Even with a MA LTC-A, you cannot possess a “large capacity feeding device” (a magazine holding more than 10 rounds) that wasn’t in the Commonwealth before the AWB.

      I’m a lawyer, but I’m not your lawyer and I’m not giving legal advice, so do your own research.

    • Massachusetts requires non-resident permit applicants to appear in person every year when applying for or renewing their permit.

  5. If you have a permit from somewhere else, PA will write the number of that permit on the app and you’ll get it in about a week. No problem. Otherwise you need to work on you hoop jumping depending on where you are. Sometimes you need 5 signatures attesting you are not a danger, other places don’t give permits to out of state, the rules vary by county a lot.

  6. Wut? Gun registration is required under some circumstances? Remind again me how this is legal on a federal level?

      • I know you’re gonna say something funny to retort my comment but I’m saying it anyway because it’s right:

        Those and ALL gun laws are illegal, Ralph. They’re just not being enforced because there’s no punishment for this tyranny. The 2nd amendment applies to the states too. It is the law of the land and applies to every government entity at every level within the U.S.

        • The 2nd amendment applies to the states too.

          Yes it does. However, as the Supreme Court noted in Heller, “[l]ike most rights, the Second Amendment right is not unlimited.” Which means that certain regulations are lawful and others are not. It will take time, money and a lot of cases to figure out which is which.

          At the end of the day, some licensing laws will stand, some will fall. We may wish for something different, but wishing ain’t makin’ it so.

          And that’s not funny!

        • Well, you’re right, Ralph and that whole “WE THE PEOPLE” thing was obviously a typo. It was actually supposed to say “WE THE SUPREME COURT” instead…

          “WE THE SUPREME COURT of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

          There. Fixed. I sure feel better now. Gosh, those silly illiterate founding fathers sure did mess up a lot. It obviously makes more sense that all this responsibility be handled by 9 people instead of all 300+ million.

  7. Great article Ralph, humorous and eye opening. I’m really getting angry about these carry laws which are obviously being used to harass and discourage.

  8. In the process of renewing my non-res MA LTC-A. Real pain is that you have to take time out of work every year to interview in person. NH res. ME out of state not as bad. This just isn’t right.

  9. The detail provided made this post useful. I was confused by one point, however, the bit about your next visit to Vegas. I thought “coming heavy” was always offered, indeed featured, no permit needed. Has that changed?

    • If you’re talking about “open carry,” then yes, no permit is needed. But OC in Las Vegas is really hard and gets lot of unwanted attention from the PD (who will brace me at best) and the casino operators (who will make me leave). OC is a car is not possible unless I were to duct tape the pistol to my forehead. All things considered, OC is not a viable option anywhere near the Strip or Downtown. And I wouldn’t leave my gun in the room’s laptop safe while I’m tooling around. So while I could bring handguns to LV, I couldn’t have true access to them.

    • I posted a lengthy response that seems to have disappeared. Suffice it to say that OC is legal without a permit but guaranteed to cause problems downtown or on the Strip. It’s also impossible in a car. So while one might bring guns to NV without a CCW, what would be the point?

      • Ralph, I appreciate your answer. Now I’m even more fully informed about Vegas. I was actually making a bad joke which slipped through. Though I always strongly advise people never to use such realities to circumvent the law, the really remarkable utility of Nevada lies in its anonymous corporations. To some extent it is sort of a Gilbraltar or Isle of Jersey without the larger travel expense. I assume Harry Reid hasn’t changed this, though I haven’t recently researched the matter. Again, excellent post.

        • Actually, loaded carry in a car is legal in Nv. as long as it is not concealed on your person. On your belt OC, under your seat, in your glove box is all good.

          North Las Vegas is still trying to enforce a municipal ordinance against carrying in a car in defiance of state law. Police may harass you there, but no cases have actually gone to court to make charges stick. Still waiting for a test case to settle this illegal activity by LE.

