Recently, I decided to purchase a handgun for self-protection. I am alone in my travels quite a bit and I feel like I needed something concealable. I also hunt alone a lot, and since we now have more bear and hogs in the areas we hunt, I wanted something I could carry with me in a “just in case” situation. I am going to share my experience about getting permitted to purchase and choosing my weapon with you. This process was pretty simple for me, I just had a few steps to take to complete the process. Of course, every state and county may have different steps in the purchase process.
First step – Talk to someone in your county sheriff’s office. I was told by several different gun shops, that the permit needed to be processed in my county. I called my sheriff’s office, and they gave me the correct information to get this process started. I found the “weapon permits” on my county’s sheriff webpage. They had a link to the application and very helpful directions on the items that I needed complete before turning in my application.
I downloaded the application packet and filled it out at home. This speeds up the filing process. The initial application itself is much like the application to purchase a rifle. I recommend that you READ each question carefully. Answering just one of these questions wrong will prevent you from acquiring the permit. The next page of questions was a “Supplementary Questions” page. This is basically a list of questions regarding United States Citizenship. I then had a “Mental Health” paper to fill out and get notarized. The Mental Health form gives the sheriff’s department permission to check your mental health history. After I completed all that paperwork, I took it to the County’s Finance Office and paid a $5.00 processing fee. Lastly, I had to take the assortment of papers over to the Sheriff’s Office to turn it in and let them copy my driver’s license. I was then told that when I pick up my permit, I had to supply a bill or something in writing with proof of my address on it. After all that, I was told that there was a waiting period of “Up to 14 days”. The waiting period was the worst part of the whole process, but I used that time to research various pistols. This brings me to the next step in this process.
Step Two – Research, research, research! Online searches are a great way to find out information on weapons, including manufacturer recalls! Please don’t stop there. After looking around at various pistols online, I decided to check out my local gun shops. Gun shops are great, but be warned, gun shops are there to make money and most shops are only concerned with the sale. You can however, hold each pistol and get a feel for it. This was important step for me, because the pistol that I was originally wanted to purchase, didn’t fit my hand at all! After holding many different types of pistols, I went to the gun range. The gun range is also an excellent place to find out what the women shooters are carrying.
I met a woman at the gun range that had the exact pistol I ended up buying. She talked in great length about her pistols concerning the dynamics of each. She let me get the feel for this pistol and offered to let me shoot it! All in all, she was more helpful than anyone at the Gun Shop or Gun Range or internet. I was more comfortable speaking with her than the men at the shops. I highly recommend talking to different women gun owners and find out what they like and why before making a decision on your weapon. For instance, recoil was my main concern. I do not enjoy shooting a gun that has a tremendous amount of recoil. Case in point, I had a 44 special that I dreaded to shoot, because the recoil was so intense that it hurt my hands to shoot it. That pistol remained in the gun safe for years until I finally decided to get rid of it.
After speaking with many people and doing a lot of research, I decided to go with the Walther PK 380. A light weight pistol with very little recoil, but still had the stopping power that I desired. The only problem was that no one carried that model or they weren’t able to get that pistol from the manufacturer. After coming up empty-handed at the gun shops, I turned my search once again to the Internet. I found this great site that is dedicated to guns for women. The site is called Guns 4 Gals, and I was in luck! They had a few models of that particular weapon I wanted in different color combinations. The only problem was, they are located in Texas! A simple phone call was all it took to put away any concerns that I had about ordering and shipping. I did ask them if they would be willing to hold the pistol for me until I received my purchase permit. Understandably, they declined but told me that I could purchase the pistol and they would “hold it” for me until the permit came through. I don’t recommend doing this unless you know that your background check will come back clean. Since I work in the nursing field and I have background checks done every year, I felt confident that I would be issued the handgun purchase permit and went ahead and ordered the Walther PK 380. In speaking with Guns 4 Gals, they were able to do a quick search and find a dealer with a Federal Firearms License (FFL) fairly close. The law in my state says that if I purchase a handgun out-of-state, it has to be shipped to someone with the Federal Firearms License. Keep this in mind if you plan to order your pistol online, out-of-state. Guns 4 Gals did all the leg work concerning the FFL transfer, and I was extremely happy with their customer service.
Lastly, Step Three – Obtain my handgun purchase permit. It took around seven days to obtain my handgun purchase permit. The Sheriff’s Office called and informed me that my certificate would be ready to pick up at any time after noon. The permit itself is only good for the purchase of one handgun, within five years. Basically every time I want to purchase a handgun, I will have to go through this whole process again. After receiving my handgun purchase certificate, I went home and called Guns 4 Gals and told them to “ship it out”. They shipped it out and the Gun Shop received it in two days. The gun shop then logged the weapon, and I had to fill out another gun purchase application. The gun shop signed off on my application, copied my license, and I paid a small “transfer fee” to the gun shop. I purchased target ammo and took my Walther home to shoot it!
This process can be intimidating and time-consuming to a new buyer, but if you do your research first, it can be as easy as One, Two, and Three!