On yesterday’s Cam & Co we talked about a troubling situation in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, where many folks who’ve submitted their application for a concealed carry license have been waiting for months on end with no sign that their applications are being processed, much less approved. Mecklenburg County Sheriff Garry McFadden has already been sued once by the 2A group Grassroots NC over delays, and earlier this year a judge ordered the sheriff to process the applications in a timely manner, including granting or denying an application within 45 days of “receipt of an application… and receipt of all mental health records.”
McFadden claims that the continued delays in Mecklenburg County are the fault of hospitals, particularly the VA, which has a huge backlog of medical records requests. He can’t process the carry applications until he’s received all of the mental health records, and the VA has yet to submit records from folks who’ve applied as far back as February. Until he gets the paperwork the 45-day window doesn’t officially start, so even though these applicants have been twisting in the wind for well over six months, the problem is out of his control.
Grassroots NC isn’t buying the excuse. The group’s president, Paul Valone, released a statement on Friday morning announcing the organization’s plan to file another lawsuit against the sheriff, who they say is “flooding” the VA with requests for mental health records, even for applicants who’ve 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, adding “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.”
According to Valone, there’s no evidence that sheriffs in any of North Carolina’s 99 other counties have been experiencing the same type of delays that have plagued the Mecklenburg County sheriff’s office. If that’s the case, then McFadden definitely has some explaining to do. I’ve requested additional information from the VA about their delays in handling medical record requests; a delay which the agency acknowledged in a statement to WSCOC reporter Jonathan Lowe earlier this week.
“We are experiencing a significant increase in the volume of medical record requests supporting our care for veterans, which is our priority. This has reduced our capacity to process medical correspondence, resulting in longer response times for concealed carry weapon permit requests.”
The VA delays appear to be real, but that still raises the question of why they would be affecting Mecklenburg County far more than any other. We’ll be talking with Paul Valone about the situation on Monday’s Bearing Arms Cam & Co, and I’m pretty sure that Lowe will have some follow-up questions for the sheriff in light of Grassroots NC’s announcement about their pending lawsuit. Hopefully we can get more information soon, but even more importantly, the individuals who’ve been waiting for months for permission to exercise a constitutional right will finally get access to their right to carry in self-defense.