GRNC Lawsuit Against Sheriff Baker Makes The News

The lawsuit GRNC has brought against Wake County Sheriff Gerald Baker has caught the attention of local news stations. CBS 17 News of Raleigh did a report yesterday on Moore v. Baker and interviewed Marc Erickson of GRNC. The lawsuit is over Sheriff Baker dragging his feet in the processing of pistol purchase permits. It is taking over 2 months to process them when state law only allows 14 days. Sheriff Baker is still using the tired excuse of “it’s the pandemic”.

As Marc made clear, a right delayed is a right denied. The pistol purchase permit is superfluous given the NICS System but North Carolina sheriffs claim they know people in their county better. That might be true in eastern NC’s Tyrrell County – population 4,016. It certainly is not true in Wake County population 1,111,761. Wake, by the way, has now officially surpassed Mecklenburg as the largest county by population in North Carolina.

GRNC Sues Wake County Sheriff Baker…Again

Grass Roots North Carolina is suing Wake County (NC) Sheriff Gerald Baker again for unlawful delays in issuing pistol purchase permits as well as concealed handgun permits. The suit is filed in Wake County Superior Court. GRNC is the institutional plaintiff while Wanda Kaye Moore is the lead plaintiff. The lawsuit seeks an emergency temporary restraining order preventing Sheriff Baker from causing any more delays.

The Wake County Sheriff’s Department is forcing applicants for a pistol purchase permit to make an appointment to submit their mental health release. They refuse to take it by mail or online even though state law mandates application for these permits be online.

More on this in the release from GRNC:

[Raleigh] In recent weeks, GRNC’s office has been flooded with complaints from people who want to buy handguns for protection against riots spreading across the country but are unable to do so because Sheriff Gerald Baker refuses to process pistol purchase permits within the 14 days required by law, effectively denying citizens their right to keep and bear arms.

Said Grass Roots North Carolina president Paul Valone: 

“In what is now the third lawsuit filed against Wake County Sheriff Gerald Baker over his refusal to follow state law regarding issuing handgun permits, Grass Roots North Carolina intends to ensure citizens’ rights are respected. Sheriff Baker seems to think he is above the law. Grass Roots North Carolina intends to prove otherwise. Since Baker doesn’t seem to be getting the message, we will deliver it loud and clear. We are also holding Wake County responsible for its refusal to stop Baker’s continued malfeasance.”

Link to suit: https://www.grnc.org/baker_complaint 

In response to GRNC’s notice of non-compliance, sent to Baker’s counsel on July 15, attorney Nick Ellis claimed that Baker is doing an “excellent” job of processing pistol purchase permit applications, despite the fact that:

  • Baker is clearly violating G.S. §14-404(f): The statute requires sheriffs to issue or deny NC pistol purchase permits in 14 days, further stipulating that applications may only be denied or statutorily permissible reasons. In truth, applications, if they are being processed at all, are taking nearly two months
  • Baker is trying to circumvent state law by arguing that the requisite 14 day issuing period doesn’t start until his office decides to allow a citizen to come in to his office to finish the application begun online, effectively claiming the power to deny citizens’ rights indefinitely.
  • North Carolinians are being denied their rights: It is unlawful for citizens to buy handguns without either a pistol purchase permit or concealed handgun permit from their county of residence, meaning that Baker’s actions are denying citizens’ rights not only to keep and bear arms, but to protect their families at a time of national crisis when personal safety is very much in question.
  • Reports indicate the Wake County Sheriff is non-responsive: Email queries on permit applications are reportedly being ignored as phone calls to the department go unanswered. Reports also suggest that Baker has limited the number of hours during which Wake County sheriff’s employees may process applications, as department representatives have become hostile to frustrated applicants.
  • Baker may be thumbing his nose at the law: Despite a consent decree requiring him to issue handgun permits, Baker appears to be dragging his feet in order to issue the minimum possible number of permits, clearly defying the decree.
  • Wake County may be liable: Under the Supreme Court decision in Monell v. Department of Soc. Svcs., Wake County may also be liable for its refusal to stop Baker’s malfeasance. 

