If You Don’t Have Grassroots, You Have To Buy Ads

Gabby Giffords and her Americans for Responsible Solutions (sic) have reportedly made a six-figure media buy for ads against HB 562. According to the Charlotte Observer, the ads are supposed to start running today. They feature former Wilson County Sheriff Wayne Gay.

“As a sheriff for 28 years, I fought to keep our communities safe,” Gay says in the new ad. “But right now, some in the legislature want to repeal background checks on handguns. This will make it easier for criminals and the mentally ill to get guns. … Tell the folks in Raleigh we need to keep background checks.”

The ad seen below parrots the misleading stats pushed by anti-gun Prof. Daniel Webster of Johns Hopkins University’s Bloomberg School of Public Health.

So now Gabby and her husband Mark Kelly (aka the Space Cowboy) feel the need to insert themselves into North Carolina politics just like Michael Bloomberg. I guess when you don’t really have grass roots and paid members, you have to resort to throwing money around for TV advertising.

As to former Sheriff Gay and those sheriffs who oppose HB 562, it is about power, control, and money. They don’t want to give up any power or control nor the money generated by pistol purchase permits. It never was about crime prevention when enacted and it isn’t about crime prevention now.

It Is Time To Demand Concurrence On HB 937

The North Carolina Senate took the House-passed HB 937 and made a good gun reform bill into a near great one. The North Carolina Sheriffs’ Association in now balking on passage of the bill due to the elimination of the archaic and racist pistol purchase permit system run out of each county’s sheriffs’ department. As the alert below from Grass Roots North Carolina makes clear, what they really object to is a loss of power and a loss of revenue.

News stories about the recent shooting in Greenville, North Carolina are now trumpeting that the Pitt County Sheriffs’ Department had turned down the shooter for a “gun permit” last year. The only problem is that North Carolina doesn’t have a “gun permit.” If what they are saying is that he was turned down for a pistol purchase permit by the sheriff, it certainly didn’t stop the shooter from obtaining the shotgun which he used to wound four people. Nowhere in any of the stories about this shooting is mention made of just how the shooter did obtain the shotgun. He may have owned it for years, he may have stolen it, or he may have legally purchased it after a NICS check. We don’t know but I would wager the reason we are hearing that the shooter was turned down for a “gun permit” is part of the effort to stymie HB 937.

From the GRNC Alert:


In recent days, the North Carolina Sheriffs’ Association (NCSA) has flip flopped on its support for HB 937, a common sense bill that would modernize North Carolina’s gun laws, and allow law-abiding citizens to better defend themselves and their families from predators who do not pay attention to gun laws. The reason for the NCSA’s reversal on this bill clearly revolves around the money the sheriffs collect, and the power they maintain, through our State’s outdated pistol permit system.

Aside from the fees the sheriffs are currently charging in the current system, each county’s sheriff has unlimited power to decide who may or may not purchase a handgun. That means your county’s sheriff can arbitrarily deny anyone their Second Amendment rights, absent any due process. For these reasons: money and power, the NCSA does not want this shameful, Jim Crow-era leftover to be eliminated. But HB 937 would do just that. It would eliminate it, and replace it with the fair and reliable National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). This is a dependable, computerized system that has been tried and tested, and in thirty-six states it is the sole background check system, eliminating old-fashioned pistol permits.

The NCSA has had a lot to say about what it would mean to eliminate the current system, a system in which they hold all the power. Let’s examine their statements, and contrast them with the facts:

The NCSA Says: NICS obtains criminal records from North Carolina only regarding persons who are fingerprinted, which includes felons and some limited categories of misdemeanants. Many misdemeanants, punishable for up to two years in prison, are not fingerprinted and, therefore, are not reported to NICS.
The Fact Is: People convicted of state-level misdemeanors punishable by less than two years are not prohibited from owning firearms under federal law, meaning sheriffs want discretion to deny permits to people who are not prohibited.

The NCSA Says: North Carolina state law only requires the Clerks of Superior Court to report to NICS a limited category of those persons involved in an involuntary mental health commitment.
The Fact Is: According to the FBI, the NICS database encompasses: A person adjudicated mental defective or involuntarily committed to a mental institution or incompetent to handle own affairs, including dispositions to criminal charges of found not guilty by reason of insanity or found incompetent to stand trial.

