On Wednesday, Aug. 26, the Guilford County Sheriff’s Department announced that the current average processing time for concealed carry handgun (CCH) permits remains at 90 days.  

That’s despite a significant rise in people wanting guns and wanting permits to carry one – due largely to unrest in the streets.

The department calculated the time frame by using the date at which a concealed carry application is completed (including the fingerprinting portion) to the date at which the permit is provided.

The bad news is that, thanks to new procedures due to COVID-19, it will be quite a while before you can schedule an appointment for fingerprinting. The Sheriff’s Department is currently scheduling fingerprint appointments for December 2020.

According to the Aug. 26 press release from the department, “The current processing time was impacted by two factors: (1) a dramatic increase in CCH and Pistol Purchase Permit (“PPP”) applications; and (2) the initiation of safety precautions for Guilford County Sheriff’s Office employees during the early phases of COVID-19 pandemic.”

The Rhino Times reported earlier this month that the request for handgun permits in Guilford County this spring had tripled compared with the same period last year. Also, there had been a nearly 50 percent increase in requests for concealed carry permits.

The Aug. 26 release explained how concealed carry permits have been affected by the pandemic.

“Processing requires fingerprinting, and fingerprinting necessitates close, face-to-face interaction between Sheriff’s Office employees and applicants. Personal Protective Equipment (“PPE”) was, however, in very short supply during the first several months the COVID-19 pandemic (March through May). As a prudent and necessary health and safety protection measure for our employees and applicants, the acceptance of new CCH applications and the fingerprinting portion of existing new CCH applications was temporarily suspended from March 17 to May 30, 2020.”

The department went on to state that that suspension affected new concealed carry applications – however, the Sheriff’s Department continued to process concealed carry renewals and pistol purchase applications. Then, after sufficient personal protective gear arrived, the department re-started the new CCH application and fingerprinting process on Monday, June 1.

The department listed the many measures it’s taken to keep the process going as well as possible in spite of the difficulties caused by the pandemic.

“In sum, Sheriff [Danny] Rogers and his Staff are strongly committed to defending and protecting the Second Amendment rights of Guilford County residents to lawfully purchase firearms and to lawfully obtain concealed carry permits,” the release states. “Although employee safety issues caused by the Coronavirus, and a dramatic increase in CCH and Pistol Purchase Permit applications created some unforeseeable difficulties, the Sheriff and his Legal Process Division are continuously re-assessing and employing new strategies to keep CCH processing times as short as we can.”