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

HB 652 Needs Support In NC

NC House Bill 652 would expand the ability to carry in churches. I hardly need to mention that churches have been the targets of the evil and the deranged. Needless to say but North Carolinians Against Gun Violence (sic) is adamantly against this bill if the emails I’ve received are any indication.

From NCGV:

“We oppose H652. It circumvents state policy outlawing concealed carry of firearms on school grounds and would put school children at more risk of gun violence,” said NCGV Executive Director Becky Ceartas. “State law applies to both public and private school property and makes no exception for schools owned and operated by places of worship for a simple reason: it endangers school children. 

“The fact that weapons would be allowed at the place of worship with schools but not at the associated school itself on the same property practically amounts to a distinction without a difference,” Ceartas added.

According to their email they are also opposed to making it easier for EMTs to legally carry. Don’t EMT lives matter?

Grass Roots North Carolina sent out an alert on this bill yesterday evening.

We need you to call NC House and urge them to support HOUSE BILL 652
We know that having citizens carrying in churches and other gatherings have saved countless lives.
HOUSE BILL 652 will expand the ability to carry in Churches; this is why it is critical that you call NC House Republicans to bolster their support for this important piece of legislation.
New Life Church, Colorado Springs First Baptist Church, Sutherland Springs West Freeway Church of Christ, White Settlement
What do all of these have in common?
They are three of the legion of examples of ordinary citizens stopping a mass murderer and saving countless lives.   Three of the millions of cases where guns have saved lives.
The left likes to pretend to be against gun violence and for ‘gun safety’.   So, they should also support this bill. [Pause for Laughter]
This is an important step for preserving liberty and true gun safety, we need you to voice your support of this life of death issue.

IMMEDIATE ACTION REQUIRED!
Unfortunately, we don’t live in the wondrous ‘Utopia’ of the liberty grabber left, where unicorns prance over rainbows and mass murderers are stopped by absurd rules that only disarm the innocent.
This is why you must urge NC House Republicans to support this life saving legislation.  EMAIL NC HOUSE REPUBLICANS: Tell them clearly that they need to support this important piece of legislation.
The shooting at New Life Church, First Baptist Church, and West Freeway Church of Christ prove that only a good guy or gal with a gun can stop those bent on pure evil.  Liberty free [gun free] zones only disarm the innocent when seconds count and law enforcement is minutes away.

Use the copy and paste addresses below.
PHONE REPUBLICAN LEADERSHIP & YOUR GOP REP: Urge them to support this important piece of legislation that will ensure our safety.


PHONE MESSAGE:

My name is ______ and I’m calling to urge you to support HOUSE BILL 652, Expanding our common sense human right of self-defense in places of worship.  The recent past has shown that mere signs or rules will not stop evil men bent on mass murder. 

Armed citizens are the only way to ensure our safety in these situations.  I expect you to live up to your principles and I urge you to support this critical piece of legislation.