The NCSA Says: Persons from North Carolina who are prohibited by federal law from possessing a firearm, but who are likely to not be discovered by a NICS check, are persons who: Are under indictment or information in any court for a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year; Have been convicted of a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year; are fugitives from justice; are unlawful users of or addicted to any controlled substance; have been adjudicated as mentally defective or have been committed to any mental institution; Who are subject to a court order restraining them from harassing, stalking, or threatening an intimate partner or child of the intimate partner; or Who have been convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence.
The Fact Is: The FBI says otherwise. Their description of the contents of NICS cover all of the situations that the NCSA mentions above.

The NCSA Says: The pistol purchase permitting process in North Carolina is currently far superior to the NICS check and provides increased public safety for our citizens.
The Fact Is: For rifles and shotguns, the NICS is already used in North Carolina, and without objection from the NCSA. If NCSA considers NICS to be an inadequate means of background check, why has it not objected to its use as the sole background check system for long guns?

The NCSA Says: Sheriffs’ “local knowledge” gives them familiarity with local residents that goes above and beyond what the NICS can provide.
The Fact Is: NCSA’s “local knowledge” argument is a stretch. Although sheriffs claim that familiarity with local residents gives them knowledge above and beyond that provided by NICS, the argument is rife with flaws. Just one example would be the fact that Mecklenburg County has processed 12,000 permits thus far for 2013. Is it the position of the NCSA that sheriffs in large counties routinely check tens of thousands of households? Unlikely.

The NCSA needs to get its facts straight, and the antiquated pistol permit system needs to be replaced with a proper, twenty-first century alternative. It’s also a fact that the NCSA’s misguided opposition to this one provision in HB 937, threatens to derail the entire bill. That’s a real problem.



Tell Speaker Tillis and the other elected members of the NC House that you’ve had enough of our outdated, Jim Crow pistol permit system.

Call Speaker Thom Tillis, and ask that he bring HB 937 forward for a vote, and that he encourage his colleagues to vote for concurrence: 919-733-3451.

Use the following cut-and-paste email list to contact NC House Republicans:

Dean.Arp@ncleg.net; Marilyn.Avila@ncleg.net; John.Bell@ncleg.net; Hugh.Blackwell@ncleg.net; Jamie.Boles@ncleg.net; Robert.Brawley@ncleg.net; Brian.Brown@ncleg.net; Rayne.Brown@ncleg.net; Rob.Bryan@ncleg.net; Dana.Bumgardner@ncleg.net; Justin.Burr@ncleg.net; Rick.Catlin@ncleg.net; Jeff.Collins@ncleg.net; Debra.Conrad@ncleg.net; Leo.Daughtry@ncleg.net; Ted.Davis@ncleg.net; Jimmy.Dixon@ncleg.net; Josh.Dobson@ncleg.net; Jerry.Dockham@ncleg.net; Nelson.Dollar@ncleg.net; Jeffrey.Elmore@ncleg.net; John.Faircloth@ncleg.net; Jim.Fulghum@ncleg.net; Mike.Hager@ncleg.net; Jon.Hardister@ncleg.net; Kelly.Hastings@ncleg.net; Mark.Hollo@ncleg.net; Bryan.Holloway@ncleg.net; Craig.Horn@ncleg.net; Julia.Howard@ncleg.net; Pat.Hurley@ncleg.net; Frank.Iler@ncleg.net; Charles.Jeter@ncleg.net; Linda.Johnson2@ncleg.net; Bert.Jones@ncleg.net; Jonathan.Jordan@ncleg.net; Donny.Lambeth@ncleg.net; James.Langdon@ncleg.net; David.Lewis@ncleg.net; Chris.Malone@ncleg.net; Susan.Martin@ncleg.net; Pat.McElraft@ncleg.net; Chuck.McGrady@ncleg.net; Allen.McNeill@ncleg.net; Chris.Millis@ncleg.net; Tim.Moffitt@ncleg.net; Tim.Moore@ncleg.net; Tom.Murry@ncleg.net; Michele.Presnell@ncleg.net; Nathan.Ramsey@ncleg.net; Dennis.Riddell@ncleg.net; Stephen.Ross@ncleg.net; Jason.Saine@ncleg.net; Ruth.Samuelson@ncleg.net; Jacqueline.Schaffer@ncleg.net; Mitchell.Setzer@ncleg.net; Phil.Shepard@ncleg.net; Paul.Stam@ncleg.net; Edgar.Starnes@ncleg.net; Bob.Steinburg@ncleg.net; Sarah.Stevens@ncleg.net; Michael.Stone@ncleg.net; John.Szoka@ncleg.net; Thom.Tillis@ncleg.net; John.Torbett@ncleg.net; Rena.Turner@ncleg.net; Harry.Warren@ncleg.net; Andy.Wells@ncleg.net; Roger.West@ncleg.net; Chris.Whitmire@ncleg.net


