By Clint Parker
North Carolina – In 1995, the state of North Carolina Legislature enacted a law allowing citizens in good standing to carry guns concealed. Since that law was passed, 686,468 state residents have obtained their concealed carry permit according to The State Bureau of Investigation.
More than 14,000 of Buncombe County residents have a concealed carry permit and while over 2,300 Madison County residents have a license.
While it takes a permit to carry concealed, you may not know, but North Carolina is an open-carry state. That means a citizen has the right to carry a gun openly in the state without any permit.
So what does it take to get your concealed carry permit?
There are some restrictions on who can carry a gun concealed and some people need not apply or even take the class. Yes, there’s a class, but you need to qualify.
Qualified applicants for the permit have to be 21 years of age, a resident of the state for 30 days, successfully complete a firearms training course and have no mental or physical deformity that can impact firearm use.
Also, you can’t be a fugitive, ineligible under federal or state laws, under indictment, have in the past been found guilty of a felony,
free on bond for a crime that would disqualify a concealed handgun permit or had an impaired driving offense within the past three years.
If you are still good to go, then you can start by taking the class.
What can I expect when I take the concealed carry class?
First, you will need to find a class. You can take it anywhere in the state, but when you’re finished, you will have to apply for the permit within the county you live in at the sheriff’s office.
One recently conducted by Shawn Martin, a law enforcement officer himself and owner of Green Line Defense, in Madison County recently called for the attendees to pay $55, bring their own handgun, and 30 rounds of ammunition. A barbecue lunch was provided. The class lasted for about eight hours.
Attendees spent the morning learning some fundamental information, such as what is considered a handgun, the difference between the types of pistols and their parts and the four different parts of the ammo its shoots. They also learned about the different positions for which to shoot, different types of holsters and how to aim the gun.
Martin said the class is designed for people who know nothing about guns or shooting and covers the most basic information.
After listening to the lectures for nearly three hours, with breaks, of course, students were then asked to go proved their proficiency with a gun. Nine students at a time shot at a silhouette target from three, five and seven yards. Ten shots each. Students had to get 70 percent or better was the passing grade.
After lunch, class resumed this time, looking at the laws surrounding concealed carry and the ramifications of using deadly force, how to conduct yourself when approached by a law enforcement officer and you are carrying concealed and when you can use deadly force and the Castle Doctrine.
What is the Castle Doctrine? The doctrine centers around the old saying that a resident’s home is their castle. The law came along in 2011 and, according to Martin, is very clearly written.
This law applies to a home that is inhabited. If you’re not in the home, the home is just property. Once someone is occupying the house, it becomes a habitation. The law also applies to workplaces and your vehicle when you’re in it.
The course also covered where you can carry concealed and where you can not carry concealed.
What happens next after class?
After you take the class, you have to apply to the sheriff’s office in your county. For most, Buncombe and Madison County residents for sure, that process begins online. Filing out the application along with question and set an appointment (that’s in Madison county remember your experience may vary by county) will take about 15-20 minutes and about $100 (that’s $90 for the permit, about $3 for using the credit card and $4 convenience charge).
You then go to see someone at the sheriff’s office to complete the application at the appointed time. There, the application is signed and fingerprints are taken. Then wait to be contacted when your permit comes in.
The decision to carry is a weighty one.
Now that you have your permit in hand, your decision to carry concealed is a weighty one. Concealed carry instruction Martin made sure his class understood that with two very different stories.
First, he cited the recent church shooting in Texas where a gun’s threat was eliminated in six seconds by a concealed carry holder who was part of the church’s security team. While others lost their lives, it could have been a lot worse had someone not be there with a gun to stop the killing so quickly.
Martin countered that with an incident in South Carolina where a man with his son was at a restaurant that was being robbed. The man, who was a concealed carry holder, decided to pull his gun. He and his son were killed by the robber.
Full discloser: Some of this information was obtained by the reporter attending a conceal carry class and when through the process of obtaining a concealed carry permit.