Owning a firearm is a vital second Amendment right every American citizen is entitled to. However, there are laws against carrying firearms in stores, shopping malls, and restaurants. In fact, possessing a concealed weapon in an unauthorized space is a serious crime that can result in either a misdemeanor or felony charge. For this reason, all 50 states have made it possible to obtain a carrying concealed weapon (CCW) permit. In Kern County, it’s possible and highly-recommended to obtain a CCW permit to keep yourself and your loved ones safe. Though, applying for a CCW permit in Kern County can be a daunting task if you don’t know what to do. This guide will outline the complete protocols in applying for a CCW permit in Kern County to ensure that the process is completely pain-free and straightforward.

How Does the Process Work?

In Kern County, there are three main local law enforcement agencies that can issue a CCW permit. These agencies are:

  1. The Bakersfield Police Department
  2. The Shafter Police Department
  3. The Taft Police Department

Each law enforcement agency has their own procedures and regulations for issuing CCW permits. Ultimately, the Kern County sheriff can issue a permit to an individual, regardless where they live in Kern County. In this guide, receiving a CCW permit through the sheriff’s office will be discussed. Before you continue with the process, there are a few things you should keep in mind. The main thing is that your application can either be delayed or denied for these reasons:

  • Lie or Omission – This is a simple way of saying that the sheriff’s office determined that you knowingly lied or accidentally omitted pertinent information on your application. For example, the standard application will ask you to list any arrests you’ve experienced. The definition of an arrest in this instance can be stretched to include a citation before a misdemeanor charge, such as a citation for driving without a license, vandalism, reckless driving, etc. Omitting details you didn’t understand can cause your application to be denied.
  • Failure to Include Authorization Letter from Employer – If your profession was listed as the main reason for obtaining your CCW permit in Kern County, you must include an authorization letter from your employer. If you own a business, you should provide your business license or other documentation proving your ownership.
  • Failure to Include a “Good Cause” – Although there has been some controversy regarding CCW permit applications requiring applicants to list a “good cause” for obtaining the permit, this field must be completed. In this field, don’t just write “self defense” or “2nd Admendment”. Be specific in why you require a CCW permit.
  • Incomplete Application – Clerks will review your application for completeness, but it’s ultimately your responsibility to ensure that your application is completely finished.

Now that these preliminaries have been discussed, here are the steps to receiving a CCW permit in Kern County.

Step #1: Take an Accredited CCW Course

In past years, it was not legally required to take an accredited CCW course before submitting an application. Now, things have changed. On September 26th, 2018, Governor Jerry Brown signed the landmark Assembly Bill No. 2103 to go in effect on January 1st, 2019. This bill mandated applicants to first pass an eight-hour CCW course before completing the application. Also, it requires applicants to show proof of passing a CCW course for each weapon listed on the application. Here are the minimum qualifications in Kern County for passing a CCW course:

The applicant must successfully fire 12 rounds at different distances.

  • 4 rounds must be fired successfully from five yards.
  • 2 rounds must be fired successfully from the gun hand only from five yards.
  • 2 rounds must be fired successfully from the support hand only from five yards.
  • 2 rounds must be fired successfully again from separate hands from seven yards.

The applicant must receive a passing score of at least 75%, missing at a minimum of 3 rounds outside the bottle line of a standard FBI-Q target or a similar target. The amount of time it takes to complete a CCW course can vary. If you’re an experienced shooter, you can complete the course within a month, depending on its length and subjects. Once you’ve passed your CCW course in Kern County, it’s now time to fill out and submit your application.

Step #2: Complete Your CCW Permit Application

Before submitting your application, it’s first important to understand how much the application fees are. Here is the up-to-date pricing for a CCW permit in Kern County:

Type of Permit: Standard 2-Year Judicial 3-Year Reserve 4-Year
Initial Fee (Paid upon submission of your application) $169

($93 DOJ fee, $76 sheriff office fee, and $4 debit/credit card processing fee)

$191 ($115 DOJ fee, $76 sheriff office fee, and $4 debit/credit card processing fee)


$137 ($4debit/credit card processing fee)
Renewal Fee $62 $84 $96
Modification/Dupl-icate Fee $3 $3 $3


Prior to filling out your application, make sure you scan the following documents for submittal:

  • Your driver’s license
  • Two proofs of residency showing your current home address (utility bills, home phone bills, property tax statements, vehicle registration, etc). This won’t be required when you renew, modify, or duplicate a current CCW permit.

Once your documents have been scanned, you can complete the online application on the Kern County Sheriff’s website by clicking here. Remember, the success of your application will hinge on these factors:

  • Your moral character
  • The “good cause” or reason why you’ve applied for a CCW permit
  • Meeting the residency requirements
  • Completion of an accredited CCW permit course

You must also meet the following criteria before applying:

  • The applicant must be a United States citizen or a permanent resident.
  • The applicant must not be on probation of any kind.
  • The applicant must not have any felony convictions and must be able to own a firearm.
  • The applicant must be at least 21 and reside in Kern County.
  • The applicant must not have any arrest or conviction within the last five years.

Step #3: Wait for a Response

According to the Kern County’s Sheriff’s Department, there has been an increased volume of applications. This has resulted in application processing times exceeding more than 90 days. Applications are typically processed in the order they are received. For this reason, there isn’t a definite time period of when your application will be processed. Therefore, wait patiently for a response from the Sheriff’s Department. You will either be informed that your application has been accepted or denied along with a detailed reason for the Sheriff’s Department’s decision. Once you receive your CCW permit in Kern County, stay vigilant. You will be required to complete a training course prior to receiving your permit.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Do you have any questions regarding how to get a CCW permit in Kern County? If so, you can refer to these FAQs for additional insights.

How long does it take to get a CCW in Kern County? 

  • There isn’t a definite time period on when you will receive a CCW permit in Kern County after a successful application. Applications are processed in the order they are received. This means you can wait several weeks and even a few months before receiving your CCW permit in Kern County.

How hard is it to get a CCW in Kern County? 

  • Although all 50 states in the United States have made it possible to receive a CCW permit, it’s not always that simple. Due to controversy surrounding firearms in the United States which has resulted in bipartisan fervor in favor and opposition to the CCW permit, some states have made it extremely difficult to get a CCW permit or downright impossible. In Kern County, however, receiving a CCW permit isn’t as difficult. In fact, the “good cause” you write on your application will be under far less scrutiny in Kern County.

Can you submit a CCW permit application online in Kern County? 

  • You can fill out and submit your CCW permit application in Kern County. You can access the application by clicking here.

What is defined as a good moral character? 

  • An upstanding citizen that abides by the law with integrity is considered to have a good moral character. Practically, applicants who have not been in any trouble with the law can apply for a CCW permit. If you had any prior citations for bad behavior that resulted even in a misdemeanor charge, then you could be denied a CCW permit at the discretion of the Sheriff’s office.

What is a legitimate “good cause”? 

  • The second Amendment never specified that a person should have any sort of cause for owning a firearm, but the current legal situation regarding CCW permits have required applications to specify a “good cause”. There isn’t an exhaustive or definitive list of what a “good cause” can be. Though, it’s recommended that your “good cause” is highly specific and outlines what you plan to use your CCW permit for.