For anyone interested I wanted to share the process I went through to get my Arizona CCW permit (permit to carry a concealed weapon). Just for clarification for those unfortunate enough to live in states that issue permits specific to a specific list of gun calibers, Arizona is much better in that my permit allows me to carry any concealed legal weapon whether it be a gun or a sword, although hiding a sword could be a bit difficult in practice. On a side note, I personally don't feel I should need permission from the government in the form of a permit to allow me to exercise my right to "bear arms" as protected by the 2nd Amendment, but until we can get the current law improved here, obtaining a CCW permit is the only way I can carry concealed without risking dire consequences. Hopefully someday we can get a CCW law here like Alaska has - you can carry concealed there without a permit exactly the way it ought to be US wide. Open carry is legal in Arizona, but some sheeple get scared when they see a civilian carrying a gun exposed in a holster, so they prefer not to know about my hidden weapon in a "don't ask, don't tell" kind of manner. A funny side note about such sheeple is that criminals normally don't open carry in a holster - they normally own a gun illegally since felons can't even touch a gun, so they are forced to carry it either concealed or in their hand ready for action. As a result there is no logical reason to fear the average civilian open carrying a gun in a holster. Additionally the 2nd amendment states that I have the right to "bear" arms, so all other laws on the books that say I need a permit to do so are unconstitutional.
Back to the original topic. All I had to do to get my Arizona CCW was to fit within the Arizona legal requirements (such as being 21 or older & not being a felon or mentally ill by passing their background check) & take a required 8 hour training course which actually was very good. I initially thought I would be bored to tears in a government mandated training class but was pleasantly surprised in that I enjoyed it very much. I would recommend the course to anyone who wants to learn more about the use of a gun in self defense even if you don't want to carry it concealed. I had already read many books on the subject but found myself learning new things regardless. The class I took was taught by two instructors, one was a lawyer who specializes in self defense cases who also serves part time as a judge, and the other was an x-police officer so we got to hear the perspective on the the laws from the viewpoint of the Police, Judges, & Lawyers all in one class.
There is a long list of Arizona Approved instructors - the class I took cost me $79. I took the class on a Saturday. After I passed the range qualification & written tests I was given proof of passing & was finger printed. I sent the proof of passing & my fingerprint card into Arizona DPS along with a cashiers check for the $65 application fee the following Monday afternoon. The very next Saturday (6 days later) I received my CCW permit in the mail. I was very impressed with how speedy the entire process was - as far as I can tell the majority of the 6 days was just waiting for the US Postal Service to deliver my packet to Arizona DPS & to then deliver the issued CCW to me.
Arizona CCW permits are valid for 5 years, and lucky for me a new law was passed (Arizona SB1250) this past summer that no longer requires finger printing on CCW renewals that take place after Dec 30th 2007. So all I'll need to do when my renewal date comes up is to mail in my $65 renewal fee along with my renewal form.