Concealed Carry Delays Still Hampering Self-Defense

Photo Courtesy of the National Shooting Sports Foundation

While most of our coverage about the lengthy delays for concealed carry licenses has focused on Illinois, where the state police have a backlog of thousands of applications and applicants themselves are waiting six months or more before they finally receive their license to carry, the sad fact is that these kinds of delays aren’t limited to just one state. Across the country tens of thousands of gun owners are being forced to wait in a bureaucratic limbo for months on end before they can exercise their right to bear arms, and many of them are getting fed up.

At a recent meeting of the Guilford County, North Carolina board of commissioners, a woman named Marcia Cain recently detailed how she’s been waiting for almost a year for the county sheriff to approve her carry license application.

“The reason why I am coming here today is to inquire about delays in receiving my concealed carry license in Guilford County,” she told the nine-member board as one of the first in-person public speakers from the floor since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

She said she took her concealed carry class on July 25 of 2020, scheduled an appointment for September but then was told the earliest appointment would be in December.  In December of 2020, she attended the meeting and filled out all the necessary documentation.

Four months later, on April 12, Cain said, she inquired about the holdup and was told that the department was waiting on the results of her background checks.  She asked who she could talk to about the extended delay and was informed that the Guilford County Board of Commissioners was an option.

“Here I am mid-May and I still haven’t gotten anything,” she said, adding that it was now two months shy of a year since she’d begun the application process.

“I understand we have been dealing with a pandemic,” she said, but she reiterated that taking almost a year to allow citizens to protect themselves was outlandish.

Cain said she’d also spoken with people from her class and other permit applicants, and she had found out many of them had been waiting a very long time.

“It’s not just me,” she said. “There are hundreds of others waiting.”

It’s not outlandish. It’s outrageous, and I’d argue that it’s a violation of Cain’s constitutional rights as well.

North Carolina is a “shall issue” state when it comes to carry licenses, meaning that if the applicant passes a background check and has gone through the required training, she should be approved. While demand for concealed carry licenses have spiked over the past year, there’s simply no reason why it should take the local sheriff nearly a year to approve Cain’s application. The fact that many others have been waiting just as long is clear evidence that the current system is broken.

Frankly, the delays that Cain and others are facing are a good argument in favor of Constitutional Carry. If the state can’t uphold its part of the licensing system by processing applications in a timely fashion, why should individual citizens and responsible gun owners like Marcia Cain be the ones to suffer the consequences? North Carolina lawmakers have taken steps to axe its Jim Crow-era pistol purchase permitting law, which is a good sign, but with folks like Marcia Cain and thousands of others around the state being denied their right to bear arms as well, it’s time for legislators to take substantive steps to ensure that these delays are addressed and resolved.