Concealed Carry In California; A Look At The Process Of Obtaining A Permit


Those of us who live in California are all too familiar with the challenges that come with buying, owning, and carrying firearms. When we make the trip to the local gun store our selection is limited to pistols which are on the roster and pre-approved by the California DOJ. The limited number of guns that pass our 10 round magazine, magazine safety, and microstamping requirements leaves us with a selection which is a fraction of what most states have.

When it comes to obtaining a concealed carry permit your chances of being approved highly depends on the county in which you reside. Some counties are “shall issue” while others require “good cause”.  Living in Sacramento County, the good cause requirement made it pretty tough to get a carry permit. Sacramento tends to only issue CCW’s if you were in an occupation that put your safety at much higher risk than that of the average citizen. A few years ago, that all changed. The new sheriff in town decided that a citizen wanting to protect themselves, in a life or death situation, was a good enough cause to issue a CCW. After never applying, because I had never seen any hope of being approved, I made the decision to give it a shot.

Step #1 – Schedule an interview

The first step was to make an appointment on the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department website. As it turned out, I wasn’t the only person who had heard about the issuance of carry permits; all appointments slots were already booked for the next year. After about six months, the appointment system was updated and it allowed me to put myself on the waiting list. Fourteen months later, my name was at the top and I was finally able to schedule an appointment.

In preparation for the initial interview I needed to complete the CCW application form, write a letter of statement, two forms of address verification (i.e., utility bills), and get a cashier’s check or money order for $20. The application form required basic information, disclosure of any criminal convictions, and even any traffic violations within the last five years. Oh boy, I had three speeding tickets!

Step #2 – Initial Interview

On the morning of the interview I put on my slacks, button up shirt and tie, and I headed to the sheriff’s department. I had no idea what to expect, which definitely caused a level of nervousness. Within the first few minutes of my interview, my nerves calmed completely – the detectives were very nice and just wanted to confirm that I was the upstanding citizen which I had claimed to be. The questions were exactly what you would expect someone to ask you when you’re requesting a permit to carry a loaded firearm; any criminal convictions, history of drug use, or domestic violence? The key to this initial interview process is to disclose, disclose, disclose. When they run your name and birth date, everything will come up. If you hide anything, they will find it and you will be denied.

Two weeks later, I received an email saying that I had been approved!

Step #3 – Fingerprints, FBI/DOJ Approval, and 16 hour CCW Class

After being approved, I ran right down to my local sheriff’s office to have a live fingerprint scan for FBI/DOJ review. This process can take 4-6 weeks so it’s best to get it done as soon as possible. The long wait gave me the perfect opportunity to shop for a carry pistol and take the required 16 hour course. Remember to bring whatever firearms you would like to have on your permit to your qualification class. In Sacramento County we are allowed to qualify with three. I decided to qualify with my Glock 30 and my newly purchased Smith & Wesson M&P Shield .40. The qualification process is pretty straight forward and easy. If you have any shooting experience or even a basic handgun class under your belt, it will be a breeze.


Step #4 – Issuance Appointment

The issuance appointment was very fast and simple. The detectives wanted the certificate showing that I had completed the 16 hours CCW class, two pieces of address verification, and a cashier’s check or money order for $80. Ten minutes after walking in with the required paperwork, I walked out with my very first concealed carry permit.

What I Learned

From the first initial interview to the final issuance appointment, it took me only five weeks to get my Permit. That is, of course, completely ignoring the nearly two years it took me to get my initial interview. All in all, the process was very smooth and actually a lot of fun. If you’re a fellow Californian and you’ve been thinking about applying for a concealed carry permit, just remember a few things:

Demanding a permit because it’s your 2nd amendment right is not going to fly.

Be courteous and professional during your interview.

Disclose, disclose, disclose.

Good luck!

Categories: Beginners Guide, General
About George | View all posts by George

George is a salesman in Sacramento, California. His favorite hobbies are going to the shooting range, working on one of his project cars, and flying Cessna airplanes. His EDC is…

George is a salesman in Sacramento, California. His favorite hobbies are going to the shooting range, working on one of his project cars, and flying Cessna airplanes. His EDC is a Smith & Wesson M&P Shield .40 with an Apex trigger kit and a Lasermax sight. The M&P rides perfectly in a Alien Gear Cloak Tuck and stays loaded with Hornady Critical Defense 165gr rounds.

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  • Richard R Beck

    That sounds like a pain in the ass. So glad I don’t live in California.

  • Jason Carter

    I walked in to the sherrifs department with 85 bucks, they ran a background check took my fi gerprints and a week later i had my permit. Georgia rules. California sucks.

    • Agent Entropy

      We’re better than Kalifornia (I’ve lived in Cobb Co. for ten years), but Georgia still has too many restrictions on where we can carry. Heck, even Washington State allows open carry without a permit; can’t do that in Georgia.

