RALEIGH — A North Carolina Superior Court judge issued a preliminary injunction on May 3 enjoining the Mecklenburg County Sheriff Garry McFadden from further delays related to pistol permits.
The preliminary injunction issued by Judge Karen Eady-Williams is in response to a lawsuit filed by Grass Roots North Carolina (GRNC) and Gun Owners of America (GOA).
Eady-Williams’ order stipulates McFadden must process pistol purchase permit within the 14 days required by North Carolina law and concealed carry permit applications within the 45 days as required by state statute.
Additionally, McFadden’s office must request mental health records to process concealed handgun applications within the state law requirement of 10 days and to process fingerprints for concealed carry applicants within five business day.
GRNC said that their organization has received complaints for years from Mecklenburg County residents about unlawful delays related to pistol and concealed handgun permits. Those complaints led to a lawsuit being filed in August 2021. GRNC and GOA’s complaint alleged that McFadden’s office was taking up to six months to schedule appointments for permits and up to an additional six months to process permit applications.
“We believe this order sends a clear message to sheriffs in Guilford, Mecklenburg and Wake counties, among others, that obstructing lawful citizens from exercising the right to keep and bear arms will no longer be tolerated,” said GRNC President Paul Valone in a statement. “To ensure compliance by a sheriff who has so far dragged his feet, Grass Roots North Carolina advises anyone whose fingerprints are not taken with five business days of completing a concealed handgun application to contact us immediately.”
In August 2021, the same month GRNC sued McFadden, a federal judge ordered Wake County Sheriff Gerald Baker to pay over $26,000 to the plaintiffs in a pistol permit delay case originally filed in April of 2020. The Second Amendment Foundation (SAF), Firearms Policy Coalition (FPC) and GRNC filed the suit along with Kelly Stafford, a member of GRNC and a Wake County resident who has been denied a permit by Baker.
Late last August, Gov. Roy Cooper issued his 60th veto on a bill that would have eliminated the permit process for sheriff departments. The legislation vetoed by Cooper was House Bill 398, which had the backing of the N.C. Sheriffs’ Association. At the time, the associations General Counsel Eddie Caldwell said, “The sheriffs feel like it was a very valuable system that has just outlived its use.”