Sheriff Gerald Baker Allowed To Slow Walk Permits

Wake County Superior Court Judge Bryan Collins has denied Grass Roots North Carolina’s lawsuit motion for temporary restraining order against Wake Sheriff Gerald Baker over dragging his feet on the processing of pistol purchase and concealed handgun permits. The law states that the sheriff must issue pistol purchase permits within 14 days but Baker’s office has been taking much longer.

From CBS17 in Raleigh:

Superior Court Judge Bryan Collins wrote that the sheriff’s office continues to insure that permits are properly processed to prevent convicted felons and other non-qualified persons from obtaining handguns, while also complying with Gov. Roy Cooper’s executive orders concerning the pandemic, a release from the sheriff’s office said.

The court also said that the manner in which the sheriff’s office processes applications for the permits was not unreasonable.

“I’m very pleased with ruling rendered by Judge Collins,” Baker said in the release. “As I’ve stated before, I will continue to ensure and protect the Second Amendment rights of all qualified citizens, while continuing to protect the safety and welfare of my staff, Wake County citizens and the jail residents housed in the Wake County Public Safety Center, during this pandemic.”

If this judge rings a bell in your memory, it is because he is the same judge who tried to strike down voter-passed amendments to the North Carolina constitution that mandated voter-ID and capped the income tax. Collins argument was that both constitutional amendments were invalid because the General Assembly was gerrymandered. Interestingly, he did not declare that every other law passed by the General Assembly was similarly invalid.

The North Carolina Court of Appeals overturned this ruling in September. That decision concluded:

We conclude that the superior court erred in holding that our General
Assembly lost its power granted by our state constitution, while retaining other powers, simply because a federal court had determined that the maps contained too many majority-minority districts, such that some members elected to that body were from districts that were illegally gerrymandered based on race. It is simply beyond our power to thwart the otherwise lawful exercise of constitutional power by our legislative branch to pass bills proposing amendments. Accordingly, we reverse the order of the superior court and declare the challenged constitutional amendments duly ratified by the people to be valid.

One other note here – Judge Bryan Collins is the husband of NC Appeals Court Judge Allegra Collins who was elected in 2018. I would presume the judicial ethics would force her to recuse herself from any case decided by her husband.

More on the Baker case here.

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