Suggested Subject: “Sheriffs’ Association Spreads Misinformation about Purchase Permits”

Honorable Members of the North Carolina House:

I have recently become aware that the North Carolina Sheriffs’ Association (NCSA) has been distributing misinformation about our State’s archaic pistol permit system, an outdated system that HB 937 seeks to replace with modern, computerized background checks. The NCSA has gone so far as to refer to the current system as “superior” even though it still contains the “arming felons loophole.”

I am writing to inform you that I strongly support HB 937, as currently written, and I would consider a vote against concurrence to be an anti-gun vote. I encourage you in the strongest terms to vote for concurrence in order to strengthen and modernize our State’s gun laws.

Originally, the NCSA had supported the bill entirely, and even now they still claim to support it, but only oppose the provision that removes the purchase permit requirement. The NCSA seems desperate to hang on to last century’s permitting method, no doubt so they can continue to use it to collect fees that they are currently attempting to double, and to maintain unchecked power over who can obtain a pistol permit. I have done my research, and I strongly disagree with the NCSA’s new position.

I’ve learned that thirty-six states are already using the dependable, computerized National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) as the sole means of conducting background checks. I also know that the nature of our outdated pistol permit system opens the door for dangerous criminals to buy guns with pistol permits that were legally obtained before the criminals committed their crimes. These old-fashioned paper permits are not traceable nor are they revocable, and they remain valid for years. This “handguns for felons” loophole would be eliminated through use of the NICS.

The NICS is also a fair system in which everyone can expect to be treated equally under the law. Through the NICS, sane, law-abiding citizens cannot be denied their Second Amendment rights for arbitrary reasons. This is something that cannot be said of the current pistol permit system, which can be used to subjectively deny any citizen a pistol permit without due process. That is just wrong, and it’s time to do what’s right.

Again, I ask that you vote for concurrence on HB 937. A vote against concurrence would indeed be an anti-gun vote. Please do what’s right, and bring North Carolina’s gun laws into the twenty-first century. I will be monitoring your actions via Grass Roots North Carolina legislative alerts.


NC Sheriffs’ Associaton Threatens Passage Of HB 937

Just like any politician, there are some sheriffs in North Carolina who are resistant to give up a power over their constituents’ lives. It doesn’t matter that this power doesn’t improve public safety, that it allows felons to purchase firearms without a NICS check, and that its intent when passed in 1919 was to keep African-Americans from being armed. The power in question is the pistol purchase permit issued by each county’s sheriff and the resistance is coming from the North Carolina Sheriffs’ Association.

The Sheriffs’ Association is asking the NC House of Representatives to not concur with the State Senate on HB 937. Grass Roots North Carolina just released an alert about their opposition to HB 937.

Sheriffs’ opposition could sink restaurant/campus carry and other initiatives!

The North Carolina Sheriffs’ Association (NCSA) is pressuring both House Speaker Thom Tillis (R, Mecklenburg, GRNC ****) and NC Governor Pat McCrory (R, GRNC-***) to oppose GRNC’s repeal of the antiquated pistol purchase permit system that has been in place since 1919. As part of omnibus gun bill HB 937, which contains restaurant and limited campus carry, the purchase permit law would be repealed IF the House votes to concur with Senate improvements to the bill and IF Gov. McCrory doesn’t veto it.

