What is the point of CCW permits?

I don’t quite understand what the point of a CCW permit system is. If a criminal conceals a weapon and then uses it in a crime his CCW will in no way legally protect him from his actions. So it seems like it serves not to protect the public from concealed weapons, since the criminal will carry their weapon concealed regardless of the law and only reveal it at the moment they wish to commit a crime, rather it acts to limit law abiding citizens from exercising their right to bear arms. In fact it seems to create an advantage to the criminal but ensuring that fewer of their victims will be armed and able to defend themselves.

It ensures ( or should) someone carrying a concealed weapon has:
A background check.
Training in the use of a firearm.
Training in the laws surrounding the use of a concealed weapon.

In Pennsylvania, it ensures that someone legally carrying a concealed weapon had $25 and underwent a background check. If you consider those things meaningful, then the system is a rousing success.

The purpose of CCW permits is to let ordinary people carry concealed weapons in a way that was politically feasible to pass. Even the strictest ‘no guns’ states let off-duty police, people rich enough to afford bodyguards, and politicians carry weapons or have armed guards, laws about carry have always only been for regular people. The systems don’t actually make a lot of sense if you really think about it, but have been easier to argue for and get passed than Vermont-style concealed carry. Also, a number of states now have passed Vermont carry laws, but keep their permit system so that residents can get a permit to allow them to carry in other states.

At the very least, CCW laws make it so that when police get a call about a man with a gun, they automatically know something “not right” is going on. Conversely, it prevents the police from constantly getting lots of false alarm calls about a man with a gun.

If you have a concealed weapon nobody should be calling the police (they don’t know you have it.) and if they do see it nobody is going to ask to see your ccw before calling the police.

Does this logic extend to other things that require licenses, like motor vehicles?

Exactly my point.

Of course. Whenever I see someone brandishing a car, I call 911.

First of all do you drive around in an invisible car? Second do people call the police if they see you with your car and assume you are a criminal?

Also why does it require a license? Are you required to take a class when you print a newspaper? Is the military allowed to quarter troops in your house unless you pass a background check? Is your ability to enslave me based on if I have a non-enslavement license?

Pennsylvania doesn’t have a concealed carry permit. Pennsylvania has what it calls a “license to carry firearms”. The basic point of it is that if you pass the background check, you are now licensed to carry a weapon. You can carry it concealed, if you want. You can carry it loaded in a car, if you want.

Pennsylvania is also an open carry state, which means that even without a license to carry firearms, you can openly carry a weapon. You cannot carry a concealed weapon without the license, and if you have a weapon in your vehicle, the weapon must be unloaded and the ammunition must be separate from the weapon. Basically, you can carry the weapon to the shooting range or something like that, but you can’t carry a weapon in your car for protection without the license.

Since Pennsylvania allows open carry without a license, as a practical matter, some folks refer to the LTCF as a concealed carry license, since you can only carry concealed with the license.

As a practical matter, even though Pennsylvania allows open carry without a license, the police are likely to give you some grief over it at some point. On the other hand, if you show them that you have a license to carry they generally let you go without much further comment. They know that the folks who go through the bother of getting the background check and doing everything by the book also tend to be law abiding citizens.

Also as a practical matter, your typical violent street thug isn’t going to care if he’s not allowed to carry around a gun concealed just because he doesn’t have a license. On the other hand, if he gets picked up for some other offense, like drugs, and they catch him with a concealed weapon, that’s one more thing that they can charge him with.

Pennsylvania is also a “shall issue” state, meaning that as long as you pass the background check, they are required to issue the license to you. The state doesn’t prevent you from protecting yourself unless you are the type of person who shouldn’t be owning a gun in the first place (hence, the background check). So this doesn’t give any advantage to the criminals. This is in contrast to Maryland just south of here, which is a “may issue” state. Even if you pass the background check, Maryland still gets to decide whether or not it thinks that you need the gun, and Maryland pretty much always decides that you don’t need it. Maryland issues very few gun permits. Your point about giving the advantage to the criminals applies in that state, as well as in other “may issue” states.

Giant analogy fail.