CONTACT INFO  NC House:  
Dean.Arp@ncleg.net;Kristin.Baker@ncleg.net;  Lisa.Barnes@ncleg.net;John.Bell@ncleg.net;Hugh.Blackwell@ncleg.net; Jamie.Boles@ncleg.net;William.Brisson@ncleg.net;Mark.Brody@ncleg.net; Dana.Bumgardner@ncleg.net;Jerry.Carter@ncleg.net; Debra.Conrad@ncleg.net;Kevin.Corbin@ncleg.net;Ted.Davis@ncleg.net; Jimmy.Dixon@ncleg.net;Josh.Dobson@ncleg.net;Jeffrey.Elmore@ncleg.net; John.Faircloth@ncleg.net;John.Fraley@ncleg.net;Edward.Goodwin@ncleg.net; Holly.Grange@ncleg.net;Destin.Hall@ncleg.net;Kyle.Hall@ncleg.net; Bobby.Hanig@ncleg.net;Jon.Hardister@ncleg.net;Kelly.Hastings@ncleg.net; Craig.Horn@ncleg.net;Julia.Howard@ncleg.net;Chris.Humphrey@ncleg.net; Pat.Hurley@ncleg.net;Frank.Iler@ncleg.net;Steve.Jarvis@ncleg.net; Jake.Johnson@ncleg.net;Brenden.Jones@ncleg.net;Perrin.Jones@ncleg.net; Donny.Lambeth@ncleg.net;David.Lewis@ncleg.net; Pat.McElraft@ncleg.net;Chuck.McGrady@ncleg.net;Jeffrey.McNeely@ncleg.net; Allen.McNeill@ncleg.net;Tim.Moore@ncleg.net; Larry.Potts@ncleg.net;Michele.Presnell@ncleg.net;Dennis.Riddell@ncleg.net; David.Rogers@ncleg.net;Stephen.Ross@ncleg.net;Jason.Saine@ncleg.net; Wayne.Sasser@ncleg.net;John.Sauls@ncleg.net;Mitchell.Setzer@ncleg.net; Phil.Shepard@ncleg.net;Carson.Smith@ncleg.net; Sarah.Stevens@ncleg.net;Larry.Strickland@ncleg.net;John.Szoka@ncleg.net; John.Torbett@ncleg.net;Harry.Warren@ncleg.net;Donna.White@ncleg.net; Larry.Yarborough@ncleg.net;Lee.Zachary@ncleg.net;

Phone Republican Leaders and Your Rep:
Rep. Tim Moore (Speaker): 704-739-1221 Rep. John R. Bell (Maj. Leader): 919-715-3017 Rep. Jon Hardister (Maj. Whip): 919-733-5191 Rep. David Lewis:  910-897-8100
Phone your own Republican Rep: CLICK HERE to use your address to find your representative and his/her contact information. Click on the ‘NC House’ radio button.


PLEASE CONTRIBUTE TO GRNC: Help us fight gun control while we promote Second Amendment principles. Please CLICK HERE to contribute. Bear in mind that GRNC is an all-volunteer organization, so you can be sure your donations are put to the best possible use. Any amount helps, and any amount is appreciated.  
DELIVER THIS MESSAGE

Suggested Subject:  Support HOUSE BILL 652   Dear Representative,   I’m writing to urge you to support HOUSE BILL 652 that will expand the ability for ordinary citizens to carry concealed on educational property that is the location of both a school and a place of religious worship.
Recent tragedies have shown that a good guy or gal with a gun are critical in saving lives.   This is true common-sense safety legislation that will protect the public.
Mere signs or rules never deter those of evil intent and mass murder.  These only serve to stop innocent people from ensuring everyone else’s safety. 
I expect you to stand up for everyone’s common sense human rights and support this important step in safety. I will continue to monitor your actions on this important issue through alerts from Grass Roots North Carolina.    Respectfully,  

Durham Capitulated…But Quietly

Last week I wrote that the City of Durham had received a demand from Grass Roots North Carolina and GOA to designate gun stores as essential or face legal action. Greensboro also got one of these letters and folded it quickly.

They did fold but did it very quietly. What the City of Durham did was release an amendment to their original order saying they were merely going to adopt the amended Stay at Home order issued by the county. This new City of Durham order didn’t go into details as to what was or wasn’t an essential business. Mayor Stephen Schewel signed the order on the afternoon of Friday, April 3rd and it went into effect at 5pm on Saturday, April 4th.

Durham County’s order didn’t mention gun dealers or ranges as essential businesses. They just said that any business that was on the Department of Homeland Security’s CISA list was essential. That list did include firearms related businesses. Perhaps it is ironic that the title of the county order was “Second Amendment to the Declaration of a State of Emergency in Durham County, NC to Coordinate Protective Actions to Prevent the Spread of COVID-19.”

