(a) The sheriff shall issue a permit to an applicant if the applicant qualifies under the following criteria:
(1) The applicant is a citizen of the United States and has been a resident of the State 30 days or longer immediately preceding the filing of the application.
(2) The applicant is 21 years of age or older.
(3) The applicant does not suffer from a physical or mental infirmity that prevents the safe handling of a handgun.
(4) The applicant has successfully completed an approved firearms safety and training course which involves the actual firing of handguns and instruction in the laws of this State governing the carrying of a concealed handgun and the use of deadly force. The North Carolina Criminal Justice Education and Training Standards Commission shall prepare and publish general guidelines for courses and qualifications of instructors which would satisfy the requirements of this subdivision. An approved course shall be any course which satisfies the requirements of this subdivision and is certified or sponsored by:
a. The North Carolina Criminal Justice Education and Training Standards Commission,
b. The National Rifle Association, or
c. A law enforcement agency, college, private or public institution or organization, or firearms training school, taught by instructors certified by the North Carolina Criminal Justice Education and Training Standards Commission or the National Rifle Association.
Every instructor of an approved course shall file a copy of the firearms course description, outline, and proof of certification annually, or upon modification of the course if more frequently, with the North Carolina Criminal Justice Education and Training Standards Commission.