  10. I’m planning on visiting NV soon and I’m dying to get their permit. You just made my life much easier because now I can plan everything in advance. I don’t need NV’s permit, but since I like collecting permits from any state that will issue me one I plan on applying. I’m going to PA on VJ day and I’ll be getting their permit which I don’t need because my some of my current permits are good in PA. I bet some people don’t remember what VJ day is because RI is the ONLY state in the country that still has it as an offical holiday. When I get my MA permit I’ll be good to go in 41 states. The only states I won’t be allowed to carry are CA, OR, CO, SC, IL, HI, NY, NJ and MD. I don’t count the DC (DISTRICT OF COMMIES) as part of the US so they don’t count, and I might have a slight chance in NJ or MD if I’m nearly killed by a BG (I have a better chance of turning COMMIE).

    • Actually, JOE, RI is celebrating the actual end of WW2, not the Japanese surrender. Victory in Europe on “VE Day” did not end the War. It was still going on, and thousands of GIs were still dying. WW2 only ended when the Japanese surrendered, which is what RI is celebrating. That’s why it’s called Victory Day, not Victory Over Japan Day.

  11. I was pretty shocked to find my AZ permit is no good in NV. Actually, NM does not recognize it either last I checked CA goes without saying. I’m staying home

  12. Don’t forget boys and girls, LVMPD has a penchant for shooting CCW carriers and others, and they always get away with it….

  13. I do not understand why you would go to different states to get a ccw when you can get a michigan ccw that is completely recipricary. I don’t mean this in a condecending way, I really don’t know why, perhaps there is some law that keeps one from doing that. Or ya know, no reason at all to visit the great lakes state.

  14. Ralph,

    I’m curious why you took this approach instead of filing for an AZ non-resident permit.

    Like you, I’m an NRA Instructor. The idea of sitting through another “basic” class is mind-numbing.

    Aside from the school-zone bit, does a NV non-resident get you anything an out of state permit wouldn’t?

  15. In your comparison chart between NV and MA, under the “Castle Law” heading you wrote that NV has no Castle Law (true) and that Reatreat is Required. This is not true. Refer to NRS 200.120/130, etc. Also, Nevada’s “Stand Your Ground” laws go back some 140 years.

  16. Open Carry IS legal in NV. Las Vegas does think it is special and doesn’t want to follow the state laws regarding carry but it is still legal. You can carry openly in a car easily. I do it all the time. As long as it is not concealed on your person you are fine. Being obstructed from view by a center console doesn’t count as concealed. If you don’t want to take the chance then just put it in your glove box, completely legal. Nevada also doesn’t have any laws about “flashing”. Because OC is legal, if you had it concealed and your jacket opened and exposed the gun you can’t be arrested for it. If an officer sees it he may ask to see your CCW but that’s about it. If you want real info about carry laws and not something someone learned after a weekend in Vegas then visit the forums at

  17. NV has no duty to retreat. To say it does is completely wrong.

    Open carry is not only legal, but it is also not that rare. It’s not exactly as commonplace as it once was, but even in Clark County, it is seeing a resurgence. I’ve been openly carrying in Clark County for 20 years. I also teach the NV (and UT) CCW classes privately, without giving out the wrong information that your “free” class does.

    Thank you for pointing out the absurdity of our unnecessary testing procedure. Also, for the record, we instructors have been asked (non-bindingly) to NOT have stricter qualifications than the state minimum. The Gun Store refuses to cooperate. They like to point to their time limits and one-handedness as somehow having a superior program, instead of ensuring the accuracy of their information.

  18. As has bee pointed out, the info you posted about open carry being a problem is just NOT true. That is garbage spewed from these “tourist” conceal classes.

    Open carry has been an issue very few times for folks here, and what you call flashing probably even less.

    I open carry daily and that includes walking by cops and driving by them on my motorbike without being hassled in any way. I carry in shops, restaurants, Henderson parks…just about anywhere and have yet to be asked to leave.

    Strip casinos will ask you to put the firearm in the room or leave – which makes concealing the best option for the strip casinos. Open carry on the strip and Fremont street will cause no problems.

  19. When I was a kid I had no idea any adults needed “permits” to carry their pistols. I thought this was AMERICA, where you could buy one at Dicks or Cabelas and stick it in your waistband if you wanted to.

    So weird, that there are so many hoops to jump through, so many fees to pay, so many months to wait for a “permit”. Then you have to get different ones for different states. What a rip-off.


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