As I understand it, GRNC contacted Durham County and convinced them to them to comply. Somehow officials in Durham County convinced Mayor Schewel to comply but noted he refused to make any public statement about it.

IndyWeek is a free newspaper serving the Triangle. In NC-speak, the Triangle are the cities of Chapel Hill, Durham, Raleigh, and the smaller surrounding communities. IndyWeek is virulently anti-gun.

They have their panties in a wad that Durham folded to those “gun nuts” and their demands after Mayor Schewel said he wasn’t backing down. The article notes the original April 2nd deadline and the fact that GRNC and GOA didn’t sue.

In this case, April 2 came and went, and Schewel made no such statement, but the gun groups didn’t sue. So what happened? 

Very quietly, the city rolled over. 

IndyWeek then goes into the details of the Durham County and City of Durham orders which I posted above.

As to why Durham capitulated, IndyWeek has this response from Mayor Schewel.

“Our lawyers said we couldn’t win,” Schewel told the INDY on Tuesday. “And not only that they were gonna win, but that we were gonna have to pay their legal fees. And so that’s why we made the decision—which is, you know, awful. Gun stores are not essential. In fact, they are damaging. It’s terrible to be forced into this position.”

It is good to see the Constitution and some good legal advice trumped the anti-gun feelings of the good mayor. It should be no surprise that Schewel is a member of Mayor Bloomberg’s Illegal Mayors.

Greensboro Backs Down But Will Durham

Grass Roots North Carolina and Gunowners of America sent a demand letter to the cities of Greensboro and Durham on Tuesday. It demanded they rescind or change the determination the firearms-related businesses were not essential. They had until noon today to make the change or they would face court action.

Yesterday, Mayor Nancy Vaughan of Greensboro informed GRNC and GOA that she wrongly determined gun stores and ranges as “non-essential”. Now it remains to be seen if Mayor Steve Schewel of Durham will do likewise.

Picture courtesy of Carolina Peacemaker

On a related note, I got a response from Buncombe County yesterday for why they didn’t include gun stores and ranges in their list of essential businesses. Buncombe County felt that since state statute preempted them from closing them during periods of emergency that it would have been superfluous to have listed them as essential.

The release from GRNC on Vaughan’s retreat is below:

The mayor of Greensboro, North Carolina, has reversed herself and now agrees that gun stores within city limits can remain open, after being contacted by Grass Roots North Carolina (GRNC) and Gun Owners of America (GOA) and The Mayor had told the media that gun stores were not “essential” businesses, despite the fact that the city’s “stay-at-home” order stated otherwise.

This reversal comes after a Cease and Desist letter from GOA and GRNC urging Mayor Nancy Vaughan to correct her interpretation, or face legal action. Mayor Vaughan informed GOA and GRNC via email that she was incorrect in her interpretation.

While GOA and GRNC are thankful for the clarification, both organizations still look forward to seeing a public announcement by Mayor Vaughan to let the citizens of the Gate City know they can lawfully visit and purchase firearms and ammunition from gun stores during the “stay-at-home” order.

Likewise, Wake County, North Carolina has also reopened its gun stores after a similar letter sent by GRNC and GOA,  which also sent letters Guildford County and the city of Durham urging the localities to ensure gun stores remain open or face legal action.  

Elsewhere, when contacted by legal counsel for GRNC and GOA, the attorney for Orange County disavowed any statements previously made, saying its language would protect firearms businesses, and Buncombe County advises that although they did not specifically list firearm businesses as “essential,” the county will follow state guidelines which protect firearm businesses provided they follow social distancing requirements.

GRNC And GOA Put Durham And Greensboro On Notice

The mayors of Greensboro and Durham have deemed firearms dealers and gun ranges to be “non-essential” businesses. Under their respective proclamations, non-essential businesses must close.