Felons with purchase permits

The purchase permit law slated for elimination through HB 937 was designed to grant discriminatory power to NC Sheriffs and enable them to subjectively deny handguns to whoever they consider “undesirable.” To this day, several counties abuse the permit system in ways that make it difficult for law-abiding citizens to rightfully obtain handguns.

Ironically, as documented by The Charlotte Observer, the law sheriffs defend is letting untold numbers of felons bypass background checks to buy guns. Why? Because the untrackable slips of paper issued by sheriffs after background checks can’t be repealed and are good for 5 years. Eliminating the system would mean that checks using the National Instant Background Check System (NICS) would be done at the point of sale.

Sheriffs want money & power

Beyond the power to deny purchase permits for arbitrary reasons by claiming applicants don’t have “good moral character” (whatever that means), consider the fact that currently proposed legislation will double the fees sheriffs collect. Are Sheriffs refusing to do what’s right in order to maintain a cash cow worth millions?


Keep HB 937 from dying: Send 3 emails and make 3 phone calls:

  • GOVERNOR PAT McCRORY: First, email him BY CLICKING HERE or going www.governor.state.nc.us/contact/email-pat and then call him Monday morning at (919) 814-2000. Let McCrory know that contrary to what the Sheriffs’ Association claims, HB 937 IMPROVES background checks.

  • EMAIL ALL NC SHERIFFS: Using the copy-and-paste list of emails and the message below.

  • CALL YOUR SHERIFF: Ask them (1) Whether they oppose repeal of a Jim Crow law which allows felons to circumvent background checks, making law-abiding citizens vulnerable to gun control; and (2) Whether they know that is the position of the association which claims to represent them. Identify your sheriff by CLICKING HERE or going to: http://www.ncsheriffs.org/ncmap.htm

  • EMAIL & CALL SPEAKER THOM TILLIS: Let him know that you appreciate his earlier efforts, but that the Senate has upped the ante and now he needs to resist the power-hungry NC Sheriffs’ Assoc. and pass HB 937 AS IS by making sure the House VOTES TO CONCUR. To contact Speaker Tillis, email Thom.Tillis@ncleg.net and call him on Monday morning at 919-733-3451.

  • HELP GRNC PASS HB 937: GRNC has spent tens of thousands of dollars on radio spots, alerts and legislative team expenses to pass what could be the most pro-gun initiative in North Carolina history, but we can’t do it without your support, so please go to: http://www.grnc.org/join-grnc/contribute

Register your opinion with McCrory via Twitter:

I want @PatMcCroryNC to sign H937, Amend Various Gun Laws, NOW http://bit.ly/17QJ0Sy #GRNC #NCPOL #NCGA


Use the following copy-and-paste email list to contact Sheriffs:

