CHARLOTTE, NC -(Ammoland.com)- Mecklenburg County Sheriff and reality TV star Garry McFadden has entered into a Consent Judgement with Grass Roots North Carolina (GRNC), Gun Owners of America (GOA), and Rights Watch International (RWI), along with Mecklenburg County residents David Hodson, Terrance Traylor, and Jordan Gibbs.
The consent order stems from delays in processing pistol purchase permits (PPP) and concealed handgun permits (CHP) by the Sheriff’s Department. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Sheriff’s Department slowed the processing of the two firearms permits to a crawl.
It was taking the Department up to ten months to issue a permit. By North Carolina law, a CHP must be issued within 45 days of the Sheriff’s Department receiving a completed application.
Mecklenburg County Sheriff Garry McFadden claimed the delays were due to the virus. At the end of the pandemic, Sheriff McFadden contended that the Department was hitting its goals in accordance with North Carolina law. Technically the Department was processing applications within 45 days, but it was using a loophole to hit that goal, and the average time for someone to receive a permit was not actually changed.
For an application for a permit to be considered complete, the prospective concealed firearms carrier and prospective gun owners must be fingerprinted by the Sheriff’s office and have mental evaluation paperwork submitted (for a CHP). The Mecklenburg County Sheriff didn’t start the clock on the 45-day period until these two processes were complete. It would take a county resident months to get an appointment for fingerprinting.
It is also believed the Sheriff’s Department would delay requesting mental health records to extend the time it took before the application would be considered “complete.”
Three Charlotte-area residents team up with GRNC and GOA to sue over the delays. The groups believed that the Sheriff’s Department was not in compliance with the law since Sheriff McFadden created an artificial bottleneck to slow down members of the public from getting firearms.
A judge agreed and ruled against the Sheriff, issuing a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) and Preliminary Injunctive Relief. Before the groups could depose Sheriff McFadden, he asked the judge for a delay so the parties could settle the case. A consent order was reached between the parties. A consent order is an agreement between parties and is legally binding.
According to the judgment, all applications for a PPP must be approved or denied within 14 days of the Sheriff’s Department receiving an application, and the permit must be issued immediately once approved. A CHP must be granted or denied by the Sheriff within 45 days of receiving the application and mental health records.
The Sheriff must request mental health records no later than ten days once the gun owner turns in their application. The fingerprinting bottleneck is now resolved. The Sheriff’s Department must fingerprint the applicant the same day they present to the Sheriff’s Office during business hours. Finally, the judge ordered the Sheriff to pay the plaintiffs $7 in nominal damages.
If the Sheriff violates the order, McFadden could be found in contempt of court. The judge then could fine the reality TV star, or in extreme cases, the judge could jail the Sheriff. Since the Consent Judgement went into effect, the Preliminary Injunction is now dissolved.
AmmoLand News reached out to Sheriff McFadden for comment, but our calls were not returned.
About John Crump
John is a NRA instructor and a constitutional activist. John has written about firearms, interviewed people of all walks of life, and on the Constitution. John lives in Northern Virginia with his wife and sons and can be followed on Twitter at @crumpyss, or at www.crumpy.com.