Navigating all the concealed carry regulations in the U.S. all but requires a law degree and certification by the Bar. Neighboring states can have gun laws that are polar opposites despite a common border. Making sense of the patchwork firearms laws in this great nation is a daunting task. But fortunately, now there’s an app for that.
For $1.99, I downloaded a copy of CCW by Workman Consulting from Apple’s App Store—a version is also available on Google Play for Android Devices. The app has earned top marks for both the iOS and Android operating systems, earning 4.9 and 4.8 stars respectively.
After going through many reviews, it seemed the most issues were associated with Google Play and not the app itself. The purchase price included a two-year subscription, which keeps the app up to date until then. You can renew with within 60 days of your subscription ending.
Overall, I found the app very easy to use. The information contained within is concise and easy to read and understand—no law degree required. I liked that all relevant laws were linked so that you could go digging for more info if you felt you needed to. Workman Consulting seemed to have really done their homework when they put this together. Below are some highlights, though the app contained much more.
The home screen allows you to quickly access all of the program’s various features by simply clicking on each tab. As you’ve probably guessed, the Instructions provide a road map to the app’s functions.
Clicking through to the Settings tab lets you adjust parts of the layout, such as background and the way icons are displayed. The Recent Updates section provides info on the latest changes to the app.
If you’ve given the app permission to do so, Find Current State uses your phone’s GPS to provide a current position fix. The Last State viewed button is a quick jump to the last place in the Union you were researching.
There’s even an on-board copy of the Constitution, in case you’re lucky enough to find yourself in a state that honors the Second Amendment as a permit to carry.
You can browse other apps, update CCW, and manage your subscription all through the home screen. Of course, there’s a section of legalese reminding you to verify that all of the listed info is correct with state and local authorities before traveling through. If you’d like to ask the developers a question, or provide a suggestion, the Feedback tab lets you do so.
When I first downloaded the app, it recommended that I update it immediately to receive the latest legal info that had been plugged in by the developers. Only a few days before I downloaded it, new info was added for a number of states.
In the Settings tab, you can configure the app to do this automatically, but I prefer to authorize the app to do so each time.
You can double-check that the app has been updated by clicking on the Update Data tab on the home screen. It will inform you if have the most recent data on your device; if not, it will ask to begin a download. But don’t worry about checking here, as the app checks on its own daily.
Clicking through the Find Current State tab grants you a wealth of information on the about gun laws in your current surroundings. Transport laws, prohibited areas, and your duty to inform law enforcement officials in the event of a traffic stop are laid out on this screen. Additional info, such as municipal laws you should be aware of and where one may legally carry, are listed here as well.
Use of force and duty to retreat laws are listed as well. These vary widely from state to state, so you should make a point to review these whenever you enter a new jurisdiction.
Contact info for the attorney general and state police is listed, should you have a question about firearm laws for them. Prohibited areas are defined, as are preemption rules and open carry restrictions.
Laws regarding “tactical” rifles and magazines are laid out as well.
Perhaps the most useful section of the Current State tab is the one regarding transport laws. There you will find travel warnings with concise summaries of laws you need to be aware of.
Here, the app warns of New York’s ban on standard capacity magazines and other irregularities from federal law.
There’s a more in-depth rundown further down the screen, as well as the statutes themselves. Links to the applicable state websites are included.
Traffic stops can be uncomfortable, especially if they take place in an unfamiliar area. There are differing opinions about whether or not you should inform the officer that you are carrying a firearm if you are in a jurisdiction that doesn’t mandate it, but you should always do so if required.
This section will let you know if you need to, though you should probably familiarize yourself before you get stopped so you’re not fiddling around with your phone, which could potentially make an officer nervous.
The Reciprocity –States Honored subhead offers a quick reference indicating which other state’s permits are recognized. Here in my home state of New York that happens to be none, but most parts of the country are less encumbered.
The “States Recognizing Permit” tab lets you see where you can legally carry at a glance, which can help avoid a sticky situation in the middle of a road trip by letting you know you should probably sidestep states like New York, New Jersey, and California.
This can be particularly useful when buying plane tickets, so you can avoid layovers in a state that doesn’t honor your permit.
If you are forced to spend an unplanned night in an gun-unfriendly state with your firearm, you could potentially be charged with a crime because of a weather event or equipment failure if the gun isn’t legal there.
You can also search through the app by state, letting you familiar yourself with any of the 50 states in the Union. This can be particularly useful if you’re planning a hunting trip or family vacation and have a few locations in mind.
Another interesting screen denotes Shall Issue and Constitutional Carry states in green. This gives this New Yorker hope, at least for the rest of his countrymen and women.
If you are planning to go out to dinner or a movie, checking the “Posted!” app, which lets you know if you the establishment you plan on going to permits you to carry. Access to this isn’t free, requiring another $0.99 purchase.
Clicking on the Gun Vault Tools icon will either take you to the App store or open Workman Consulting’s range training tracker if you’ve popped for the $0.99 upgrade. There, you can record all of your training stats and keep track of how much ammo you have.