In many states, there are firm limits on how long a county can take to issue a permit. These limits exist for a reason. After all, if an anti-gun county isn’t forced to comply with a given limit, they can drag their feet indefinitely. Time limits for permits mean they’re supposed to step up and do their jobs, even if they don’t want to do it.
However, some counties don’t actually care all that much about the law. They do what they want to do.
As such, people who experience these delays will turn to the courts. That’s precisely what’s happening in Wake County, NC.
Another lawsuit has been filed against Wake County and Sheriff Gerald Baker over gun permits.
Grass Roots North Carolina, a gun rights group, said Wake County and Baker are breaking the law by not issuing gun permits within 14 days.
“Sheriff Baker knows the state specified 14 days for processing those permits and now it’s routinely taking two months,” said Marc Erickson with Grass Roots North Carolina.
Erickson said they’ve been inundated with calls from people frustrated with the amount of time it’s taking to process permits.
“They’re not getting much information back. That’s been a problem for a lot of folks as well. They’re calling, sending emails and not getting anything back,” Kurt Lieberman said.
Lieberman owns Tar River Arms. He said a cabinet in his Wake Forest store is full of guns people have purchased. They’re just waiting on permits to be able to pick them up.
Baker blames concerns over COVID, which has been a convenient scapegoat for many anti-gun officials.
However, a virus doesn’t negate people’s civil liberties. These apparently aren’t even carry permits. These are permits required for possession of a handgun.
In other words, people can’t even buy a handgun and have it on hand. They’re literally sitting and waiting to take possession of their gun. This is during a time when there’s unprecedented demand for firearms.
I get concerns over the virus. I have family with comorbidities that could make COVID a huge problem. However, that doesn’t negate Baker’s responsibilities as sheriff of Wake County. While many of his constituents in Raleigh, NC may not care all that much, a lot of others do. How many lives are in jeopardy right now because of him dragging his feet?
With the lawsuit, it’s probably hoped it will be the spur needed to kick Baker in the proverbial posterior, but I’m actually skeptical. He’s being self-righteous about not issuing the permits. He’s using it to virtue signal. I suspect that he’ll keep pushing this for as long as he can.
Ultimately, it’s up to the people of Wake County to put a permanent end to Baker’s shenanigans. All it will take is a good butt-whooping in an election and the problems start to go away. Unless, of course, they elect someone who cares even less about gun rights.
Of course, this is why preemption is such a big deal for so many gun-rights supporters.
(Edited to add: This is a state law, not a local ordinance, so preemption did nothing to stop it. It’s also a holdover from Jim Crow and needs to die a horrible, fiery death.)