In response, Grass Roots North Carolina and Gunowners of America have sent a joint letter to each mayor. They note the Federal recommendation that firearms related businesses should be critical infrastructure. The letters ask that the mayors reverse the non-essential designation before noon on April 2nd or risk lawsuits. They also point out that Wake County had received a similar letter and made the changes.

From the release which was sent out by email:

Building on our success in convincing Wake County to reopen firearm-related businesses by adding them its list of “essential services” to avoid litigation, as well as today’s court decision ordering Wake County Sheriff Gerald Baker to resume issuing pistol purchase permits, GRNC and GOA today sent letters to the Durham Mayor Steve Schewel and Greensboro Mayor Nancy Vaughn, advising them of their non-compliance with federal recommendations for critical infrastructure by ordering firearm related businesses to close.

GRNC will continue to monitor North Carolina cities and counties for non-compliance with state and federal statutes and for violations of the US and North Carolina constitutions during the coronavirus emergency.

To see the City of Durham letter: 

https://www.grnc.org/documents/goa-grnc-city-of-durham-soe-letter.pdf

To see the City of Greensboro letter: 

https://www.grnc.org/documents/goa-grnc-greensboro-soe-letter.pdf

Three Of My Favorite Groups Unite To Take On Wake Sheriff

Wake County (NC) Sheriff Gerald Baker should be feeling a bit uneasy right about now. That’s because three of my favorite groups – Grass Roots North Carolina, the Second Amendment Foundation, and the Firearms Policy Coalition – have come together to file suit against Baker’s refusal to even take applications for the Jim Crow-era pistol purchase permit.

For those that don’t know, in North Carolina, you need a pistol purchase permit to purchase a handgun regardless of whether it is from a dealer or a private individual unless you possess a NC Concealed Handgun Permit. As I’ve written about it many a time, the law was passed in 1919 in an unspoken but well understood effort to keep African-Americans, Populists, and union backers disarmed.

The suit has been filed in US District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina. The individual plaintiff is Kerry Stafford who decided a handgun was the proper firearm with which to defend herself and her family. After calling the Wake County sheriff’s department for an PPP application, she was refused.

The complaint alleges that Sheriff Baker has exceeded his discretion and has violated the Second and Fourteenth Amendments depriving Ms. Stafford and others of their constitutional rights under color of law. It asks that either an injunction be issued or that the requirement for a pistol purchase permit be waived until April 30th.

It is great to see these groups working together. For GRNC and SAF, it is a reprise of the joint efforts that led to the win in Bateman v. Perdue.

They issued a joint release which I have copied below:

GRNC, SAF, FPC File Federal Lawsuit Against Wake County, NC Sheriff Over Constitutional Violations

RALEIGH, NC (March 27, 2020) ­— Today, attorneys for an individual Wake County, North Carolina resident, Grass Roots North Carolina, Second Amendment Foundation (SAF), and Firearms Policy Coalition filed a federal lawsuit challenging Wake County Sheriff Gerald M. Baker’s recent actions infringing on Second and Fourteenth Amendment rights he announced as a response to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. A copy of the lawsuit can be found at:

https://www.grnc.org/documents/Complaint-Wake-County-Filed.pdf

This latest case tracks a 2011 federal court victory in Bateman v. Perdue, also led by plaintiffs Second Amendment Foundation and Grass Roots North Carolina, which successfully challenged North Carolina statutes restricting firearms during states of emergency.

“Although Sheriff Gerald Baker claims his refusal to accept applications for pistol purchase permits and concealed handgun permits doesn’t infringe on individual rights, nothing could be further from the truth,” said GRNC president Paul Valone. “During this emergency, as always, GRNC intends to ensure that lawful North Carolinians have the means to protect themselves and their families.”

“Sheriff Baker is implementing by fiat what the Supreme Court struck down in Heller – a ban on a citizen’s right to purchase a handgun for the defense of hearth and home. This action cannot be allowed to stand,” said GRNC Director of Legal Affairs Ed Green.

“Times of emergency is when you need the ability to obtain the means of self-defense the most. Suspending that right is not acceptable. That is why this lawsuit is so important,” commented SAF founder and Executive Vice President, Alan Gottlieb.

“Sheriff Baker’s unconstitutional actions have and will deprive law-abiding, peaceable individuals the opportunity to obtain handguns, the ‘quintessential self-defense weapon’ according to the U.S. Supreme Court, in a time where the arms are most needed,” explained attorney and FPC Director of Legal Strategy, Adam Kraut. “Sheriff Baker’s actions to stop processing and issuing required  Pistol Purchase Permits violate fundamental human rights. We are proud to join GRNC and SAF in this fight to defend the rights of North Carolinians.”

Individual arms applicants/purchasers and retailers affected by ‘stay-home’ or shutdown orders can report potential civil rights violations to FPC’s COVID-19 Issue Hotline at www.FPChotline.org

Plaintiffs are represented by attorneys Ed Green, Raymond M. DiGuiseppe, and Adam Kraut.

Grass Roots North Carolina (www.grnc.org) is North Carolina’s most effective gun rights organization. GRNC was founded in 1994 as an independent, all-volunteer 501(c)(4) not-for-profit organization dedicated to preserving constitutional freedoms. The organization’s projects are primarily devoted to defending the individual right to keep and bear arms.

Second Amendment Foundation (www.saf.org) is the nation’s oldest and largest tax-exempt education, research, publishing, and legal action group focusing on the Constitutional right and heritage to privately own and possess firearms. Founded in 1974, The Foundation has grown to more than 650,000 members and supporters and conducts many programs designed to better inform the public about the consequences of gun control.

Firearms Policy Coalition (www.firearmspolicy.org) is a 501(c)4 grassroots nonprofit organization. FPC’s mission is to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States, especially the fundamental, individual Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms, advance individual liberty, and restore freedom.

GRNC Alert On Sheriff Baker’s Illegal Actions

Grass Roots North Carolina issued an alert this evening asking people to contact the Wake County Sheriff’s Department concerning the suspension of accepting applications.

From what I understand, GRNC is also considering legal action in light of this violation of state law.

From GRNC:

Sheriff Baker: No Guns for You
Surprise, surprise, surprise. Sheriff Baker is at it again. On Tuesday, March 24th, Baker announced that the Wake County Sheriffs Office will no longer be accepting applications for Pistol Purchase Permits or Concealed Handgun Permits. Under the guise of public safety, he is stripping away the one constitutional right that allows the men and women of North Carolina to keep themselves and their families safe.

Nothing under the NC Emergency Management Act gives the sheriff additional powers to restrict pistol purchase permits or concealed handgun permits during a declared state of emergency. The statute is quite clear that he has 14 days to issue or deny purchase permits, and nothing allows him to deny permits because he feels his office is too inundated with applications.

While some sheriffs have said they don’t want the public health risk of taking fingerprints for new CHPs, nothing should restrict applications for CHP renewals or PPPs.

GRNC will be calling for the repeal of the full Pistol Purchase Permit statute, as this lays bare the real reason sheriffs have lobbied to keep this leftover Jim Crow era law on the books. It gives them the power to arbitrarily deny firearms to citizens.

IMMEDIATE ACTION REQUIRED!


Email Sheriff Baker at and let him know that his actions are putting lives at risk
: http://services.wakegov.com/SheriffMainContactForm/index.html


Call his office and repeat this message, we cannot let up: 919-856-6900


PLEASE CONTRIBUTE TO GRNC
: Help us fight gun control while we promote Second Amendment principles. Please CLICK HERE to contribute. Bear in mind that GRNC is an all-volunteer organization, so you can be sure your donations are put to the best possible use. Any amount helps, and any amount is appreciated.

CONTACT INFO
 
http://services.wakegov.com/SheriffMainContactForm/index.html


919-856-6900

 
DELIVER THIS MESSAGE


Suggested Subject: “Permit Suspension”  

 
Dear : Sheriff Gerald M. Baker

 
Your actions on March 24th are a direct violation of your oath of office, and are not outlined in the NC Emergency Management Act. By law, you must approve or deny permits within 14 days. I call on you to immediately restore services to Wake county for pistol purchase and concealed handgun permits.
 
Respectfully,

Imagine If SAF And GRNC Hadn’t Won Bateman

Gov. Roy Cooper (D-NC) today declared a state of emergency that covers all of North Carolina. It was declared in response to the spread of COVID-19 or the coronavirus. As of Monday, there have been seven confirmed cases of it with six of those in Wake County and the seventh in Chatham County. For non-North Carolinians, that is Raleigh and the Pittsboro/Siler City areas.

From NC Office of Emergency Management

Excerpts from Gov. Cooper’s press release:

Governor Roy Cooper took the next step in the state’s coronavirus COVID-19 preparedness plan today and issued an executive order declaring a state of emergency. The declaration activates the Emergency Operations Center to help agencies coordinate from one location and makes it easier to purchase needed medical supplies, protect consumers from price gouging, and increase county health departments’ access to state funds…

Key provisions in the order are similar to those enacted in a natural disaster. The order will help with the cost burdens and supplies that may be difficult for providers and public health to access due to increased demand. It also increases the state public health department’s role in supporting local health departments, which have been tasked with monitoring quarantines, tracing exposure and administering testing.

Executive Order No. 116 in its entirety is found here.

Let’s take a trip down memory lane back to January 2010 when there was a heavy snow storm in the Piedmont of North Carolina. The City of King and Stokes County were particularly hard hit. In response, Gov. Beverly Perdue and both locales declared states of emergency. This automatically triggered then NC General Statute § 14-288.7(a) which provided, in part,:

“it is unlawful for any person to transport or possess off his own premises any dangerous weapon or substance in any area: (1) In which a declared state of emergency exists; or (2) Within the immediate vicinity of which a riot is occurring.”

The City of King went further and invoked their powers under NC General Statute § 14-288.12(b). This “forbade the sale or purchase of firearms and ammunition, as well as the possession of firearms and ammunition off an individual’s premises.” It also banned the sale of alcoholic beverages.

Thus, any time a state of emergency covering all of North Carolina or any time a city or county declared a state of emergency, § 14-288.7(a) kicked in and you could not carry a firearm outside your own home. There were no exceptions made for those of us who hold a Concealed Handgun Permit.

Fast forward a few months to June and the US Supreme Court handled down a monumental Second Amendment ruling. That was, of course, McDonald v. Chicago which applied the Second Amendment as an individual right to the states under the 14th Amendment. That was on the morning of June 28, 2010.

By the close of business on June 28th, the Second Amendment Foundation and Grass Roots North Carolina with attorney Alan Gura had filed suit against the State of North Carolina, the City of King, and Stokes County for violating the Second and 14th Amendments. The case, Bateman v. Perdue, using the newly won application of the Second Amendment to the states in McDonald, directly challenged NC’s emergency powers gun bans.

To make a long story short, US District Court Judge Malcom J. Howard, using strict scrutiny found that the emergency powers gun ban did violate the Second Amendment in March 2012.

The problem here is that the emergency declaration statutes, are not narrowly tailored to serve the government’s interest in public safety. They do not target dangerous individuals or dangerous conduct. Nor do they seek to impose reasonable time, place and manner restrictions by, for example, imposing a curfew to allow the exercise of Second Amendment rights during circumscribed times. Rather, the statutes here excessively intrude upon plaintiffs’ Second Amendment rights by effectively banning them (and the public at large) from engaging in conduct that is at the very core of the Second Amendment at a time when the need for self-defense may be at its very greatest. See Heller, 128 S. Ct. at 2799 (” [A] mericans understood the ‘right of self-preservation’ as permitting a citizen to ‘repe[l] force by force’ when ‘the intervention of society in his behalf, may be too late to prevent an injury. ‘ ” (quoting 1 Blackstone’s Commentaries 145-146, n.42 (1803) ) (second alteration in original)) . Consequently, the emergency declaration laws are invalid as applied to plaintiffs.

