I’ve seen it stated repeatedly that the NC Sheriffs’ Association’s opposition to removing the Pistol Purchase Permit system is about revenue for the department. I find this claim difficult to believe because they derive so very little money from the permits, especially compared to the manpower required to actually run the system. To put it in perspective, it costs about the same to get a PPP requiring a state-level background check and a Federal NICS check as it does to get a hamburger, fries, and a drink.
But let’s go to the hard numbers. Using Wake County as an example of a typical NC county sheriff, we find in their Annual Report (last produced in 2010) the following:
Each Pistol Permit costs $5.00 and is valid for 5 years. In FY 2010, the Sheriff’s Office issued 15,309 Pistol Permits. This number has declined from last year’s all-time high of 20,768 Pistol Permits.
Obviously, spurred by the first Obama panic, 2009 was an exceptional year for gun sales as well as PPPs. But let’s take even that outlier data point. 20,768 PPPs issued for $5 each, for an annual revenue of $103,840. From earlier in the report, we see the 2009 budget was some $62.7 million dollars. Thus, the money from the pistol purchase permits constitutes 0.17% of the annual budget of the Wake County Sheriff’s Office. Less than two tenths of a percent of their annual operating money.
This isn’t about revenue. It’s about control.