The state I live in is one of the few which requires a pistol purchase permit to have any handgun transaction even transactions between private individuals. If you purchase from a FFL you give the permit to the store for them to retain in their records. Transactions between individuals are a little more fuzzy. There must be a bill of sale and the purchaser has to have a permit, but the law does not say what you should do with it. It’s odd that the permit is even required and even worse that the details of the transaction between private parties are not spelled out.
Now if you purchase a long gun from a FFL they are required to run an NICS background check or you can use a pistol permit in lieu of the check. If you have a concealed carry permit you can use that permit for either a long gun or a pistol and never have to do the NICS nor the pistol permit since you have already been fingerprinted and had a complete criminal and mental health background check.
Permits in NC are $5 each and the sheriff of each county really writes the rules from there. In the county I’m in they require a 7 business day waiting period and a maximum of 5 permits at a time. I think they also only allow 5 per year, but have not tried to get more. The process is actually a little painful. The form is easy to fill out, but you have to get to the courthouse and there is no parking close by. So you park, walk there, go to the office, fill out the paperwork, turn it in and then are told to come back in 7 business days. What in the world are they doing for 7 days? Anyway, once your permits are ready you return and pick them up and pay. Again you must park, walk, etc.
Many other states use the NICS system for both long guns and handguns. Most of the time that system only takes a few minutes to run the check and retailers already have it in place. Why can’t we go to a system like that? Does someone really think you need a cool down period for a handgun as opposed to a rifle or shotgun? Let’s say someone is peeved off and they want to cause damage, is their first thought to go out and by a several hundred-dollar gun or would they find some other means to enact their revenge? I seriously doubt they would go and be subjected to a background check in the heat of passion, especially since they drove a several ton automobile to get to the store. My understanding is in Virginia you walk in, make your firearm selection, go through a NICS background check, pay, and leave with your weapon which has been properly documented by the FFL. This to me seems like the way things should be, a proper background check should not take 7 business days and require multiple trips to a county courthouse and additional costs.
If you want to bring in revenue wouldn’t it make more sense to charge a $5 fee per firearm collected at the FFL and distributed back to the county of residence? Think about the savings that would create for each county by not requiring personnel in the sheriff’s office, time for the check (is one even done?), lighting and HVAC for the space, records and computers, etc. I just don’t think the pistol permit serves a purpose anymore other that to be a revenue stream for counties in NC and to create hardship for law abiding citizens who may wish to purchase a handgun.