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Getting the right Concealed Weapons License:


Idaho CWL or Enhanced CWL


By SSgt. Doug Sugden


Getting your concealed weapons license (CWL) has become important to a lot of people as of late. The problem is many people are misinformed about which CWL to get and what state to get. I hope by the end of this article you will be more informed and have a better understanding of what your CWL needs are.


The first thing I will address is the reciprocity of the current Idaho CWL. Idaho currently has a “written” reciprocity agreement with thirty (30) states. Some states honor only the Idaho Enhance CWL.  Many people are under the impression the Utah CWL is honored in many more states than Idaho’s regular CWL... It's not.  Go to , go to maps to compare the two.  They are pretty close. Utah does have Washington in the local area and a couple states back east. Neither Idaho's Regular CWL nor Utah is honored in Nevada, Oregon, or California.  The Idaho ECWL has opened up five (5) more states over the regular CWL: Nevada, Washington, New Mexico, South Carolina, and Virginia. We do not have California and Oregon.  They typically do not honor any CWL but their own. People used to get Arizona’s CWL because it was honored in Nevada. As of March 4, 2013, Arizona no longer has a CWL so Nevada no longer honors the Arizona permit.  2013 also brought a loss of a few states back in the northeast.


Now that you know what our current reciprocity situation is, let’s talk a little more about the Idaho Enhanced Concealed Weapons License (ECWL).  The ECWL law has been passed and went into effect July 1, 2013. To get the ECWL you will have to take a class. The class consists of two parts: a legal portion which tells you about the CWL laws use of deadly force, and a shooting portion where you must shoot at least 98 rounds. The class will have to been taken within one year prior of applying for your ECWL. Classes for the ECWL are currently being offered by a couple establishments in the Magic Valley area.  ECWL’s will have to be obtained in your county of residence.


So which CWL should you get? 

The cost and procedure for obtaining your Idaho CWL or ECWL are the same. If your asking my recommendation... Take the class and get the ECWL.  To me, it is all about the ability to carry in the most states, not necessarily actually carrying.  Otherwise, look at your travel and recreation activities. If your travel and recreational activities are restricted to Idaho and the states that already recognize Idaho’s CWL, the regular CWL may be your best option. If your travel and recreational activities take you into the other states that will be opened up with the enhanced, take the appropriate class and apply for the ECWL.


The process for obtaining either permit will be the same: Call and set an appointment to complete your prints and paperwork.  I set appointments to make it convenient, hopefully for all.  No waiting in lines, etc.  Once the paperwork is completed, it will be sent too the state/FBI for background check.  Once the background is completed by the state/FBI it is returned to me, the local background is completed, and you are called for the issuing appointment.  Another impression people have, it is faster in any one county compared to another.  All counties go through the same process.


The key is deciding what your needs are so you don’t have to waste your valuable time and money taking the wrong course, and getting multiple permits.

If you have any question, feel free to contact me at (208)735-4866.


A complete list of states that honor Idaho's Enhanced and Regular Concealed Weapons License is available at the Idaho State Police website- Click on "License to Carry Concealed Weapon" at the following link: