I decided to write this article to try and provide some insight into the Conceal Carry Weapon (CCW) permit process. This article is Part 1 on a series of articles I will be writing related to CCW. Please check back with us so you can read the complete series.
I have come across many people who have not even tried to obtain a California CCW out of fear of being denied. Fortunately and possibly due in part to some recent court decisions, obtaining a CCW firearms permit has become much easier.
For the most part, the process will look very similar no matter where in California you might live. Being that I am an Orange County approved CCW instructor, I will write about obtaining a concealed carry weapon permit in Orange County.
Orange County CCW Process
You will first want to contact the sheriff’s department in the county you reside in. Most city police agencies have an understanding with the sheriff’s department that they will defer CCW applicants to the sheriff’s department for processing.
Once you are in contact with a sheriff’s department representative, request an initial interview. Depending on your jurisdiction, you may be able to do this through the department’s website. Essentially, you provide your name and email and within a few days you should receive a response to your email, which will include your appointment date, time and location. Now, don’t let the email scare you. It will probably tell you that your appointment date is six to twelve months away, but you have to start the process sometime!
Fortunately, there is good news. What typically happens as your interview date draws nearer is you receive an additional email telling you that an earlier date is available, and asking you if you want that appointment instead. This can shorten your wait time by months at a time. Be sure to keep track of the initial email despite anticipating a second email: the initial email will also have an attached CCW application and checklist.
Preparing for the interview
Be prepared! Make sure you have brought in everything that was requested by the sheriff’s department including a completed application, proof of residency, a driver’s license or some form of government identification such as a passport, a birth certificate, and a recently taken passport quality photo. There will be a checklist; be sure you have brought in all the items on the list in order to expedite the process. You may want to consider dressing professionally, it can only help you.
Meeting with the investigator for your interview may sound intimidating, but in most cases it is a very easy, relaxed process. The investigator will go over your completed application with you. Depending upon your background he or she may ask you to clarify a few things. Be truthful about everything. At the conclusion of the interview, which will take probably less than 20 minutes, the investigator will have you sign your application in their presence under penalty of perjury. Remember what I said about being truthful!
In all my dealings with these law enforcement professionals I have always found them to be very easy to deal with. I am sure you will leave there feeling like that was a lot easier than you thought it would be.
In Orange County you can expect that a uniformed deputy will be knocking on your door within the first week of submitting your application. The sheriff’s department must verify that you live in the county and at the address you provided. If you are not home they will knock on your neighbors’ doors to see if anyone can verify that you live at the address you provided. The deputies will not discuss with the neighbors the reason for the request, so it may leave your neighbors a little curious.
Once the residency check is completed and verified you move to the next step, which is rather informal. An initial background check will be done on you and your file is sent up the chain of command for initial approval. A supervisor will look over your file to make sure nothing is missing. If there is nothing out of the ordinary you will move forward to the next step.
About 4-6 weeks after your initial interview you may receive an initial approval email. The email will state that you have been initially approved to move forward in the process. The email will include instructions on completing your live scan and on completing your CCW training course. Be sure to complete the live scan as soon as possible because it can take 4-8 weeks for your background to be conducted and cleared. Next, select an instructor (look for an upcoming article on how to select an instructor) from the approved list, complete your initial CCW training course, and obtain your certificate. Send a copy of your course certificate to the sheriff’s department CCW unit either through email or fax.
Once you have completed all of the above there is nothing more to do except wait for your background to be completed. If you are approved by the department you will receive a final approval email. The email will have a date for you to return to the sheriff’s department to sign the terms and conditions and pick up your new permit.
Carrying a concealed firearm is a big responsibility. Negligent discharges are important reminders of how serious this responsibility should be taken. Negligent discharges can occur for a variety of reasons, but it is usually the fault of the person holding the gun. Many people who first obtain their CCW become over confident in their skill set. Just because you have been approved to carry a loaded gun doesn’t mean you have developed the necessary skills to do so! Most of the negligent discharges that I have witnessed occurred when the shooter was either drawing or holstering their firearm. It is in your responsibility to practice on a regular basis. I would suggest you continue your training and education by enrolling in further firearms training to supplement your CCW course. Lastly, always store your firearm in a lawful manner; and always adhere to the terms and conditions of your permit.
I hope you have found this article helpful. If you have questions feel free to contact me directly via email.