A federal lawsuit has been filed against a sheriff in North Carolina, alleging he has intentionally delayed issuing concealed carry permits and gun purchasing permits, and it is not the first go-round for the sheriff or the plaintiffs.
Grassroots North Carolina (GRNC) and Gun Owners of America, along with three private citizens, filed their complaint in U.S. District Court for the Western District of North Carolina. The defendant is Mecklenburg County Sheriff Garry McFadden.
According to a news release from GRNC, last year they and GOA sued McFadden over delays in processing permit applications and won a preliminary injunction. This past June, the court issued a consent order requiring the sheriff to process purchase permit applications within 14 calendar days, and take fingerprints on the same day a citizen applies for a concealed carry permit. The sheriff then has 45 calendar days and receipt of mental health records to issue or deny the application.
But now, the gun rights groups are alleging continuing delays for carry permit applications while there have been no delays in the state’s other counties.
According to WCNC News in Charlotte, the plaintiffs allege McFadden of delaying carry permits for as long as a year.
Andrew Stevens, a spokesman for GRNC, told WCNC, “Ninety-nine sheriffs in the state of North Carolina can conduct these checks correctly, properly without having to send anything to the VA.”
The sheriff’s department issued a statement to the station: “We have also found that not everyone discloses their military status on their application, so to be sure we are getting accurate information our process is to check everyone through the same facilities.”
WCNC checked with three neighboring counties—Gaston, Rowan and Iredell—finding different responses regarding the process time for permits. In Rowan County, the process reportedly takes “three-to-four weeks from the application date, including the background checks, approval or denial of the application, and then receiving the permit from Raleigh for issuance to the applicant.” In Gaston County, the sheriff’s office said “the turnaround time is about 10-12 weeks.”
In a prepared statement, GRNC President Paul Valone said, “Despite a consent order requiring him to obey North Carolina law, Sheriff Garry McFadden appears to be deliberately delaying and obstructing concealed handgun permit applications by flooding the Veterans Administration with records requests, even for applicants who never served in the military.
“McFadden seems to think he can play a game of ‘Whac-A-Mole’ in which we win an injunction and consent order requiring him to issue handgun permits in compliance with North Carolina law, only to have him exploit yet another abusive interpretation of the law,” Valone added.
“But McFadden is mistaken. As we have said previously, Grass Roots North Carolina and Gun Owners of America will file as many lawsuits as necessary to ensure that this sheriff and other sheriffs comply with the law.”