RALEIGH — A North Carolina sheriff's office must resume accepting and processing pistol purchase permits within a week, a judge ruled on Tuesday.
Superior Court Judge A. Graham Shirley issued the order, and said Wake County Sheriff Gerald Baker must also modify the application process to minimize the number of people in the justice center, WNCN reported.
Baker temporarily suspended accepting new pistol purchasing permits on March 24. That was two weeks after Gov. Roy Cooper declared a state of emergency in North Carolina and 11 days after President Donald Trump declared the COVID-19 pandemic a national emergency.
According to documents, between March 10 and March 24, the sheriff’s office received applications in “unprecedented numbers” and caused more than 50 people to gather in the Wake County Public Safety Center. That gathering was in violation of March 22 Proclamation of Emergency Restrictions put in place by the Wake County Board of Commissioners.
Baker said his office had 755 pending permits when he made the decision to put things on hold.
A couple of days after Baker suspended accepting permits, a lawsuit was filed against Baker and the sheriff’s office.