    • Kansas Bright

      It is still unlawful, a felony, of those who serve within our governments to demand that you do anything of that nature. When you comply, you condone.

      Read my earlier comment and see why. Learn a bit more about our government and what those who serve within it are ALLOWED to do.

      Norton v. Shelby County… The Court said: “An unconstitutional act is not a law; it confers no rights; it imposes no duties. It is, in legal contemplation, as inoperative as though it had never been passed.”

      In light of the Founders’ view on the subject of republics and democracies, it is not surprising that the Constitution does not contain the word “democracy,” but does mandate: “The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a republican form of government.”

      Our Founding fathers didn’t fight for government control of your life liberty, and property… They fought against it!

      Andrew Jackson, Farewell Address, March 4, 1837: “But you must remember, my fellow-citizens, that eternal vigilance by the people is the price of liberty, and that you must pay the price if you wish to secure the blessing.  It behooves you, therefore, to be watchful in your States as well as in the Federal Government.”

  • Wait. Micro stamping? What? Also. Depending on your county, your experience can vary. Lol.

  • Redline

    $2 BART ride to Oakland, couple hundred bucks, any handgun you want. How are all these steps for the law abiding citizen helping?

  • Michael Pisano

    No need for a permit here in VT. Boom. Winning. Tigers blood!

  • Pingback: Concealed Carry In California; A Look At The Process Of Obtaining A Permit | From the Trenches World Report()

  • Chris W.

    In Wisconsin I just had to send them 40 bucks and my DD-214… got my permit back in a week.

  • Kansas Bright

    “Demanding a permit because it’s your 2nd amendment right is not going to fly.”

    So what you are saying here is that our legitimate government can go to he(double l). That those felons who interviewed you – felons because it IS a felony to break the lawfully required Oath, ALLOWED you to get a weapon that the US Constitution forbids them to modify, etc that SUPREME LAW that is our protection from governmental domestic enemies can enforce “color of law”, PRETEND laws and it is just fine with you.

    So why are you in America? Do NOT say for your freedom. You are not a “law abiding citizen”, you are a slave, where others who break our laws are allowed by you to do anything they want to even if it is against our laws, qualifies as treason against the USA and all American citizens.

    Read and learn, THEN decide if you are an American or belong in another country because we do not need anymore domestic enemies or traitors to the USA within our nation regardless if they are governmental or not. Because being an American and free does come with responsibilities.

    Cockrum vs State: “The right of a citizen to bear arms, in lawful defense of himself or the State, is absolute. He does NOT derive it from the State government. It is one of the high powers delegated directly to the citizen, and is excepted out of the general powers of government. A law CANNOT be passed to infringe upon or impair it, because IT IS ABOVE THE LAW, and INDEPENDENT OF THE LAWMAKING POWER.” (caps are mine)

    Bliss v. Commonwealth: “Arms restrictions – even concealed weapons bans – are unconstitutional, since arms bearing is an individual right and the legislature may not restrict any aspect of such a right.”

    Nunn vs. State: ‘The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.’ The right of the whole people, old and young, men, women and boys, and not militia only, to keep and bear arms of every description, and not such merely as are used by the milita, shall not be infringed, curtailed, or broken in upon, in the smallest degree; and all this for the important end to be attained: the rearing up and qualifying a well-regulated militia, so vitally necessary to the security of a free State. Our opinion is that any law, State or Federal, is repugnant to the Constitution, and void, which contravenes this right”.

    Justice Robert Jackson, Chief U.S. Prosecutor at the Nuremberg Trials (That was the trials for Nazi Germany just in case you are ignorant of relatively recent history which your article makes it seem so): “Uncontrolled search and seizure is one of the first and most effective weapons in the arsenal of every arbitrary government. Among deprivations of rights, none is so effective in cowing a population, crushing the spirit of the individual and putting terror in every heart.”

    Yea, that IS the very description of warrantless raids, SWAT team actions, NAZI Germany revived here within the USA and YOU are welcoming it with such pride that you were “allowed” to own something those who serve within OUR government have NO LAWFUL authority over. Shame on you!

    A Quote from the Opening statement by Justice Robert Jackson, Chief U.S. Prosecutor of the Nuremberg Trials: “Eventually they organized and dominated every phase of German life {as is being tried here thru the UN laws, and executive orders, bills, laws made here}. They created a “Party” police system, which became the pattern and the instrument of the police state, which was the first goal in their plan.” {DHS and TSA – starting to arrange themselves throughout our nation to control our every move and where we can go: at airports, bus stations, train stations, even on our own roads.}

    Still Quoting from it: ” A presidential decree was created suspending the extensive guarantees of individual liberty contained in the constitution of the Weimar Republic. The decree provided that: “Sections 114, 115, 117, 118, 123, 124, and 153 of the Constitution of the German Reich are suspended until further notice.”

