To purchase a pistol in the State of North Carolina you must seek permission from your County Sheriff. Here in Wake County it would cost you $5 per permit (limit 5 permits per application), and the Sheriff has 7 working days to complete his paperwork and give the permit to you. You must appear in person Monday through Friday, 8:30 AM to 5PM, to fill out the paperwork. If and when you are approved, you must return and pick up the permits during normal business hours. Permits are valid for 5 years from the date of issue. Assuming you have a valid NC Concealed Handgun Permit, you don’t need the permit to purchase.
There doesn’t appear to be much discretion on the part of the Sheriff. If you meet the rules laid down, you get the permit. In the event of denial, you get to appeal to once directly to the Sheriff, and if that fails, to the Chief District Judge for Wake County.
I imagine that this system made a certain amount of sense in a time when national instant checks were not available, and it was difficult to tell for sure if the guy you were about to sell a pistol to was a felon or not. Nowadays though, there is no reason to force a person to take time off from work twice to hoof it in to the County Sheriff’s office to beg official permission to purchase a pistol. It is also an annoying and unnecessary requirement that you wait 7 working days for you answer. This amounts to a waiting period. You could, of course, get your permit ahead of time and wander around for the next five years with it in your pocket. I think that this is probably not how things happen. Most people decide to buy a gun and only then find out what paperwork drills the State has in store for them. It’s time to drop this requirement entirely. Let’s just have the gun store just call the NICS hotline, get an answer, and sell you the pistol.