Mecklenburg Co. Sheriff’s Office gives update on concealed carry permits after lawsuit
Gun rights groups and Charlotte-area gun owners sued Mecklenburg County Sheriff Garry McFadden late last year.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) – The Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Office continues to wait on mental health facilities to return the releases needed to process concealed carry permits, department officials said.
This update on the MCSO’s permitting process comes after gun rights groups and Charlotte-area gun owners sued Mecklenburg County Sheriff Garry McFadden late last year.
They say McFadden has purposely delayed concealed carry permits for months and even years while waiting on mental health records from the veterans’ administration, regardless of if the applicant is a veteran.
According to the department’s Wednesday update, the MCSO has received 4,933 releases for approximately 110 days of releases from Veterans Affairs, covering the time period between Oct. 22, 2022 and Jan. 31, 2023.
Department officials said that since Oct. 24, 2022, the MCSO has processed over 6,200 applications to meet the demand and it continues to work to process applications as soon as possible.
“MCSO has found that not everyone discloses their military status on their application, so to be certain we are getting accurate information, the process is to check everyone through the same facilities. This process has been in place since 1996,” a statement from the sheriff’s office read, in part.
MCSO officials noted there is no state requirement for mental health facilities to return the required releases needed to process permit applications in a timely manner.
North Carolina’s concealed carry law requires a county sheriff to approve or deny any application within 45 days.
Right after that 45-day requirement to approve or deny applications, the state’s concealed carry law says, “and receipt of the required records concerning the mental health or capacity of the applicant.”
The plaintiffs in that lawsuit and other applicants argued that other counties just check local mental health records and issue the permits within 45 days. They filed suit for equal justice under the law.
The sheriff has been sued for slow-rolling concealed carry permits before, and under a consent decree, his office agreed to more quickly process fingerprint background checks.
Back in November, McFadden said that he’s pro-second amendment and not against people having concealed carry permits.
The sheriff said it takes longer to get a permit in Mecklenburg County than it does in other N.C. counties, “because we’re the largest.”
“We’re 1.1 million. Other counties could be 200,000. So, our volume is much more than theirs,” McFadden previously said.
He added the sheriff’s office has 45 days after it receives the medical records to process applications.
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