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Obtaining a Pistol Permit in Durham County (Or Anywhere In North Carolina)

Friday, April 10th, 2009

I would like to start out by saying that this is obviously outside of my normal blogging topics. I would also like to say that I am not a gun-crazy idiot, thinking that I should have the right to possess fully automatic weapons with enough power to take out an Apache. I am simply trying to inform those who are interested on how they can LEGALLY obtain a firearm.

Disclaimer: This post in no way represents the views nor direct advice of any representative of Durham County, nor North Carolina. Any information provided is in good faith, but is in no way official.

I recently applied for my pistol permit so I could have the right to purchase a pistol. I have had and been around guns for most of my life as I am a big time hunter (when I can). After being robbed in Durham almost 2 months ago now, I decided it was time to get a pistol for home protection. Pistol laws have changed quite a bit since I was younger, and it is now quite the process in order to obtain your permit. To save some of you some time if this is something you're interested in, I figured I would go over the process of what you need to do, hopefully to save you some time and energy. Please note that a Permit to Purchase a pistol does not in any way give you a right to carry a concealed weapon. Without a conceal to carry permit, you must transport your weapon at all times, completely unloaded, dis-chambered, and locked in a pistol case.

The steps to obtain a pistol permit are as follows. This applies specifically to Durham County, but can be assumed it is the same for most of North Carolina, and maybe even some other states:

  1. Go to the County Courthouse, and ask where you should apply for a pistol permit. In the Durham Country Courthouse, it is in the basement, and there are signs leading you there. They will give you an application form, as well as 2 proof-of-character reference sheets.

  2. You will need to have 2 people you have known for 6 months or more fill out the character references with information pertaining to your character, medical and mental past, and many more.

  3. You must take both character references to a public notary (I had mine done at the local Wachovia branch) and have them signed and notarized in order to proceed.

  4. Insure that your driver's license address matches the address on the application for the permit. This is very important, and if it doesn't match they will not issue your permit. I went to the local DMV and had mine changed in about an hour.

  5. Hand in the permit application. Mine took about 3.5 weeks to complete, but it is possible for them to be as short as 2 weeks or as long as 6. This will vary greatly depending on demand, how busy they are, and general policies.

  6. Call and confirm your application is complete, and go to pick up the application. You will first have to go to the Supreme Court Treasurer to pay for your permit (they are $5 each, you can have up to 2 with each approved application).

  7. Go to the pistol permit office and retrieve your permit.

  8. At this point you can legally purchase a pistol. Please note that you need to bring your permit with you and fill out another form after a pistol purchase is complete.

  9. This is very important, and a Federal Felony not to do so: Within 10 days of the purchase business date, you must register your firearm. You will need the pistol's Make, Model, Caliber, Date of Purchase, Location of Purchase, your Driver's License. You need to take this information to the Clerk of Superior Court, which in Durham is on the 3rd floor. You will have to swear by the information provided, place your hand on a bible, and sign the registration.

You now have a Pistol!

As an aside, I would also like to mention: Gun safety is of the utmost importance. Responsibility, Knowledge, and Understanding are all very key. If you are nervous about obtaining a firearm, either do what you need to do (classes, etc) to not feel nervous, or DON'T GET A GUN. Teach and inform any of those living with you of your practices for firearms. Learn the very important rules for handling a firearm. Never pass a gun with a closed breach. Never pass a gun without dis engaging the action and removing all live rounds. Never pass a gun which you have not used ALL available safety methods. The most important of all firearm rules: Always treat a gun like it is loaded, and never point it at anyone unless you intend to use it. Always lock your firearms, I have a gunsafe which is bolted to my wall and locked at all times. I could rapidly get to my firearm if necessary, but no one robbing my house nor a child could easily obtain a weapon in my house.

If you have any questions, please let me know. This was quite a process, which I think is a necessary and good thing, but a process nonetheless.

SmithAndWessonin' Tom Out.



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Jim said on Wednesday, December 19th, 2012 @ 6:46 AM

Agree with Frank W and Brandon. You should update this article. Durham is the only county in the state with the authority to require residents to register firearms, but it is a county ordinance. There is certainly no Federal Felony involved if the firearm was legally obtained within the jurisdiction.

Also, in North Carolina, if you are legal to possess a firearm, you can transport and carry in plain sight as long as you're not in an area where weapons display is banned.


Frank Whitlow said on Wednesday, September 26th, 2012 @ 12:13 PM

When did failing to follow a county ordinance become a Federal crime? Your purchase and possession of the gun was in compliance with Federal and State law.

brandon said on Wednesday, March 7th, 2012 @ 7:03 AM

you don't need to have your pistol unloaded and locked up if you don't have a carry permit. as long as it is not concealed it can be fully loaded ready to go.

Anon. Durham Citizen said on Friday, September 10th, 2010 @ 7:01 AM

Good article. I have lived in Durham for 2 years now and have decided to go through this process. My application is currently in process as of 8/27/2010. I plan to call the morning of 9/24 to check to see if it is complete, albeit a bit early. If not, I will wait longer of course.

I'm told the Wake county permit process is, show up on Monday, pick up your permit the following Monday.

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