in the Court of Appeals 24 January 2018.
by petitioner from order entered 28 April 2017 by Judge Regan
A. Miller in Mecklenburg County No. 17 CVD 3949 District
Redding Jones, PLLC, by Ty Kimmell McTier and David G.
Redding, for petitioner-appellant.
Bond Cobb Wade & Bethune, LLP, by Ronald L. Gibson, for
issue presented is whether the due process clause of the
Fourteenth Amendment requires that the applicant be afforded
an opportunity for an evidentiary hearing to contest the
denial of his application for renewal of a Concealed Handgun
Permit pursuant to N.C. Gen. Stat. § 14-415.12(a)(3). We
conclude that it does.
September 2016, Petitioner Daniel Ryan DeBruhl submitted an
application for the renewal of his Concealed Handgun Permit
to the Mecklenburg County Sheriff's Office. A veteran of
the United States military, Petitioner had maintained a
Concealed Handgun Permit for ten years prior to submitting
his renewal application. The Sheriff's Office issued a
perfunctory denial of Petitioner's application for
renewal on 14 December 2016, without notice of the nature of
or basis for the denial or any opportunity for Petitioner to
be heard on the allegations against him.
communication that advised Petitioner of the denial contained
the following information:
It is found that your actions for the following constitute a
violation of the provisions set forth in the North Carolina
General Statute 14-415.12 for the possession of a concealed
Your application for a concealed handgun permit has been
denied for the following reasons:
[ N.C. Gen. Stat. §] 14-415.12(a) - Does not meet the
requirements for application
[ N.C. Gen. Stat. §] 14-415.12(b)(1) - Ineligible to
own, possess, or receive firearm under State or Federal Law
YOU ARE DENIED DUE TO INFORMATION RECEIVED FROM VETERANS
appealed the Sheriff's decision to the district court on
6 March 2017, but complained that "there is no way for
Petitioner to know what facts to challenge on appeal"
because of the lack of facts "provided in the
Denial". After "having reviewed [Petitioner's]
criminal background and other relevant information, "
the Honorable Regan A. Miller entered an order "Denying
Appeal For A Concealed Handgun Permit" on 24 April 2017.
In Finding of Fact No. 5, the trial court concluded that the
Sheriff's Office "denied [Petitioner] a Concealed
Handgun Permit because [Petitioner] sought or received mental
health and/or substance abuse treatment in 2016, "
although Petitioner had not previously been adjudicated to be
mentally ill. In Finding of Fact No. 6, the district court
found that Petitioner "suffers from a mental health
disorder that affects his ability to safely handle a
firearm." Based on these findings, the district
court concluded that "[t]he Sheriff's decision was a
reasoned and reasonable decision[, ]" and affirmed the
denial of Petitioner's Concealed Handgun Permit renewal
application. Petitioner was not afforded any opportunity to
be heard on the matter before the court entered its order.
filed notice of appeal to this Court on 30 May 2017. On
appeal, Petitioner argues that "the district court's
finding of fact that petitioner suffers from a mental health
disorder was improper absent a formal adjudicatory hearing
regarding petitioner's mental competency and violates
petitioner's due process rights." In the
alternative, Petitioner argues that the district court's
"application of section N.C. G.S. § 14-415.12(a)(3)
is overbroad, contrary to statutory construction and
encompasses a myriad of protected activities under the Second
Amendment of the United States Constitution."
Petitioner's due process claim dispositive.
North Carolina Statutory Framework
North Carolina, "[a]ny person who has a concealed
handgun permit may carry a concealed handgun unless otherwise
specifically prohibited by law." N.C. Gen. Stat. §
14-415.11(a) (2017). The criteria for obtaining a Concealed
Handgun Permit are set forth in N.C. Gen. Stat. §
14-415.12. A permit is obtained from the local sheriff and
once issued is valid for five years. N.C. Gen. Stat. §
14-415.11(b) (2017). If an individual applies to renew his
Concealed Handgun Permit, the sheriff must determine whether
that individual "remains qualified to hold a permit in
accordance with the provisions of G.S. 14-415.12." N.C.
Gen. Stat. § 14-415.16(c) (2017).
Gen. Stat. § 14-415.12 provides that a sheriff
"shall issue" a Concealed Handgun Permit to an
applicant so long as "the applicant qualifies under the
(a) . . .
(1) The applicant is a citizen of the United States or has
been lawfully admitted for permanent residence . . . and has
been a resident of the State 30 days or longer immediately