People in Guilford County have a right to apply for and get a concealed carry permit for handguns – however, one recent speaker before the Guilford County Board of Commissioners said the delays for doing so are outrageous and she knows many other applicants who are fed up as well.
Marcia Cain, a Burlington woman who applied for her concealed carry permit in Guilford County nearly 11 months ago, came before the Guilford County Board of Commissioners in May and said the current delays in the process are ridiculous.
She said she’s aware that things have slowed down due to the pandemic, but now, as she approaches a year without her request being met, that excuse is wearing very thin.
The permit process is handled by the Guilford County Sheriff’s Department. However, Cain came to speak to the Board of Commissioners, she said, because she was tired of getting the runaround.
“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.”
Cain added that she had been unable to get any straight answers.
She said she’d been told that it was the psychiatric checks and background checks that were taking so long.
“If this is the law, that says you have to do the background checks, why isn’t it more streamlined? Why doesn’t anybody know what’s going on? Why am I waiting almost a year for this? I have waited long enough. I have done everything legally. I have paid. What am I supposed to do?”
Chairman of the Board of Commissioners Skip Alston said that he and other commissioners were aware of the problem.
“We are working on that issue – I can assure you of that,” Alston told her.