Pistol permit applicants in Montgomery County will no longer be required to attend previously mandatory “paperwork classes” that explained the process of filling out the permit forms.
The county will still require applicants to take a handgun safety course that covers state laws and proper handling of weapons but dropped the paperwork class after updating and clarifying the process on its website.
Montgomery County Sheriff Jeff Smith on Thursday announced the change and said the last paperwork classes were held this week. He said he and Judge Felix Catena, who authorizes the pistol permits for county residents, agreed the paperwork class was no longer needed.
The county had previously only required the paperwork course but in 2019 added a requirement that applicants also take a safety course through an NRA-certified gun safety instructor, Smith said.
Smith said his office had received feedback that it was difficult to make both classes; the paperwork class also had to be staffed by a sheriff’s deputy who could otherwise work on patrol duty. He said the information provided through the paperwork class could be communicated on the website or by having people call to get questions answered. Smith said the safety class remains an important requirement.
“All gun owners are appreciative of that because it creates responsible gun owners,” Smith said of the safety course. “We have now eliminated the paperwork class only.”
Smith said the change in course requirements does not diminish the standards applicants must meet to qualify for a pistol permit.
“It’s not loosening any requirement and it’s not making it easier at all,” Smith said. “It’s just changing the way you do the paperwork. No requirements have been changed at all in terms of safety and the appropriateness of training.”
The sheriff’s office processes the permit paperwork and conducts background checks, and Judge Catena approves the permits. Any questions regarding the paperwork can be directed to 518-853-5515.