Chatham County Sheriff works to keep up with increased demand for pistol and concealed carry permits

By Gene Galin

Pittsboro, NC – Americans have been on a record gun-buying spree in recent months. In Chatham County, there has been a sizable spike in the demand for pistol and concealed carry permits.

Chatham County Sheriff Mike Roberson talks about how his department is handling the increase in pistol and concealed carry permit requests.

Chatham County Sheriff Mike Roberson has noted “a dramatic increase in the pistol purchase permits and concealed carry; up almost tenfold.”

There has almost been a ten-fold increase in the number of requests for pistol permits.

The Sheriff’s department is doing the best that they can to handle the increase in demand for the permits. They are turning around the pistol permit requests within about a week. These are required to be completed within 14 days.

Concealed Carry Permit requests have spiked over the couple of months.

Concealed carry permits take up to 45 days after the department has received all the required information. Currently that takes about six to eight weeks. Sheriff Roberson has added additional staff to handle the increased workload.

The Sheriff points out that “if you want to get a pistol permit; you can do that all online. You don’t actually have to come in. You can pay your fee there. You can turn your information in. We’ll get the permit and we’ll mail it back to you.”

For a concealed carry permit, the process is a little different. You have to bring that into the Sheriff’s department with the required information. Once the process is completed the permit is mailed to you.

“We’ve tried to make it as easy as we can; with the social distancing and stopping people from having to drive all the way into Pittsboro to pick up their permit.”

For more information on the handgun purchase permit process you can go to chathamsheriff.com

A handgun purchase permit applicant must:

  • be a citizen, a naturalized citizen or a resident alien;
  • be eighteen (18) years of age;
  • have attained at least one month’s residency in Chatham County;
  • at the time of pickup, provide a valid driver’s license or other picture ID with current address provided by the State of North Carolina.

Please note that as part of the application process, you will authorize the Chatham County Clerk of Superior Court to inform the Sheriff of Chatham County whether or not the clerks’ records contain the record of any involuntary mental commitment proceeding under Article 5 of Chapter 122C of the General Statutes in which you have been named as a respondent. The purpose of this release is to enable the Sheriff to determine your qualification and competence to purchase and handle a handgun.

A permit to purchase a handgun has a processing cost of $5.00 (each). A convenience fee of $3.00 (per application) will also be charged for using the online application service. The total fee is non-refundable.

More information about the concealed carry permit process can be found here.

In July 2020, the FBI conducted more than 3.6 million firearm background checks, making it the third highest month on record for checks since the bureau began keeping statistics in 1998. By comparison, the bureau conducted just over 2 million checks in July 2019.

Background checks associated with the sale, transfer or permitting of firearms set an all-time record in June when the FBI conducted more than 3.9 million checks, followed by March 2020 when the agency saw 3.7 million checks.

Under US law, federally licensed gun dealers must run checks on every buyer, whether a purchase is made in a store or at a gun show. A buyer presents his or her identification to the seller, fills out a form from the US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives — which lists the buyer’s age, address, race, and any criminal history — and then the seller submits the information to the FBI for checks against databases in order to ensure a criminal record does not preclude the purchase.

FAQs

What are the turn around times for each? Pistol purchase permits are required to be by 14 days.  Currently we are getting them out just over a week. Concealed carry are required to be completed 45 days after we receive all required material from the hospitals. Currently we are getting CCH out between six to eight weeks.

When does a permit HAVE to be issued, and when does a CCH HAVE to be issued?  Pistol purchase permits must be issued 14 days after an application is filed.  Time does not start until all parts of the application are turned-in for pistol purchase permits. Concealed carry must be completed 45 days after all materials are received to include mental health checks from mental health providers.   

Have we seen an increase is either? Yes, see the charts above. 

Give me a basic and simple explanation of the handgun permit process and CCH permit. Pistol Purchase Permit can be done online or in the office.  Requires applications, $5 fee per permit, medical release form, copy of driver’s license.  CCH is similar, no online application, fee is $90 with fingerprint included.  New applicants are required to be fingerprinted.  Proof of citizenship, county residency, copy of driver’s license, and actual class certificate.

When and how do we fingerprint for CCH?  What is the wait time? We fingerprint when they drop off the application.  We do from 8 – 10 fingerprints per day.  Currently, we do have appointments that are about 1.5 weeks out. We will take walk-ins for fingerprints but we are trying to spread out the number of people in the space at one time.

What are the most often asked question about either permit processes? How long does the process take? 

What do YOU want the public to know about each permit process! Not all counties have the same timeframe.  Applicants need to keep us informed when they move for CCH.  The county the CCH applicant lives in will be responsible for renewal.

What have we done to deal with these changes over the last year? Work with individuals for dropping off applications. We mail all permits to the applicants to reduce time in the lobby.  We have increased staff to assist with applications.