Second Amendment advocates in North Carolina are fighting to defend their right to carry on multiple fronts, and on today’s Bearing Arms’ Cam & Company we’re getting updates from Grassroots NC’s Paul Valone on two areas of major concern; the lengthy delays in issuing concealed carry permits in the state’s most populous county as well as onerous new rules for firearm instructors that could soon have a chilling effect on the number of trainers and the education they provide.
We kicked off our conversation by discussing the latest in a lawsuit that Grassroots NC and Gun Owners of America brought against the Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Office and Sheriff Garry McFadden challenging the sheriff’s requests for VA mental health records for virtually every applicant, even those who have never served in the military. As you might imagine, the response to these requests has been slow in coming from the VA, and tens of thousands of applicants have been subject to needless and exhausting delays as a result. Last week U.S. District Judge Max O. Cogburn, Jr, dismissed the “facial” challenge to the underlying North Carolina statute McFadden is using to create the bottleneck, but allowed the “as applied” portion of the lawsuit to continue.
… the Court will allow the parties to conduct discovery to determine whether, in applying the statutes, the Sheriff’s practices have resulted in “lengthy wait times in processing license applications or exorbitant fees deny ordinary citizens their right to [obtain permits].” Once the parties have conducted discovery on this issue, the parties may renew their arguments through summary judgment motions.
Valone says he’s looking forward to the discovery process, which he expects will shed some light on McFadden’s decision to request the VA records even when applicants never served in the military. As Valone notes, Mecklenburg County is the only locality in the state experiencing such lengthy delays; an indication that its McFadden’s policies that are having a chilling effect on concealed carry in the county.
While North Carolina gun owners outside of the Charlotte area may not have to worry (at least for now) about getting stuck in a bureaucratic limbo when trying to exercise their right to bear arms, there’s another looming threat that could make it much more difficult to obtain the training required by the state before a carry license will be issued.
Valone says that North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein is taking a page from Joe Biden’s anti-gun playbook by abusing executive branch authority to impose new burdens on gun owners and firearm instructors. Back in late June many instructors received notice in their mailbox from the state’s Criminal Justice Standards Division warning of impending changes that would be implemented in October: requiring instructors to submit a “Pre-Delivery Report” thirty days prior to conducting a concealed carry course, a proposed “Post-Delivery Report” to be sent by instructors that will subject them to more time and paperwork, and a mandate that instructors keep a “roster” of students, including full legal name and contact information, which Valone says represents “an invasion of privacy for students who take the course but do not, for whatever reason, choose to apply for a concealed handgun permit.”
These new regulations are completely unnecessary, and will only serve to reduce the number of trainers and classes available for prospective concealed carry holders. Additionally, Valone believes the Criminal Justice Standards Division jumped the gun (so to speak) by informing instructors that the changes would take place starting in October, even though the proposed regulations have yet to officially be adopted. The first public meeting on the proposed mandates will take place on Wednesday morning in Raleigh, North Carolina, and Valone expects dozens of instructors from across the state to attend and voice their opposition.
If the chorus of critics isn’t enough to derail the proposed changes, Valone says he’s already spoken with state Rep. Keith Kidwell about using the power of the state legislature to block the implementation of the bureaucratic mandates. According to Valone, if just ten lawmakers object to the rules they can be suspended for six months, which he believes will give the Republican supermajority time to undo them completely as well as establish new guardrails that will prevent further abuses from taking place.
Valone and Grassroots NC have been pushing for permitless carry to be adopted by lawmakers as well, and given the anti-carry machinations on the part of public officials like McFadden and Stein it should be abundantly clear to that GOP supermajority that those trying to exercise their right to bear arms are currently subjected to multiple infringements. All these problems disappear if the legislature were to remove the requirement that lawful gun owners obtain a permission slip from the government before exercising a fundamental civil right, but until lawmakers take that step we’re going to continue to see the state’s anti-gun politicians play games with our right to armed self-defense.