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Long Wait for Gun Permits

According to the Mecklenburg Sheriff’s Office and numerous other sources, the sheriff’s office is behind in issuing new Pistol Purchase Permits. WFAE.org states that a new law was put into affect on December 1, 2015 that requires officials to approve or deny Pistol Purchase Permits within fourteen days of the request. This law also required authorities to check mental health records for everyone attempting to acquire a permit to purchase a gun. Before the law was put into affect, the Mecklenburg County Clerk of Court’s Office only had to check the medical records for those who had applied for the North Carolina issued Concealed Handgun Permit, not the Pistol Purchase Permit. This new law means that more work will have to be accomplished by the employees in the clerk’s office before they can issue the permit. In addition, they now have to abide by this new fourteen-day guideline. One major issue, due to this, is that the clerk’s office doesn’t have any more staff now than they did before. This means it will take them longer to issue the pistol purchase permits than it did before causing a huge delay.

Another issue is the influx of new permit applications. Following the terrorist attack in San Bernardino, California on December 2, 2015, many people were left feeling like their families where in danger. In an attempt to feel safer the public fled to the stores to purchase handguns and other weapons. In order to purchase a gun in North Carolina, you must either have a North Carolina issued Concealed Handgun Permit or a Pistol Purchase Permit. The Pistol Purchase Permit is the much quicker and cheaper option. The Concealed Handgun Permit is a completely different process that takes much more time.

During the past year, the number of Pistol Purchase Permit applications averaged 130 per month. Then in December, after the San Bernardino shooting, the Sheriff’s office was flooded by over 2,000 applications for permits. In January, there were over 2,500 applications submitted. Currently, the sheriff’s office is waiting for the clerk’s office to complete the mental health background check for over 2,500 applications.

Mecklenburg Sheriff Irwin Carmichael had decided to ‘err’ on the side of safety and break the fourteen-day rule for the benefit of the community. He rather there be a delay than have the sheriff’s office issue Pistol Purchase Permits to people without a complete mental health background check.

In order to acquire a Pistol Purchase Permit, you must be a citizen, a naturalized citizen or a resident alien. You also must have lived in Mecklenburg County for at least one month or thirty days. In addition, you must be twenty-one years old to acquire either the concealed carry permit or the Pistol Purchase Permit. However, you can still apply to acquire a restricted permit if you are between the ages of eighteen and twenty years old.

Before you go to the Mecklenburg Sheriff’s office, it is best if you call and set up an appointment. The Sheriff’s office asks that when you go, “provide a valid driver’s license or other picture ID with current address provided by the State of North Carolina.”

If you are interested in applying for a Pistol Purchase Permit click here .