Things to Know to Pass a Permit to Carry Test

By Madeline Lauria
Obtain a permit to carry by visiting your local sheriff's department.
George Doyle/Stockbyte/Getty Images

A permit to carry is obtained through an application process, not an actual test. The application process varies by state or county, but is similar in requirements. You will have to contact your local sheriff's department for county-specific requirements.

Obtaining an application

Visit your local sheriff's office for a permit to carry application. Depending on your location, the application may be available online. Most states require the applicant to be at least 18 to 21 years old and a resident of the county in which the application will be submitted.

Completing an application

The application will require some or all of the following: your personal information (name, address, birth date, personal description, driver's license number), previous addresses, employer information, criminal history, and the reason behind the application. You may have to provide other required information needed to authorize a background check.

Additional requirements

Some states require certification of training or evidence of firearm safety and handling procedures.

Some states require an applicant interview.

Fingerprinting may be required to obtain a permit to carry.

Applications may require a photo of the applicant and a copy of valid identification (driver's license or photo ID) or other proof of residency.

You may also be asked on the application, or during an interview, questions about your mental history or to provide medical documentation.

Some states also require signed references.

Fees vary by state.

Application submission and processing

Fill out the application and submit it with other required materials to your county sheriff's department. Schedule and submit to an interview, if required.

After the department receives your information, expect to wait at least six to eight weeks for a decision. Your application will be accepted or denied by the county sheriff or county court judge, depending on your place of residence.

Application acceptance

According to Sheriff Christopher J. Moss, of Chemung County, New York, in the end it's up to the county court judge to accept your application for a permit to carry. “Depending on your criminal history and mental health, there’s a lot of variables,” Sheriff Moss says.

With a clean criminal record and bill of health, your application should be accepted.


Obtaining a permit to carry, unless you are an officer, may not apply to all or some of the following establishments: school property, private establishments prohibiting weapons, childcare centers, public colleges and universities, jails, state correctional facilities, hospitals, courthouses, most federal facilities, state buildings, and any other establishments specified by your state.

About the Author

Madeline Lauria graduated from Duquesne University with a bachelor's degree in English and journalism. She was the news editor at "The Duquesne Duke," an intern at Creative Nonfiction and published in the school's literary journals, "Off the Bluff" and ":Lexicon." Lauria currently works as a freelance copywriter in Elmira, N.Y. and a crew member in The ALT Project.