The Process is Simple
You may have heard the news that the policies regarding California Concealed Firearm Licenses, also known as “CCW Permits”, have become less restrictive in a few counties and you’d like to know how to go about obtaining one. Without going into the history of the 9th Circuit Federal Court of Appeals case which provided the impetus for this change, you should understand that a few counties have relaxed their restrictions and Orange County is one of them. In fact Orange County leads the state in the most issuance of permits. Currently, you still do have to provide some sort of “good cause” for desiring to obtain a license, but the OC Sheriff boasts an approval rate of about 98% of applications. When granted, the applicant will be permitted to legally carry a loaded and concealed handgun in public within California, with exception to a few restricted areas where firearms are not allowed. Some Orange County residents have always desired to obtain a permit, but are still very hesitant to apply because they are worried the process is complex. It’s not complex and the following steps will guide you through it.
*UPDATE 6-25-22- The U.S. Supreme Court ruled on June 23, 2022 in the New York State Rifle and Pistol Association v. Bruen case that the 2nd Amendment extends to the right for protection outside of the home. The justices ruled 6-3 that it was unconstitutional to require a special need in order to obtain a CCW permit. Effectively, the California Attorney General quickly issued an AG Alert that directed all law enforcement agencies that issue permits to stop requiring a “Good Cause” reason from applicants. It is yet to be seen what other requirements will now be added by way of demonstrating “Good Character” or what new “sensitive areas” may be added to the list of prohibited locations to carry firearms, but the current situation will most likely see a very quick expansion of issuance of licenses. Future California laws will be tested in the courts according the new standards set by the Supreme Court this week.
*UPDATE 6-29-19- It’s now been over 6 months since Sheriff Barnes was sworn in as the new Orange County Sheriff. Issuance of permits appears to be proceeding the same as it was under Sheriff Hutchens. Before the election, Sheriff Barnes reminded voters and our company directly that he was the undersheriff under Sheriff Hutchens when all of the CCW policy changes took place with Peruta. Barnes oversaw the CCW program at that time and informed us that his plans were to continue with the policies as usual and not to make the process any more restrictive. It does appear that the OCSD has been a little more focused on quality documents to verify the claims made in the good cause statement, but there doesn’t seem to be any changes in the types of reasons they will accept to satisfy the requirement and the issuance rate is on par as to what it was previously before Barnes was sworn in. For example, the OCSD may ask you for photos or letters to demonstrate that you indeed perform certain job duties if you use that as a claim, or evidence that you do frequently participate in recreational activities in remote areas without cell phone service or nearby help. Plan on having a document to support every section of your good cause reasons, but the OCSD staff provides excellent customer service in helping you understand what types of documents they require of you. Nobody should be discouraged to apply.
To read the OCSD policy for the structure of how to compile your “good cause” statement, click HERE
1. Go online and request an interview appointment from the Orange County Sheriff’s Department. Click HERE
2. The OC Sheriff now has most of the application process online. Go to their website to request an interview date and at the same time, fill out the short form “California Department of Justice Concealed Firearm License Application”. They are now also set up for you to upload your “good cause” documentation.
3. Gather the requested documents demonstrating you are a current resident of Orange County. Have your paperwork ready for your interview date, which you should also upload with your application if it’s ready. Currently, you must also provide a statement of “good cause”. This is nothing to be anxious about, up to 98% of applications are approved and those that are denied are not solely for good cause reasons. While you simply can’t just put that you want the permit for general “self- defense”, just about any reason will do. They do like documentation that verifies any of your reasons. Just put a little thought into it and provide any documentation if you have it. Click HERE for more details.
4. Sign up with an approved Training Provider and complete the CCW handgun course which can vary in length, but it must be a minimum of 8 hours and cannot exceed 16 hours. This may be done up to 6 months BEFORE a permit is issued. You DON’T have to wait for your appointment to finish the class. The trainer will provide you a course completion certificate which you will upload to the OCSD website.
*Note that in California CCW permits have specific guns listed on your permit. In Orange and Ventura Counties, you may only carry those handguns which are registered to you that you’ve qualified through the live fire portion of a training class. In other words, if you haven’t purchased a handgun yet, you’ll need to do that before completing the training class or receiving the permit. Both counties also currently allow permittees to list a handgun on their permit that is registered under their legal spouse or domestic partner’s name.
5. Go to a business that is certified to do Live Scan fingerprinting and they will send your fingerprints to the DOJ for your background check. This step used to be the longest wait. It was taking up to 22 weeks to complete, but currently can be as fast as a week. Nevertheless, you can cut your time in half by doing it NOW. You DON’T have to wait for your sheriff’s appointment to complete your fingerprinting. You can download the form from the OCSD website and get the Live Scan done today. The form you’ll want to take the Live Scan operator that has all of the codes they’ll need is HERE. Only fill in the parts that are highlighted in yellow. Many UPS stores do Live Scan, but call them first to make sure.
6. Attend your interview appointment. The online system now allows you to choose an interview date. Instead of waiting months, you can often get into their office on the next business day. The staff are friendly and professional. They will go over your paperwork and will request additional documentation for your Good Cause statement if they feel that more is needed. If you’ve already completed your training class and they’ve received your Live Scan results, it’s often possible that you can receive your license that same day.
7. If they’re still waiting for your Live Scan results or they need additional documents for your Good Cause, then you will soon receive a conditional approval email once these things are approved. You will then be contacted to go back to the Sheriff’s office to pick up your license and pay your final permit fee. Generally, this takes less than 2 weeks for your final appointment after they have all the documents they need.
All of the above steps can sometimes be completed in a matter of a few weeks. The Sheriff’s office has made tremendous efforts to speed up the process. The stage at which the permit fees are paid and your photo is taken may vary, but all the principal steps are the same. Currently, the Sheriff’s department charges $169 for the permit processing and you are allowed to list an unlimited number of handguns on your permit. The DOJ charges $93 for your background check. The permit is valid for 2 years and renewal is $81.
Approved Training Providers are listed on the Sheriff’s website and classes average between $200-$300. Research the firearms instructor teaching the course because not all classes provide the same quality of instruction. At Hansen’s Firearms Training, we provide excellent handgun training with a focus on scenario-based exercises. We also include a free tactical pen for a low price of $190 per student for in-person classes or $175 for “blended learning” on-line classroom courses. Live Scan fingerprinting is also available on-site. Please contact us with any questions. We’d love to show you why our classes are the best value and training experience in Orange County. Sign up today!