Sheriff says local background checks may not go far enough - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

Sheriff says local background checks may not go far enough

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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) -

Mecklenburg County Sheriff Chipp Bailey will tell you upfront that he backs the right to bear arms, but gun ownership does have its limits.

"I will not sign a Class III application in Mecklenburg County, and that I won't sign off for somebody to own a machine gun or a silencer, stuff like that, "he said."  I just don't think we need it Mecklenburg County."

The hot button issue over guns in America has provided a  windfall to firearms dealers.

However, in this ramped up sales environment, Bailey says the backgrounds of some owners are falling through the cracks.

"If somebody's from out of county that's moved in here or out of state that's moved in here, "he said." There's no mechanism, there's no statutory authority for us to inquire where they used to live as to whether or not they've had treatment for mental illness or anything like that."

In short, Bailey's hands are tied, when it comes to purchase permits.

"There's not a mandated mechanism for checking for any mental illness. It's easy to check background criminal history. It's not too easy to check the mental background side of it."

Extra staffers are brought in to handle the onslaught of permits, but it's not the legal gun owners he's worried about.

"The criminal element is gonna get their guns regardless of what kind of gun law is passed."

It is gun laws that have created a recent buying blitz, but the sheriff feels the reach of Washington will only go so far.

Sheriff Bailey said," I personally don't think they're gonna take any guns away. I don't think the legislation; the support is there to do that."

Recently, requests for gun permit at the Sheriff's office have skyrocketed from 50 to 60 a day to 200 a day.

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