    “Those decree’s were restrictions on personal liberty, on the right of free expression of opinion – including freedom of the press, on the right of peaceful assembly, the right of association,
    and violations of the privacy: postal, telegraphic, and telephonic communications;
    and no need for warrants for house-searches, orders for, confiscations as well as restrictions on property, etc all taken away under the guise of “keeping the people safe”. {much like what is happening within the USA today, as all of the “restrictions” on our freedoms are “for our own safety”}

    Many were arrested as “belligerents” – no real crime committed, just disagreeing with the destruction of their legitimate government.”

    “Secret arrest and indefinite detention; without charges, without evidence, without hearing, without counsel, and no court could issue an injunction, or writ of habeas corpus, or certiorari. The German people were in the hands of the police, the police were in the hands of the Nazi Party, and the Party was in the hands of a ring of evil men who wanted to rule the world. {NDAA, Patriot Act, various executive orders, warrantless arrests, New World Order, etc}
    (End quote Opening statement by Justice Robert Jackson, Chief U.S. Prosecutor of the Nuremberg Trials)

    Who does the Preamble say is LIMITED OR FORBIDDEN to mess with the Bill of Rights? In case you do not know, read below, it is those who SERVE within our governments – state and federal.

    Preamble to the Bill of Rights: “THE Conventions of a number of the States, having at the time of their adopting the Constitution, expressed a desire, in order to prevent misconstruction or abuse of its powers, that further declaratory and restrictive clauses should be added: And as extending the ground of public confidence in the Government, will best ensure the beneficent ends of its institution….”

    James Madison, the Father of our legitimate government: “Because if . . . [An Unalienable Natural Right of Free Men] . . . be exempt from the authority of the Society at large, still less can it be subject to that of the Legislative Body. The latter are but the creatures and vicegerents of the former. Their jurisdiction is both derivative and limited: It is limited with regard to the coordinate departments, more necessarily is it limited with regard to the constituents. The
    preservation of a free Government requires, not merely, that the metes and bounds which separate each department of power be invariably maintained: but more especially that neither of them be suffered to overleap the greater Barrier which defends the rights of the people. The Rulers who are guilty of such an encroachment, exceed the commission from which they derive their authority, and are Tyrants. The people who submit to it are governed by laws made
    neither by themselves nor by an authority derived from them, and are Slaves”

    If you believe that those who serve within our governments can declare “emergency powers” or “marital law” you are NOT in the correct country.

    The Supreme Court of the United States (when it was not filled with traitors and domestic enemies of the USA and the American people): “The Constitution of the United States is a law for rulers and people, equally in war and peace, and covers with the shield of its protection all classes of men, at all times, and under all circumstances. No doctrine involving more pernicious consequences was
    ever invented by the wit of man than that any of its provisions can be suspended during any of the great exigencies of government. Such a doctrine leads directly to anarchy or despotism.”

    Wake up or leave this nation, because “assassination powers” are FIRST DEGREE MURDER here in America. Never ignore treason, or *terrorism practiced against US citizens by those who serve within our governments; LEARN the US Constitution because it is the contract that those who serve within any position within our governments are under. Then learn your state Constitution because it is the state Contract that those who serve within the state are under.

    *28 C.F.R. Section 0.85 Terrorism is defined as “the unlawful use of force and violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives”.

    Dr. Vieira: “Look at the First Amendment… What does it do? It guarantees freedom of speech, freedom of press, freedom of religion.
    But how does it do that?
    I quote: “Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech or of the press” etcetera.
    “Congress shall make no law;” that’s a statement of an absence of power. That’s a statement of a disability.” Dr. Vieira

    1st Amendment: ““Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”

    The six PROTECTIONS (SUPREME LAWS) from those who serve within our governments from overstepping the authority given:
    1. Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion
    2. Congress shall make no law prohibiting the exercise of religion
    3. Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech
    4. Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of the press
    5. Congress shall make no law abridging the right of the people peacefully to assemble
    6. Congress shall make no law abridging the right to petition the government for a redress of grievance.

    4th Amendment: “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

    There are two limitations placed upon those who serve within our governments stated in this amendment.

    1. The citizens are to be secure in their person, home, papers, and property from unreasonable searches and seizure. Basically we have the privacy to go about our lives without worrying whether those serving within government will invade us. This was to ensure that the government does not trespass on the people nor take anything from the people without following correct legal procedure.

    2. The government is restrained from taking either person or property without first getting a warrant, and only after proving probable cause. This only as valid if the judge used is honest. There have been cases in which judges have signed blank warrants, and the details are not filled in until after serving the warrant.

    It is very important to realize that these are not grants of right, but limitations placed on those who serve within our government to ensure that they do not trespass beyond their listed (enumerated) powers.

