North Carolina Sheriff Sued Over Delayed Pistol Permit Applications

Wake County Sheriff Gerald Baker is delaying pistol permit applications. (Photo: NC Sheriffs’ Association)

If you’re looking for an example of how pistol permitting schemes can be manipulated to indefinitely suspend Second Amendment rights, look no further than Wake County, North Carolina.

Wake County Sheriff Gerald Baker is facing a new lawsuit alleging that the sheriff is unconstitutionally delaying pistol permits beyond the 14-day time frame required by law. In some instances, residents are being forced to wait 30-45 days to obtain their permits.

The suit is being brought by the gun-rights group Grass Roots North Carolina (GRNC) on behalf of several plaintiffs, some of whom hope to become first-time gun owners to defend themselves against recent civil unrest.

“In recent weeks, GRNC’s office has been flooded with complaints from people who want to buy handguns for protection against riots spreading across the country but are unable to do so because Sheriff Gerald Baker refuses to process pistol purchase permits within the 14 days required by law, effectively denying citizens their right to keep and bear arms,” the group said in a press release.

SEE ALSO: New York Suspends Pistol Permitting, Shuts Down Remington in Response to COVID-19

The sheriff argues that the 14-day deadline only starts when an applicant has submitted a medical release form and photo identification. But applicants have been unable to schedule the in-person meeting at which these documents must be submitted.

In addition, GRNC argues that a more reasonable interpretation of the statue would start the countdown when the applicant first submits their online application. The North Carolina statute requires the application to be either accepted or rejected within 14 days “from the date of application.”

“The plain meaning of ‘date of application’ is the date on which an applicant submits an application,” the GRNC states in its suit. “The Wake County Sheriff’s Office, under the direct order of Sheriff Gerald Baker, has adopted a tortured definition of the date of application, allowing it to completely ignore the 14-day limit, flaunting the will of the legislature.”

Sheriff Baker has also argued that the increased interest in firearm ownership during the COVID-19 pandemic has kept his office from processing applications in a timely manner. Local media reports that the sheriff’s office has processed 8,000 more applications between January 1 and July 24 this year than they did last year.

SEE ALSO: Two Broad Daylight Burglars Meet Bloody Ends in North Carolina, Mississippi

But the GRNC is refusing to accept this excuse, calling any delay in the 14-day time period “unconstitutional.”

“The statue does not permit extension of the 14 days due to the number of applicants, a hurricane, civil unrest, a pandemic, or any other condition that makes compliance with the 14 days inconvenient for the Sheriff’s Office,” the group says in its suit.

The GRNC also points out that Sheriff Baker’s office changed its application process on March 25, 2020. Prior to this date, applicants could submit their medical release form and ID online, as residents of other counties currently can.

Now, Baker is forcing residents to submit these documents in person, but they can only visit his office when they have secured a meeting. According to GRNC plaintiffs, that meeting is almost impossible to schedule.

“Sheriff Baker seems to think he is above the law. Grass Roots North Carolina intends to prove otherwise. Since Baker doesn’t seem to be getting the message, we will deliver it loud and clear. We are also holding Wake County responsible for its refusal to stop Baker’s continued malfeasance,” GRNC President Paul Valone said in a statement.

This isn’t the first time Baker has been sued for his refusal to process pistol permit applications. In March, Baker said he would suspend all permit application processing due to the pandemic. A court ruled that he could not suspend all applications, so he agreed to modify the application process to require applicants to submit their final documents during a pre-scheduled meeting.

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About the author: Jordan Michaels has been reviewing firearm-related products for over six years and enjoying them for much longer. With family in Canada, he’s seen first hand how quickly the right to self-defense can be stripped from law-abiding citizens. He escaped that statist paradise at a young age, married a sixth-generation Texan, and currently lives in Tyler. Got a hot tip? Send him an email at

{ 10 comments… add one }
  • LJ April 30, 2022, 6:11 pm

    Took the Mecklenburg sheriff 15 months to approve mine. Renewed 1st week into the allowable 90 day renewal window and then expired for 12 months. Blamed it on covid. Total BS! For one whole year he denied me the right to protect myself by carrying concealed or the ability to purchase a gun.

  • Brian October 22, 2020, 2:33 pm

    Be glad you don’t live in Illinois.
    I have been waiting 9 months for my FOID renewal and CCL.
    Statute says FOID applications are to be processed within 30 days and CCL applications are to be processed with 90 days if fingerprints are submitted, or 120 days without fingerprints.
    The State Police have a lawsuit filed against them for this delayed crap, wonder how I can get my name added as a plaintiff….

  • CK August 9, 2020, 5:44 pm

    So give him a visit at home… At 2 Am, and dressed like antifa…

  • NC_Lib August 7, 2020, 9:50 pm

    As a resident of a different NC county, this is not new. In my county, the sheriff was using the same game to delay conceal permits. He was required by law to approve or deny the applications within 90 days. He could not refue to take an app, and could not delay an answer past 90 days.

    So being anti-gun, his solution was to require appointments to fill out the application. He had one person working to take apps for something like 2 hours twice a week. It was taking 4-6 months just to get an appointment to fill out the application. His statement was almost word for word: “The law only requires how long I have to approve the application, there is no law requiring how long I can wait to receive the application”. It took a similar law suit to get him off his ass.

    But he still would wait until the absolute last minute to approve. I know someone that took 89 days. Go figure.

  • John August 7, 2020, 5:50 pm

    Yet again people simply don’t get it when it comes down to our protected rights. Rights do not come from the government but privileges and regulations do. Until gun owners start learning the law and who it really pertains to, they will never win the gun debate. People need to understand the difference in their political status between being a legal or lawful “person” in law, and being a mere citizen and being one of the people. It’s simple, just read and understand your states’s constitution and see who really has 2A protections. It’s not the so-called residents or citizens, it’s the People and only the People. Google these lawful terms and see for yourself.

    “Where rights by the Constitution are involved, there can be no rule making or legislation which would abrogate them.” Miranda v. Arizona (384 U.S. 436 “The claim and exercise of a Constitutional Right cannot be converted into a crime” Miller v. U.S. (230 F. 486)

    Violating a constitutionally protected RIGHT is a crime, demand that those who do be punished harshly.

  • Bob August 7, 2020, 2:31 pm

    Medical release? If anyone should be required to submit one it’s politicians.

  • mw waters August 7, 2020, 12:56 pm

    The sheriff is an elected official, you get what you vote for..Remember in November!!

    • NC_Lib August 7, 2020, 10:00 pm

      Wake county is about 32% POC, with 22% being black. Since black Americans vote in much higher percentages than any other race, and black voters vote 95%+ for whatever name is on the Democratic ticket, a Democratic candidate is nearly halfway to be elected just on the black vote alone. When the candidate is black, the numbers are even higher.

      Then add to it that Wake county is home to Wake Forest University, NC State University, and at least a half-dozen other 4-year colleges. In short, it is a liberal stronghold in NC. Putting all that together makes it pretty obvious why it is unlikely that a Pro-2A sheriff will ever get elected.

  • Andy August 7, 2020, 8:36 am

    Cross eyed fascist.

  • Blasted Cap August 7, 2020, 7:15 am

    Imagine that. A law enforcement officer that thinks they’re above the law.

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