How you apply for a gun license will depend a great deal on where you live. Despite the often popular political argument about the government and gun control, the state and on some level the county in which you reside determine how you obtain a gun license or permit.
Things You'll Need
- Local phone directory
To apply for a gun license, you must first determine if your state even requires a permit or license to own or purchase a firearm. In most cases, a long gun (hunting rifle) does not require a permit, so the focus of this article is on getting a handgun license. Some states like Michigan, Illinois, Massachusetts and New York require you to obtain a license just to purchase a handgun. For the majority of others, you only need a permit to carry a concealed handgun.
Call your local county clerk or your local county sheriff's department. Calling a local gun shop in your area also can be a good starting point. They will certainly be able to tell you if you need a license to purchase. A quick call to any reputable gun shop in your area will point you in the right directions, which will likely end up being the county clerk's office or the sheriff's department. Since states vary so greatly, even sometimes from county to county, it is imperative you learn the local rules. Whichever office issues your state license will inform you of the application process. For states that require fingerprinting and background checks, you will likely need to go to a locally designated police department to be printed.
Be sure to study your state and county laws. Some states require no more than a two-week background check for issuance of a license. But some states are more involved with things such as local reference checks, employment records, fingerprinting, interviewing and even a National Rifle Association-required safety course. Gun laws are highly complex and often localized. In some states like New York, your pistol permit is not valid in New York City, and there are several large cities around the country that have enforceable local ordinances when it comes to firearms, especially handguns.