How To: Getting your NC Concealed Carry Permit

Written by Sean Baxter

On April 23, 2019

What are the steps?

There are many paths that lead us to obtaining a concealed carry handgun permit (referred to a CCH permit); and though there are a few that are common, each of use arrives at this decision on our own. However, once you decide to pursue this, the usual questions come up about how this is done. This article’s intent to to remove some of mystery surrounding the process.

Below you’ll find the basic steps in obtaining a concealed carry handgun permit within the state of North Carolina:

  • Get Trained
    • Choose a NC approved instructor
    • Enroll in class specific to concealed carry permit training
    • Complete course successfully
    • Receive Training Certificate
  • Apply for the Permit
    • Schedule appointment with local Sheriff’s Department
    • Take Paperwork and Certificate to Sheriff
    • Complete Application
    • Get fingerprinted
    • Wait for sheriff and NC state to complete checks
    • Receive notification from Sheriff’s Department
    • Pick up permit from Sheriff’s Department
  • Carry every day

Step 1 – Get the Training

Since 1995, the state of North Carolina has allowed for it’s citizens to obtain a concealed carry handgun (CCH) permit from the sheriff of the applicant’s home county. This state mandated process includes an 8 hour minimum class plus range time training requirements with a state certified firearms instructor, finger printing by the sheriff, and a background check.

There are a few considerations when choosing an instructor; so much so that I’m writing a entire article on the matter. Once you pick the instructor and class, your instructor should communicate what you’ll need for the course. You’ll need to register using the same name as what’s on your driver’s license or state ID. This is important as the training certificate you’ll receive from your instructor needs to match the name on your ID when you later apply with the sheriff’s department.

There is a lot to cover during the classroom portion of the course, including three or more hours on the use of deadly force, concealed carry location restrictions, state to state reciprocity, and a written test. If you picked a good instructor, he or she will make this portion clear and give you a thorough understanding of the law of self defense. This portion is critical as any use of deadly force on your part, whether with a firearm or not, will either land you in jail charged with a crime, or back at home with your freedom intact.

The rest of the classroom portion will be spent on handgun fundamentals, nomenclature, marksmanship, concealment methods, storage considerations, and proper & safe firearm handling. If the instructor has invested in the equipment, you’ll have a chance to work with firearm simulation to improve your draw stroke, grip, sight alignment, trigger control, and firearm presentation. All these components of handgun fundamentals are part of accurate and repeatable marksmanship.

You should then move onto the live fire qualification part of the course. You’ll be shooting at a target placed at three different ranges; 3 yards, 5 yards, and 7 yards. You’ll fire 10 rounds at each of the three distances, for a total of 30 rounds. The instructor will then score you. If you’ve paid attention in class and practiced the fundamentals, you should score high enough to pass this portion of the course, and receive your certificate for training.

Step 2 – Applying for the Permit

With training certificate in hand, you’ll begin the application process with your sheriff’s department of your home county. Some sheriff’s departments have an online application process where you fill out your personal information, answer a few questions, and then choose an appointment date to meet with a sheriff’s deputy for the next step. On that date, you arrive at the sheriff’s department, and sign your paperwork in the presence of a deputy, get finger printed, and pay for the application.

The sheriff’s department will work with Raleigh to perform several background checks, submit your fingerprints to various law enforcement agencies, and verify your ability to legal possess a firearm. The sheriff’s department will contact you within 90 days to inform you of the disposition of your permit application. If you’ve passed the requirements, your application shall be approved and a permit shall be issued in your name. It will be ready for pick up from the sheriff’s department. Notice the emphasis on “shall issue”. Not all states are shall issue states. Others are “may issue” where part of the application process is giving reasons for wanting a concealed carry permit. The sheriff’s department in those states may reject an application based solely on the reasons given.

A concealed carry permit shall be issued as long as the applicant:

  • is a citizen of the U.S. and has been a resident of the State for at least 30 days immediately prior to filing the application.
  • is at least 21 years of age.
  • does not suffer from a physical or mental infirmity that prevents the safe handling of a handgun.
  • has successfully completed an approved firearms safety and training course which involves the actual firing of handguns and instruction in the law governing the carrying of a concealed handgun and the use of deadly force.
  • is not ineligible under federal or state law to possess, receive, or own a firearm.
  • is not currently or has not been adjudicated or administratively determined to be lacking mental capacity or mentally ill.
  • has not been discharged from the armed forces under conditions other than honorable.
  • is or has not been adjudicated guilty or judgment continued or suspended sentence for a violent misdemeanor.
  • has not had judgment continued for, or free on bond or personal recognizance pending trial, appeal, or sentencing for a disqualifying criminal offense.
  • has not been convicted of an impaired driving offense within three years prior to the date on which the application is submitted.

Step 3 – Carry every day

Once you are approved for your CCH permit, you must decide if you’re going to exercise that privilege. If you got the permit so you can carry only to places where you know you will need it, I would suggest you shouldn’t go to those places. And if you must go there, take a few armed friends along as well, maybe even call the police a head of time.

The point is this, you will not know when you’ll need it; but when you do, it’s best that you have it and know how to use it.

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