Pistol Purchase

A Pistol Purchase Permit allows you to purchase a single handgun with a single valid purchase permit in North Carolina and is only available from the Carteret County Sheriff's Office for citizens who reside in Carteret County. It does not entitle the applicant to carry a concealed handgun. For more information pertaining to Concealed Carry Permits, click here.

Pistol Purchase Permits are valid for a period of five (5) years from date of issuance and cost $5.00 each ($3.00 fee to apply online). The online system will charge a per transaction fee for the convenience of applying and paying for your permit online. The convenience fee is not collected by the Sheriff. This fee is paid to the company that provides this order, payment, and processing system to the public. The total fee is non-refundable. The online application process allows the applicant to keep track of the application process by notifying the applicant via email or text message at different levels of the process.


Please read all of the following requirements carefully before completing the application as you must meet all of them in order to be issued a Pistol Purchase Permit. Please note that a gun safety class is NOT a requirement.

Applicants Must:

  • Be a citizen, naturalized citizen, or resident alien
  • Be 18 years old - NOTE: Applicants under twenty-one (21) may NOT purchase from a Federal Firearms Dealer
  • Be a full-time resident of Carteret County for a minimum of 30 days
  • Have a valid NC Driver's License of NC ID Card displaying your current Carteret County residential address
  • Naturalized Citizens: Must bring your Naturalization Certificate or valid US Passport
  • U.S. Citizens born outside of the U.S.A. to U.S. parent(s) must bring your documentation from the Department of State (Consular Report of Birth Abroad, Certificate of Citizenship, or Certification of Report of Birth)
  • Effective December 1, 2015, North Carolina General Statute 14-404(e1) requires applicants to sign a release of court orders concerning mental health and capacity for pistol purchase permits.

Applicants Must NOT:

  • Be convicted of any felony, or similar offense in any jurisdiction or currently under indictment for any felonious offense
  • Be a fugitive from justice
  • Be an unlawful user of, or addicted to, marijuana, any depressant, stimulant or narcotic drug
  • Be adjudicated mentally defective or have been committed to a mental institution. To be prohibiting, a commitment to a mental institution must be involuntary and it must result in the person being committed to either in-patient or out-patient treatment
  • Be convicted of a Domestic Violence Offense
  • Have a substantial history of convictions, arrests, or reports demonstrating a continuing pattern of criminal activity during the previous five (5) years.
  • Be discharged from the Armed Forces under dishonorable conditions
  • Be an illegal alien or unlawfully residing in the United States
  • Have been a citizen of the United States and renounced that citizenship
  • Have an active court order of protection (50B) that alleges any domestic threat of violence

Application Process

Step 1: Complete Application

The Carteret County Sheriff's Office allows citizens to apply for a Pistol Purchase Permit online or in-person. Please note there is a $3.00 fee plus a credit card convenience fee to apply online or in-person, non-refundable.

Online Application: The application can be completed online through the Online Pistol Purchase Program. After completing the online portion of the application, you must come to the Sheriff's Office within five (5) business days to complete or provide a Release of Court Orders Concerning Mental Health and Capacity for Pistol Purchase Permit. Your application process will not begin until this release has been turned in.

Apply In-Person: The application and Release of Court Orders Concerning Mental Health and Capacity for Pistol Purchase Permit can either be downloaded by clicking on the links below or picked up in-person at the Carteret County Sheriff's Office. Once both forms have been completed, you must bring them to the Sheriff's Office and turn them in for processing.

Step 2: Wait for Application to be Processed

Once the Pistol Purchase Permit Application has been submitted and the Release of Court Orders Concerning Mental Health and Capacity for Pistol Purchase Permit has been returned to the Sheriff's Office, it will take up to fourteen (14) business days for the application to be processed. If the application is approved, you will be contacted to pick up the permit. If your application is denied for any reason, you will be notified with seven (7) days.

Step 3: Pick Up Permit

Upon notification of approval, the applicant must come to the Carteret County Sheriff's Office and provide a valid NC Driver's License or NC ID with the correct address or military ID with proof of residency in Carteret County to pick up the permit. No other forms of identification will be accepted. No one will be allowed to pick up your permit for you.

If you applied in-person, you must provide $5.00 for each permit purchased.
Cash is the only payment accepted and you must provide exact change.