A day does not go by that I don’t answer a half a dozen or more questions from individuals about what they can or cannot do; or how to go about doing something relating to an activity of the Sheriff’s Office. Over the years I have put together what I call: “The Ten Most Commonly Asked Questions to the Sheriff.” I think you’ll find these interesting.
1. How do I get a pistol permit to purchase a handgun?
To purchase a handgun in N.C., you must have a permit issued by the Sheriff’s Office. Generally speaking, you must be 21 years of age; a resident of Anson County (proof by your current driver’s license); be of good character and reputation; not a drug user; have had no DWI, CCW or DV conviction in the past five years; and NO felony convictions. There is a mandatory 5 day waiting period. You may apply for the permit during regular business hours Monday through Friday or anytime on-line at www.ansonsheriff.com. The cost of each permit is $5 and you may get up to three at a time. If you hold a valid N.C. Concealed Weapons Permit, you may use/show that to purchase a handgun and you will not be required to have a separate permit to purchase.
2. How do I get a concealed weapons permit?
This is a permit to actually carry a concealed handgun on your person. The qualifications are similar to the pistol permit, but you also have to have completed an eight-hour handgun safety course and this certificate must accompany your application. The Sheriff’s Office can provide you with a schedule of locally offered classes. You will also be fingerprinted. Once the Sheriff’s Office receives your completed application, it will be forwarded to the SBI in Raleigh for issuance of the permit. This takes about 60-90 days. The application fee is $95. The permit is good for five years. Note: All fees charged by the Sheriff’s Office are set by the N.C. legislature.
3. Do I have to register my guns?
No. N.C. law does not require you to register any gun you may own. If you have purchased the gun from a licensed gun dealer, it was automatically registered in your name at that time.
4. How do I evict someone from my rental property?
If you have had much experience being a landlord you probably already know the process. But if you are new at this, it can be a little complicated. If you are renting property (house, apartment or building) to someone and they fail to pay their rent, you must first give them written notice of the delinquent payment and 10-day notice to vacate the property. NOTE: If they have a year-to-year written lease you must give them a 30-day notice to vacate. If they fail to vacate during the noted time period, you then go to the Clerk of Superior Court and apply for a summons to evict them. This paper will be served on them and a court date will be set before a magistrate in about 10 days. On that date the magistrate will hear the case and rule. If the magistrate rules in your favor, the defendant will have 10 days in which to appeal. After the 10 days, you then go back to the Clerk of Superior Court to apply for the actual eviction by the sheriff, and this date will be set up within seven days. On eviction day, you will have the option to either move the defendant and their property out of your building OR padlock the property, both at your expense; in which case, the defendant will have the right to coordinate a time and date with you to return and remove the property. As you see, this is a time consuming process that can take several weeks and will cost you court fees for each paper you have issued. This is why all landlords should get at least one month’s rent in advance.
5. How do I get off jury duty?
The notices of jury service are mailed from the Sheriff’s Office but all correspondents must go through the Clerk of Superior Court. To qualify to serve on a jury you must meet these basic elements: 1) Be a resident of Anson County; 2) Be at least 18 years old but you may be excused if you are 72 or older (your legislature changed that from 65); and NOT have served on a jury (state or federal) in the past two years. There is an address and telephone number on the back of the Jury Summons to contact the Clerk of Superior Court’s Office if you are not qualified or if you have a medical reason that may prevent you from serving. The judge has the discretion to excuse or reschedule your jury service to another time if it creates undue hardship on you or your family. Remember, jury duty is an important part of the Justice System and you have a constitutional duty to serve.
6. How much does a police report cost from the Sheriff’s Office office?
We do not charge citizens for police reports. We do charge insurance companies $5.
7. Does the Sheriff’s Office do fingerprints for job applicants?
Yes. We do them on Thursdays 2–4:30 p.m. The cost is $10. The employer must furnish you with the fingerprint card. Some companies have already contracted with private providers to perform this task and you should go where they direct you.
8. Can I get a copy of my driving record (criminal record) from the Sheriff’s Office?
No. We can pull up on our computers a copy of your driving record and criminal record and can print them for our use, but we are not allowed to give them out to the public, or even give you a copy of your own record. However, you can get a copy of your criminal record from the Clerk of Superior Court. You can get a copy of your driving record from the N.C. Department of Motor Vehicles in Raleigh. You can call the DMV at 919-861-3015 to ask about this process.
9. If my driver’s license, tag or inspection sticker expires, do I have a 15-day “grace period” to get them renewed?
For the driver’s license and inspection sticker, when expired, they are expired and you are driving illegally. When your tag expires at the end of the month, you do have until the 15th of the following month to get a new tag sticker. But that date is always on your registration card.
10. If I don’t like what the sheriff tells me, who is his boss and who can I go to?
The sheriff is an elected official and reports only to the voters. The county manager or county commissioners are not his boss. The sheriff is the most powerful elected office in the county. The buck stops with the sheriff.
NOTE: Some of these answers are summaries and other issues may apply. Always feel free to ask if you have a question.