Once upon a time my landlord got into dispute with a person on a property next to one of his. During the yelling match, the other guy threatened said landlord with Great Bodily Harm. Landlord said he was armed, willing to defend himself, and would do so if Great Bodily Harm was attempted.

At some point, someone calls the police.

Police show up. Pulls each of the two men aside. Asks if anyone is armed. Landlord truthfully says yes, show police his concealed gun when asked, and displays his CCW. Landlord is told to go inside until they finish with the other guy and told to have a nice day.

Other dude apparently is not so cooperative, does have a gun, does not have a CCW, and is arrested and taken away.

There have been other incidents with my landlord, who is not afraid to work as a general contractor in any neighborhood, where the police show up and either question everyone, or frisk everyone. They find out that he has a weapon. They also see his CCW, confirm there are no warrants or such for the landlord, and let him go. Other people caught with concealed weapons but no CCW are not let go.

(Note that the above examples were not situations where bullets were actually fired. Different procedures may ensure if actual violence occurs, YMMV, I am not a lawyer or law expert, certainly not your lawyer or law expert, and none of the above should be construed as advice or recommendation for any potential confrontation you may experience)

So really, the point is to allow you to demonstrate to the police that you have jumped through the hoops to carry a concealed weapon, which also demonstrates you are compliant with the law (at least to that degree). In that sense, it’s somewhat like having proof of car insurance and vehicle registration after an accident - if you don’t have it under some circumstances it’s the difference between going home that night or spending time behind bars until your lawyer can sort things out or get you some sort of deal.

If you’re just trying to get another charge to pile on someone you need only make it a crime to be doing an illegal activity, like possessing drugs, while armed. In fact I suspect that that’s already the case.

Failing to get a CCW usually either means you are mentally unstable or have a history of criminal activity. Someone like this with a gun can be arrested in a preemptive fashion if they are found to have a gun. It will not deter someone who is going to commit a crime but it may deter someone with poor impulse control from going out with a gun and escalating a fight. It would also allow police to arrest someone on their way to commit a crime if he does not have the CCW.
It is not much but it is not nothing.

In shall issue states, the permit functions as a typical license would - it documents you’ve gone through whatever the required steps were to acquire the license.

In may issue states, the permit functions as a barrier so typical law abiding people are unable to legally carry a firearm.

The police around here do not even try to hide the fact that many of them are against the proposed “constitutional carry” bill because as it stands, when they find someone carrying a concealed gun with no CCW, they can now arrest them and search their surroundings and/or vehicle. If this passes, they don’t have that pretext.

I told one of them that I do not support keeping a law for the sole purpose of allowing them a pretext search of my car.

It’s very much analogous to a driver’s license law: to make sure that as many people as possible have met some basic requirements before going out in public with an item capable of deadly effect.

Sure, criminals probably won’t get a CCW license, but then again they’re likely to drive without a license either. The driver’s license, though, keeps reasonably honest people honest: they have to prove they can pass a driving test, read an eyechart, or whatever other steps a given jurisdiction imposes. Similarly, CCW licensing requires proving you have no disqualifying felonies or mental health holds, in my state you have to take a class on relevant law, etc.

You don’t have to take a class before publishing a newspaper because a newspaper won’t directly kill somebody else; a car or a gun can.

No it isn’t, you don’t have to get a license to print a newspaper because the right to do so is a fundamental human right guaranteed by the constitution. Throughout history governments have been far more worried about a free press than an armed citizen. Where owning an unlicensed printing press would get you sent to the gulag. Even today I suspect politicians would love to put limits on the press if they thought they could since the press is more dangerous to them.

The argument to which I was responding, however, is that the right to bear arms is likewise guaranteed by the U.S. constitution, so how can restrictions on that right possibly be justified?

They are justified because of the different potentials. None of the rights enumerated in the constitution are unlimited; newspapers, e.g., are not exempt from the laws about libel, while the Food and Drug Administration imposes many limits on the free speech of pharmaceutical companies. What is a reasonable and lawful limit varies depending on the right in question, with the decision usually being the least restrictive policies that don’t unduly infringe on OTHER PEOPLE’s rights.