    9th Amendment: ““The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.”
    Once again this amendment states that the citizens of the United States have more rights than just those listed within the US Constitution, and the government is forbidden to deny us or to modify those natural rights as they are above the powers and authority granted to them.

    • Nicholas Bertovich

      Great read. Nicely put together.

      • Kansas Bright

        Thank you.

        People do not bother to learn this on their own, so I am doing what I can to show them what our nation is, and what is going on within it by those who do not have any lawful authority for the actions they are doing.

        That does not mean that they will not send any “fool” or deliberate domestic enemy or traitor to the USA out to enforce their orders, they will. But then gangs, others also enforce their orders by force and not backed by law.

        The choice is always ours. Educate oneself and others when they will bother to learn. Share and backup with those who do bother.

    • evd45

      Very well stated, as mentioned by Nicholas below also very nicely put together. I hope u don’t mind I am going to steal this in entirety. I will credit you with the writing but I feel this needs to be heard!!

      I have CCW’s in various states, I still don’t know why they’re not all combined into one. In (WA) it was a walk in application, $50 I think and returned week or 10 days later in the mail. Oregon, which I do not posses, is by county and there supposedly is a “list” of sheriff’s that will refuse (without cause) and those that will grant. That is something of a question as to how they can legitimately, or legally get away with refusal without showing “just cause”. My enhanced permit is by ID state law, if the applicant meets the criteria, to be issued in 90 days or less.

      Lately, I have seen CA gun laws changing ever so slightly for the good, If the author is trying to convey that aspect (and I believe we was) then I suppose for our CA constituents, is is a step in the right direction. However, as long as we as a society have the mentality that we were “gifted this right”, to either carry legally, to protect our’s and the lives of our loved one’s, or any other rights granted us, we are not truly a free society.

      I’m not in any way condoning the rubber stamping of concealed permits. There are extenuating circumstances, be it mental or criminal, that would forbade that issuance, for the “common good”. But for any citizen with no above mentioned restrictions, they should not be infringed upon.

      I have a friend in CA that cringes every time his CCW comes up for renewal whether or not he will be reissued. That is as you aptly put it, is illegally and constitutionally wrong, I for one thank you for that.

    • SJ K

      great read man. don’t mind if i steal it from you to share it with others? i’ll credit you with the writing as well. like it was said it needs to be shared

  • Hopeful Independent

    Pain in the ass or not, sounds very promising.

  • Paul Carpenter

    Hell in Florida I just applied and it was mailed to me. NO PROBLEMS!!! Acourse I was in Law Enforcement 28 years, both military and as a Federal Officer. No stupid classess

    • evd45

      the majority of the states I am familiar with extends that to retired law enforcement FL has nothing on anyone…

  • RetMSgt

    A well-written article pointing out the crap that those who are fortunate to live in the Golden State have to put up with. Some more-enlightened states, such as Arizona or Vermont, don’t even limit their citizens’ rights with the burden of obtaining permission from the state to be allowed to carry for self defense.
    In the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, far away from California, one still requires a license for the privilege of carrying concealed (open carry is considered a right and requires no license, except for Philadelphia, a story all its own). And, with some 970,000 licenses current, roughly one in ten adult Pennsylvanians can carry concealed.
    To get a license in Pennsylvania, one merely fills out a one-page application, drops it off at the County Sheriff’s office (no appointment necessary), plops down twenty dollars, get a picture taken while a background check is performed, and can be back out on the street, with a license, in as little as fifteen minutes. Nope, no fingerprints, no training required, no long-winded explanation of why one would want a license (“Self defense” as acceptable).
    It leaves one to wonder why California’s government trusts its citizens less than Pennsylvania’s government.

  • haza12d

    Great read! Thanks for all the info and sharing your experience with us. So, I live in Glendale and was wondering if it’s even possible to get a permit for where I live.

  • ChuckCalifornia

    This article gives me hope. I’d asked someone working with CCW in Sacramento County about 3-years ago and after describing my justification reasons was told it was unlikely I’d get approved – because as you mention I would only be at risk similar to anyone else in the county.

    Perhaps I’ll try again.

  • Sheldon McNeely

    Concealed carry weapon class is my favorite part. Must read

  • Abad Don

    ONLY FIVE WEEKS plus two years…and I was bitching about Florida’s 90 days. Of course, moving back to Northern California I knew the process was a PITA, and I’d likely be denied in the county I’m in. What I DIDN’T count on was my local police department refusing to even provide me with an application in the first place. I have a Florida and Arizona CCW that together allow me to carry in 33 states. This is bullshit.

  • trant

    So, the process to get a handgun in CA is easier than the process to get a CCW. What kind of stupid logic is that from CA politicians?! What’s to prevent a person from buying a handgun legally, and then carrying it illegally?!