Mecklenburg County Sheriff Sued Again Over Handgun Permits, Tax Dollars Wasted

Mecklenburg County Sheriff Garry McFadden Twitter
Mecklenburg County Sheriff Garry McFadden’s Twitter

North Carolina –( Grass Roots North Carolina, Gun Owners of America, and Mecklenburg residents file a second suit over obstructionism by North Carolina Sheriff Garry McFadden

Grass Roots North Carolina (GRNC) and Gun Owners of America (GOA), together with three Mecklenburg County residents, are filing suit and a request for injunctive relief against Mecklenburg County Sheriff Gary McFadden over McFadden’s refusal to issue North Carolina pistol purchase permits and concealed handgun permits as required by law.


In 2021, GOA and GRNC filed suit against McFadden over delays in processing applications for both pistol purchase permits (PPPs) and concealed handgun permits (CHPs). The organizations won a preliminary injunction and then a June 8, 2022 consent order requiring McFadden to:

  1. Process NC pistol purchase permit applications within the 14 calendar days required by law, and issue permits to qualified applicants immediately as required under G.S. 14-404(f).
  2. Take fingerprints on the same day that a concealed handgun applicant presents at the sheriff’s office for fingerprinting.
  3. Make all requests for mental health records for concealed handgun applicants within 10 calendar days of receiving the application, as required by G.S. 14-415.15(a).
  4. Issue or deny concealed handgun applications within 45 calendar days and receipt of mental health records, as required by G.S. 14-415(a).
  5. The order also enjoins McFadden from otherwise violating state law with respect to issuing pistol purchase permits and concealed handgun permits.

McFadden’s Continuing Obstructionism

Unfortunately, recent complaints from Mecklenburg County concealed handgun permit applicants have revealed:

  • Continuing delays of more than 1 year for concealed handgun permit applications despite state law requiring permits required to be issued in 45 days.
  • No delays in NC’s other 99 counties: Reports CHP application delays are now coming only from Mecklenburg County, not from any of the state’s other 99 counties.
  • McFadden is exploiting a loophole in NC law:
    • § 14-415.12 requires CHP applicants not “suffer from a physical or mental infirmity that prevents the safe handling of a handgun.”
    • § 14-415.15 (a) says: “within 45 days after receipt of the items listed in G.S. 14-415.13 from an applicant, and receipt of the required records concerning the mental health or capacity of the applicant, the sheriff shall either issue or deny the permit.”
    • Although the statute does not stipulate what inquiries are required or permitted, normal practice is for sheriffs to submit requests to, at most, local mental health facilities.
    • Unlike other sheriffs, McFadden is flooding the Veterans’ Administration (VA) with record requests not only for military veterans but for ALL concealed handgun permit applicants, including those who never served in the military, creating a backlog at the VA which is, in any case, under no obligation to provide background check services for non-veterans.
    • McFadden is misinterpreting § 14-415.15 (a) by falsely claiming that he has 45 days AFTER receipt of mental health records to process applications even though the statute clearly says 45 days AND receipt of mental health records.

Lawsuit details

  • The complaint and request for injunctive relief is being made in the U.S. District Court For The Western District Of North Carolina.
  • The complaint alleges a violation of both the Second and Fourteenth Amendments;
  • Among specifics of the complaint:
    • CHP delays arise from McFadden’s decision to make numerous irrelevant mental health records requests to the VA.
      Other sheriffs are able to issue or deny all CHP applications within the statutory 45-day window, yet McFadden is dragging out application processing for more than a year.
    • The complaint cites the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision in N.Y. State Rifle & Pistol Ass’n v. Bruen, alleging mental health checks are being used as “abusive ends,” namely “lengthy wait times in processing licensing applications,” which “deny citizens their right to public carry.”
    • Records requests to the VA are redundant, since under the “NICS Improvement Act of 2007,” the VA is required to report mental health disqualifications to the National Instant Background Check system, which state law requires sheriffs to access when processing applications.

Said GRNC president Paul Valone:

“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.

“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.

“With our legal hand strengthened by the recent Supreme Court decision in NY State Rifle & Pistol Assoc. v. Bruen, we have a strong position to win this suit, meaning McFadden’s obstructionism serves only to unfairly burden the taxpayers of Mecklenburg County with the costs of pointless litigation.”

Founded in 1994, Grass Roots North Carolina is an all-volunteer 501(c)(4) organization dedicated to preserving individual liberties guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights with emphasis on the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms.

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So why hasn’t the governor given him the ultimatum. Either follow the law or find yourself tossing burgers at burger king.


A Sherriff in NC is elected by the people. Our Governor is a POS DemonRat (Cooper) who probably has coached this low life how to delay and obfuscate. This guy is no different than the POS we have in Guilford County, NC. Ours was doing the same thing until somebody threatened him with the same type of lawsuit. Heck, ours was doing it with renewals. The VA down here (regional offices) are populated with a multitude of BLM/Antifa Activists- especially the mental health divisions. A few of the big city populated county Sheriffs used the COVID-19 garbage to deny people… Read more »


Can Representative Mark Robinson move to Maryland and become our Governor? Unlike the current WISHY-WASHY one we now are stuck with!!!


Wildman, I thought NC had a Republican Governor. I was off by a mile on that.


To 3percenter. I got your email but it is not posted on the board. This is the second or third time I have seen this happen.