Sheriff Hero

General Information

Learning the laws regulating the use of firearms is a must for responsible ownership. Local regulations differ and laws vary from state to state. Citizens must check with the jurisdiction where the gun is to be used.

Generally, laws require the following:

  • Permits to buy handguns in North Carolina must be obtained from the sheriff in the county that you reside. In Durham County it is the Sheriff's Office.The Cost is $5.00 and is NON-REFUNDABLE even if your application is denied.
  • Gun purchase permit applications can be completed online or at the Sheriff's Office and will be processed on normal business days (Monday-Friday 8:30 AM-4:30 PM). Click the "Let's get Started" button to apply for a permit.

You can view all the information on NC Firearms Laws here: NC Firearms Laws

Gaining competency with firearms is like learning to drive a car or fly an airplane. You need expert instruction and practice. There is no shortcut. If you are not willing to invest the time and effort to become competent, then having a firearm and trying to use it can, in many instances, be more hazardous than any impending threat.

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.

After completing the online portion of the application, you MUST come in to the Sheriff’s Office within thirty (30) business days to complete or provide this release.

Your application process will not begin until this final step has been completed.

Let's Get Started

Handgun Purchase Permit Requirements: must meet ALL requirements

Applicant Must:

  • Be a citizen, a naturalized citizen, a permanent resident alien, a nonimmigrant alien without a visa (e.g. Visa Waiver Program), or a nonimmigrant alien with a visa who meets at least one of the valid exceptions to purchase or possess a firearm under federal law.
  • Permanent Resident Aliens: Will be asked to provide a permanent resident card (otherwise referred to as a “Green Card”), and a valid government-issued identification card.
  • Nonimmigrant Aliens WITH a Visa: Will be asked to provide a valid visa along with documentation showing the exception to purchase or possess a firearm under Title 18, United States Code, Section 922(y)(2) and a valid government-issued identification card.
    • Exceptions to purchase or possess a firearm under Title 18, United States Code, Section 922(y)(2) are as follows:
      • Persons admitted to the United States for lawful hunting or sporting purposes or is in possession of a hunting license or permit lawfully issued in the United States. 
      • An official representative of a foreign government who is accredited to the United States Government or the Government’s mission to an international organization having its headquarters in the United States or enroute to or from another country to which that alien is accredited. 
      • An official of a foreign government or a distinguished foreign visitor who has been so designated by the Department of State.
      • A foreign law enforcement officer of a friendly foreign government entering the United States on official law enforcement business.
  • Nonimmigrant Aliens WITHOUT a Visa: Will be asked to provide valid identification along with their I-94# and A/AR# (if available) and a valid government-issued identification card.
  • Naturalized Citizens: Will be asked to provide a Naturalization Certificate or valid US Passport and a valid government-issued identification card.
  • U.S. Citizens Born Outside the U.S.: Will be asked to provide a copy of their Naturalization Certificate, Consular Report of Birth Abroad, Certificate of Citizenship, Certification of Report of Birth, or valid U.S. Passport.
  • Applicants With Prior Military Service: Will be asked to provide their DD-214 or other official military discharge documentation that shows the type of discharge received.
  • Have attained at least one month's residency (30 days) in Durham County.
  • At the time of pickup, provide: 
    • A valid government-issued identification card.
    • Proof of residency (such as a pay stub, utility bill, contract for an apartment or house, real/personal property tax bill, bank statement, or vehicle registration card)

    NOTE: While the minimum age to obtain a Pistol Permit in North Carolina is EIGHTEEN (18), you must be TWENTY-ONE (21) or older in order to purchase a pistol from a federally licensed firearm dealer.

Applicant 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 adjudged incompetent on grounds of mental illness, nor have been committed to any mental institution.
  • Be convicted of a Domestic Violence Offense.
  • Have unresolved criminal charges pending.
  • Have a substantial history of convictions, arrests, or reports demonstrating a continuing pattern of criminal activity.
  • Be discharged from the Armed Forces under dishonorable conditions.
  • Be an illegal alien or unlawfully residing in the United States.
  • Have renounced U.S. citizenship.
  • Have an active court order of protection (50B) that alleges any domestic threat or violence.

The Sheriff will review any prior criminal charges or convictions. It is within the Sheriff's discretion to deny or approve pistol purchase permits.

The Durham County Sheriff’s Office offers this online service as a convenience to the community. In addition to the per permit fee of $5, the system will charge a per transaction fee for the convenience of applying and paying for your permits 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. You do have the option of applying and paying via cash in person at the Sheriff’s office. By doing so, you will not be charged a convenience fee.

Please note that this website has been certified to work using the following browsers: Edge, Firefox, Safari or Chrome.

For More Information, Contact:

Durham County Sheriff's Office
510 South Dillard Street
P.O. Box 170, Durham
NC 27701

Purchase Permits: Phone: (919) 560-0859

CHP Permits: Phone: (919) 560-7274


For Technical Support, Contact:

Permitium Software
Phone: (855) 642-2453

NC General Statute 14-351-1: Storage of firearms to protect minors


(a) Any person who resides in the same premises as a minor, owns or possesses a firearm, and stores or leaves the firearm (i) in a condition that the firearm can be discharged and (ii) in a manner that the person knew or should have known that an unsupervised minor would be able to gain access to the firearm, is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor if a minor gains access to the firearm without the lawful permission of the minor's parents or a person having charge of the minor and the minor:

  1. Possesses it in violation of G.S. 14-269.2(b);
  2. Exhibits it in a public place in a careless, angry, or threatening manner;
  3. Causes personal injury or death with it not in self defense; or
  4. Uses it in the commission of a crime.

(b) Nothing in this section shall prohibit a person from carrying a firearm on his or her body, or placed in such close proximity that it can be used as easily and quickly as if carried on the body.

(c) This section shall not apply if the minor obtained the firearm as a result of an unlawful entry by any person.

(d) "Minor" as used in this section means a person under 18 years of age who is not emancipated. (1993, c. 558, s. 2; 1994, Ex. Sess., c. 14, s. 11.)