Session Law 2012-12 was signed by Gov. Beverly Perdue (D-NC) on June 11, 2012 and became effective on October 1, 2012. This codified the ruling by Judge Howard and repealed NC General Statutes § 14-288.7 and § 14-288.12 through § 14-288.17.

Thanks to Alan Gura, the Second Amendment Foundation, and Grass Roots North Carolina just because seven people have COVID-19 and the governor has declared a state of emergency you can no longer be disarmed. We owe them and the individual plaintiffs a debt of gratitude.

Perhaps The Locals Do Know Best

We often complain about national groups coming in and telling the locals how they should be doing it. This is usually in the context of a group like Mike Bloomberg’s Everytown, Moms Demand Action, or Giffords. However, sometimes it is our own side in the battle for gun rights that is doing this.

Such is the case in Alabama where the NRA is supporting a move to consolidate the list of pistol permit holders, that state’s nomenclature for a concealed carry permit, into a statewide database. The bills in question are HB39 and SB47. The bills provide for the permits to be standardized and issued statewide. They also provide for a lifetime carry permit.

This move is getting a mixed reaction as reported by CBS 42.

Bama Carry and the Alabama Gun Rights Network don’t always agree on the best strategies for advancing gun rights in the Heart of Dixie.

However, when I reached out to friends who are affiliated with those organizations, the response I got was virtually identical. They are opposed to the bills in their current form as they create a database of gun owners which has the potential to be abused.

My friend Beth Alcazar, the Alabama representative of the DC Project and a board member of Bama Carry, had this to say to me in a Facebook message. I’m quoting her with her permission.

At the heart of this matter (and why we are hesitant to get on board) is the fact that law abiding gun owners will be on a registry, with all information being shared, statewide, and this info. could end up on a driver license. This, of course, could cause problems traveling across state lines. What if someone is stopped or pulled over and now questioned or harassed (or searched) because of this identification? And what happens if a government body must be created to oversee this database? Currently, our permit info. is only in the hands of our sheriffs. A lifetime permit could open that up… from just local to state.

Additionally, the NRA doesn’t appear to be listening to Alabamians or to our state’s largest gun rights group, and they continue to push legislation that has potential problems or unintended consequences.

And therein lies the problem. When it is a matter of state and local politics, local activists should be listened to. That there seems to be a disconnect between local gun right rights groups and the NRA on an issue of local concern is not good. The NRA should either defer to the local groups or work to find a compromise that satisfies all gun rights groups involved.

We in North Carolina had much the same problem in 2011 concerning gun bans outside the home during periods of declared emergencies. Grass Roots North Carolina along with local plaintiffs and the Second Amendment Foundation brought Bateman v. Perdue. The NRA-ILA representative in North Carolina was pushing for a quick legislative fix that would have mooted the case. The problem with a quick legislative fix was that it could have been changed on the whim of the next General Assembly. GRNC, SAF, and local activists had to push legislators to let the court case run its path. In the end the General Assembly did that and we won a decision in Bateman declaring the gun ban unconstitutional.

I wrote back then (June 2011) that “there are some in the NRA’s hierarchy who believe the NRA has to be the be-all and end-all of all things Second Amendment.” I noted that the NRA does some things really well and others not so well. I said the NRA should concentrate on training, the legislative arena, and other areas where a mass organization can do well. I didn’t think they were nearly as good at Second Amendment litigation as SAF.

I would now modify my statement from 2011 to say that the NRA does lobbying at the national level well and should work closer with state and local groups on state level lobbying if they want to be effective. Moreover, by state and local groups I don’t mean it has to be the NRA state affiliate as the experience of non-affiliates VCDL and GRNC has shown. Whether the NRA and their state ILA representatives are wise enough to recognize this is still open to debate.