Firearms advocacy group prepares second lawsuit against Mecklenburg sheriff

Mecklenburg Sheriff Garry McFadden
Mecklenburg Sheriff Garry McFadden

RALEIGH — The largest gun rights advocacy group in the state is filing a second lawsuit over continued delays to concealed carry permits against Mecklenburg County Sheriff Garry McFadden. 

GRNC says McFadden appears to be using mental health records requests to delay permit issuance. 

“In apparent defiance of the consent order binding him as the result of our last lawsuit, Sheriff Garry McFadden continues to delay concealed handgun permits up to a year despite a law stipulating permits be issued in 45 days,” GRNC President Paul Valone said in a statement. “Because none of the other 99 North Carolina counties are experiencing similar delays, we have concluded that McFadden appears to be flooding the Veterans Administration with requests for mental health records even for applicants who never served in the military.” 

“A provision in the majority opinion in New York State Rifle & Pistol v. Bruen, which struck down much of that state’s “may issue” concealed handgun law, creates a cause of action even against shall-issue permit systems like North Carolina’s if the issuing authority unduly delays permits,” said Valone. “We believe that to be the case in Mecklenburg County and are preparing litigation on that basis. At this juncture, I am unable to say more.” 

Grass Roots North Carolina (GRNC) has successfully sued McFadden over permit delays in 2021, resulting in a preliminary injunction and consent order issued in May and June of this year respectively.  

The preliminary injunction issued in May by Judge Karen Eady-Williams ordered McFadden to process pistol purchase permit within the 14 days required by state law and concealed carry permit applications within the 45 days as required by state statute. Additionally, McFadden’s office was directed to 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.   

The June 2022 consent order requires McFadden to comply with state law that says pistol permit purchase applications have to be processed within 14 days, fingerprinting for concealed carry permits must be done the same day the application is made, and all requests for mental health records for concealed handgun applicants must follow state law and be done within 10 calendar days of receiving the application. 

The consent order also directs McFadden to either issue or deny a concealed carry application within 45 days after receiving the application and mental health records. The order specifically states that McFadden “shall not otherwise violate or fail to comply with” state laws governing the issuance of pistol purchase and concealed carry permits. 

McFadden is not the only sheriff to be successfully sued by GRNC over permit delays.  

In August 2021, the same month GRNC first 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. 

About A.P. Dillon 1211 Articles
A.P. Dillon is a North State Journal reporter located near Raleigh, North Carolina. Find her on Twitter: @APDillon_