Concealed Weapon Permit Transaction

(Courtesy Sturm, Ruger & Co. Inc.)

This article is the fifth in a 10-part series detailing innovative data sets available via Nlets, the International Justice and Public Safety Network.  Discussed here: Concealed Weapon Permit Transaction.

About Concealed Carry in the U.S.
The practice of carrying a concealed weapon in the U.S. is regulated by states in a variety of ways. Although there's no federal law that specifically addresses concealed carry permits, all but two states have passed laws that allow citizens to carry certain concealed weapons in public. This presents a challenge for law enforcement to identify when a subject may hold a permit and if they are potentially carrying a concealed weapon.

The purpose of the Concealed Weapon Permit Nlets transaction is to provide a standardized, secure and efficient method for states with automated concealed weapon permit systems to automatically respond to officer queries.

The Nlets South Dakota representative and First Vice President Delton Tipton comments, "Knowing whether or not you are about to approach a suspect who is carrying a concealed weapon is crucial to officer safety. However, in some states, like South Dakota, we cannot run the concealed weapon permit query until the subject states she/he has a permit. This helps us to verify the validity of the permit, but lacks the forewarning that is critical to officer safety. States need to overcome these types of laws to really benefit from the true value of the transaction."

The Nlets Transaction
The CWQ (query) enables users to obtain concealed weapon permit holder information. A CWR (response) will be returned with the notification that a permit does or does not exist, its status and a description of the owner.

The CWQ query requires the following information:

  • Valid, nine-character, sending ORI;
  • Up to any combination of five, two-character destination ORI;
  • Name; and
  • Date of birth.  

The following data sets are optional for the inquiry format:

  • Social Security number; and
  • Permit number.  

Although all of these elements may be included in the query, each search element may generate a separate query, depending on the capabilities of the state.

The CWR response may include any or all of the following data elements:

  • Name; 
  • Date of birth;
  • Social Security number;
  • Permit number, with permit status and holder's height, weight, hair color, eye color;
  • Not on file;
  • File not available; and
  • Temporarily unavailable.  

Nlets supports this transaction in legacy text, as well as XML. Participating states (database holders) include Alaska, Arkansas, Florida, Montana, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Texas, Virginia and Wyoming.


Requests from local agencies interested in using the Concealed Weapon Permit message key must be reviewed by the Nlets state representative. Please direct all requests and questions to

Chelsea S. Keefer is a document specialist with Nlets, based in Phoenix.




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