66-year-old woman, husband play waiting game to get concealed-carry permits

CHARLOTTE — Joyce Upchurch said she doesn’t feel safe in her northeast Charlotte community and decided to get a concealed-carry permit for a gun. However, she said the process has been long.

Upchurch contacted Channel 9 anchor Jonathan Lowe who investigated why it is taking so long for her to get the permit.

“We’ve lived in this neighborhood for quite a while, and it’s just gotten to the point where at night, I just don’t feel quite as safe as I used to,” Upchurch said.

That environment prompted the 66-year-old woman and her husband to take the legal steps necessary to arm themselves.

“I learned how to clean it,” Upchurch said about her gun. “I learned how to take it apart.”

Upchurch said with that knowledge in hand, they were ready to submit their applications to the Mecklenburg County sheriff for their concealed carry permits.

“February, we went through everything,” she said. “Put in our application online.”

She didn’t know that she would be in for quite a wait.

Channel 9 has reported for months on the length of time it’s taking for people, such as Upchurch to get a concealed carry permit.

“The deputy or sheriff, whoever was there that did the fingerprinting, said it would be quite a while,” Upchurch said. “Probably at least six months, if not longer.”

Upchurch completed the next step, which was to get fingerprinted. That happened on April 29.

“We never heard anything after we got our fingerprints done,” Upchurch said.

She said that contradicts an order from a judge in June that required the Mecklenburg County Sheriff to provide same-day fingerprinting and issue or deny permits within 45 days.

“But I’m looking at going on almost six months,” she said. “Where’s my permit?”


Lowe spoke with Sheriff Garry McFadden Tuesday night. The sheriff said many people are not aware that his office is often in the waiting game also for reasons that are out of his control.

“We are at the mercy of the hospitals and these institutions that we have to rely on to fulfill the obligation of actually issuing these concealed carry permits,” McFadden said.

McFadden said that the 45-day countdown doesn’t start until his office receives all of the necessary information.

“The 45 days is, once we receive all of the records back then we have to take a staff member to read through all of your medical records,” he said.

Lowe learned that the sheriff’s office is waiting on the Department of Veterans Affairs to release Upchurch’s records.

Upchurch said that it’s frustrating waiting to arm herself.

“It’s not comfortable,” she said. “It’s not natural, but it’s something that I feel that I can do.”

VA Statement:

“We are experiencing a significant increase in the volume of medical record requests supporting our care for veterans, which is our priority. This has reduced our capacity to process medical correspondence, resulting in longer response times for concealed carry weapon permit requests.”

VIDEO: Supreme Court: ‘proper cause’ needed for concealed carry license is unconstitutional

Jonathan Lowe

Jonathan Lowe, wsoctv.com

Jonathan is a reporter for WSOC-TV.

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