Bureaucracy. The pillar of western civilization. Despite each state having its own process for a concealed carry permit or license, there is no uniform waiting time between all fifty.
Each state has a different process, different policies, requirements, and processing times. There are peak periods where, for whatever reason, a lot of people are either renewing, updating, or applying for the first time and that causes a backlog. For states that allow residents to carry concealed without a permit, this at least gives the resident the opportunity to keep a gun on himself while he waits for his permit to process.
In the state of New Hampshire, prior to constitutional carry, the issuing authority (usually the police chief) had up to 14 days to issue a permit unless he had reasonable cause to not issue one.
In North Carolina, friends of mine report waiting up to 5 months to receive theirs.
Unless there are specific laws on the books dictating how long the state’s issuing authority has to issue a concealed carry permit, waiting times will vary significantly from place to place.
A lot of reported wait times for concealed carry permits are from word of mouth. Rarely, if ever, do issuing authorities publish a firm set time.
First time applicants for concealed carry permits can generally expect to run into the longer wait times. This is because the issuing authority generally needs to run a background check and confirm references, training requirements, etc.
If you are renewing your concealed carry permit — versus first-time application — your turnaround time will likely be far less. One of my colleagues in Washington state got his renewal permit in eleven business days. This is in comparison to another colleague who lives in Seattle and had to wait over a month and a half to get his permit in the mail.
Just like driver’s licenses, concealed carry permits are prone to the same sort of bureaucratic backlog that happens when any government issues a permit for something. It’s dependent upon the clarity of the investigation, the completeness of the application, all supporting paperwork in its place, and the number of applications processing at a single time.
In general, if you’re a first time concealed carry applicant, make sure you have all the following in perfect order:
- Training certificate issued by a state-recognized instructor or course of instruction
- Complete application with all fields filled out appropriately
- Make sure you have recorded the correct phone numbers and e-mail addresses for any personal references
- Where applicable, if there is a legal issue that needs to be addressed prior to the application, make sure you have documentation supporting you have settled it
The basic rule for paperwork processing is, “don’t be the one.”
Don’t be the one guy who can’t remember his own address or the guy who skips a bunch of fields because he thinks they’re not important or relevant. Don’t be the guy who lists a bunch of references that either don’t know they’re supposed to give you a good reference (it happens) or don’t have the correct method of contact available.
You can’t control how fast your local issuing authority processes your paperwork. You can control how neat and orderly that paperwork is. In general, wait times are usually ranged between 7-10 business days to 3-4 months depending upon where you live, the temperament of your local issuing authority, and the number of hoops you need to jump through to get your paperwork through the door.