On Tuesday, March 17, the Guilford County Sheriff’s Department announced that the coronavirus pandemic would mean a temporary change in the way county gun permits are issued and also cause a suspension of the department’s fingerprinting services.

The press release from the department states that, in order to “protect the safety, health and well-being of our residents and customers and prevent unnecessary exposure to potential sources of the Coronavirus, while continuing to provide quality service to the people of Guilford County,” there will be “some temporary adjustments to the processes of applying for Pistol Purchase Permits, Concealed Carry Handgun Permits and to fulfilling requests for fingerprints.”

Effective immediately, all applicants for pistol purchase permits, as well as for concealed carry permits, must start the application process on the internet using the department’s online application tool.

Also, until further notice, the public computer kiosks in the Sheriff’s Department’s firearm permits office at the Guilford County Courthouse in downtown Greensboro will be closed.     

According to the press release from the Sheriff’s Department, these steps are being taken “to keep our residents and customers safe from potential exposure to the virus, which could occur by using these public computer kiosks.”

After being completed online, pistol purchase permit applications will be sent to one of the department’s three district offices to be issued to the applicants. There’s an office in Summerfield, one in McLeansville and one in Jamestown.

Although each applicant must now initiate his or her application for concealed carry permits online, the remainder of the permit process will still take place at the Sheriff’s Firearm Permit Office in the Courthouse at 201 S. Eugene St. in Greensboro.

The Sheriff’s Department stated in the March 17 press release that it’s also suspending fingerprinting service for job applications and background checks.

“As soon as it is safe and practical, the Guilford County Sheriff’s Office will return back to its regular processes of applying for Pistol Purchase Permits, Concealed Carry Handgun Permits and fulfilling requests for fingerprints,” the statement reads.