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 all of California and you’d like to know how to go about obtaining one. Without going into the full history of court cases that brought about these changes, the summary is that 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 has seen 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.

Orange County leads the state in the most issuance of CCW permits. 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. Nobody should be discouraged to apply.

To read the OCSD policy for the structure of how to apply, 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”.

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.

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 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. Currently, interviews are done by video conferencing and it’s not really a interview per se. The staff are friendly and professional. They will go over your paperwork and will request additional documentation 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 within a few days after everything is completed.

7. You will soon receive a conditional approval email once everything is approved and they have received a passport photo uploaded to them. Someone will then email, call, or text you that you will receive a call for final payment. Once you have paid the final processing fee, it generally takes less than 2 weeks before they mail you the license. You must wait until you receive the physical permit before you can start exercising your CCW privileges.

All of the above steps can sometimes be completed in a matter of a few weeks, but it can take up to several months depending on the current backlog. 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 $300-$600. 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. Our courses start at $275 per student for in-person classes or $250 for “blended learning” on-line classroom courses. Live Scan fingerprinting may also be available on-site (contact us for availability). 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!