terry.johnson@alamance-nc.com; cbowman@alexandercountync.gov; acsdrecords@skybest.com; tallen@co.anson.nc.us; sheriff@ashecountygov.com; kevin.frye@averycountync.gov; jordan@sheriff.co.beaufort.nc.us; john.holley@bertie.nc.gov; pbenston@bladenco.org; sheriffingram@brunsco.net; van.duncan@buncombecounty.org; admin@burkesheriff.org; dbriley@cabarruscounty.us; ajones@caldwellcountync.org; tperry@camdencountync.gov; asab@carteretcountygov.org; mwelch@caswellcountync.gov; coy@catawbacountync.gov; richard.webster@chathamsheriff.com; keith.lovin@cherokeecounty-nc.gov; dwayne.goodwin@chowan.nc.gov; claycountysheriff@claync.org; alan.norman@clevelandcounty.com; cbatten@columbusco.org; jmonette@cravencountync.gov; sheriff@ccsonc.org; susan.johnson@currituckcountync.gov; doug.doughtie@darenc.com; david.grice@davidsoncountync.gov; astokes@dcsonc.com; blakew@duplincountync.com; sheriff@shf.co.durham.nc.us; sheriff.knight@co.edgecombe.nc.us; schatzwt@fcso.us; ; acloninger@gcps.org; gatescoso@hotmail.com; anderson.mickey50@yahoo.com; sheriff@granvillecounty.org; lsmith@co.greene.nc.us; bbarnes@co.guilford.nc.us; frazierj@halifaxnc.com; lrollins@harnett.org; suttles@haywoodnc.net; rdavis@hendersoncountync.org; juan.vaughan@hertfordcountync.gov; hpeterkin@hokesheriff.org; barbaradeese@yahoo.com; predmond@co.iredell.nc.us; sheriffashe@jacksonnc.org; sbizzell@jcso.org; sheriff@co.jones.nc.us; sheriff@leecountync.gov; wsmith@co.lenoir.nc.us; sheriffcarpenter@lincolnsheriff.org; rholland@maconnc.org; sheriffharwood@madisoncountysheriff.org; dgibbs@martincountyncgov.com; dgreene@mcdowellsheriff.org; daniel.bailey@mecklenburgcountync.gov; mcsd@mitchellcounty.org; mcsosheriff@montgomerycountync.com; lweaver@moorecountync.gov; dick.jenkins@nashcountync.gov; emcmahon@nhcgov.com; wardie.vincent@ncmail.net; sheriff@onslowcountync.gov; twpope@co.orange.nc.us; sheriffsawyer@coastalnet.com; sheriff@co.pasquotank.nc.us; carson.smith@pendersheriff.com; etilley@perquimanscountync.gov; djones@personcounty.net; rnelks@pittcountync.gov; dhill@polknc.org; sheriff@co.randolph.nc.us; james.clemmons@richmondnc.com; sheriff@robesoncoso.org; spage@co.rockingham.nc.us; kevin.auten@rowancountync.gov; chris.francis@rutherfordcountync.gov; sheriff@intrstar.net; sheriff@scotlandsheriff.org; rjburris@co.stanly.nc.us; sheriff@co.stokes.nc.us; atkinsong@co.surry.nc.us; sheriffcochran@swaincountync.gov; sheriffmahoney@tcsonc.org; dliverman@tyrrellcso.net; eddiecathey@co.union.nc.us; pwhite@vancecounty.org; donnie.harrison@co.wake.nc.us; eagleeye@vance.net; jross@washconc.org; Len.Hagaman@watgov.org; carey.winders@waynegov.com; cshew@wilkescountysheriff.net; cwoodard@wilson-co.com; roliver@yadkincountync.gov; gary.banks@yanceycountync.gov


To Gov. McCrory & Speaker Tillis:

Dear [Governor McCrory or Speaker Tillis]:

For reasons of money and power, North Carolina Sheriffs’ Association executive director Eddie Caldwell is placing you in the untenable position of supporting a Jim Crow-era handgun purchase permit law which is letting untold numbers of felons bypass computerized background checks. Tell me: What will you do if you kill or delay the measure and then one of those felons kills someone, perhaps a child? Will that death be on your shoulders?

As documented by The Charlotte Observer, as many as 60 felons in Mecklenburg County alone might continue hold purchase permits after being convicted, enabling them to bypass the computerized National Instant Background Check System (NICS) because the untrackable slips of paper issued by sheriffs after background checks can’t be repealed and are valid for 5 years. How many felons does that translate to statewide? 2,000? 3,000? Eliminating the system will mean that checks using the NICS would be done at the point of sale.

Support the purchase permit repeal: House Bill 937 does an exceptional job of expanding the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens while strengthening background checks. I will be closely monitoring your actions on this issue via Grass Roots North Carolina legislative alerts. Rest assured that I will remember them in future elections.



To the list of sheriffs:

Dear Sheriff:

I strongly urge you to tell North Carolina Sheriffs’ Association executive director Eddie Caldwell that he is placing you and other sheriffs in the untenable position of supporting a Jim Crow-era handgun purchase permit law which is letting untold numbers of felons bypass computerized background checks. Tell me: What will you do if NCSA kills or delays the measure and then one of those felons kills someone, perhaps a child? That death will be on your shoulders.

As documented by The Charlotte Observer, as many as 60 felons in Mecklenburg County alone might continue hold purchase permits after being convicted, enabling them to bypass the computerized National Instant Background Check System (NICS) because the untrackable slips of paper issued by sheriffs after background checks can’t be repealed and are valid for 5 years. How may does that translate to statewide? 2,000? 3,000? Eliminating the system will mean that checks using the NICS would be done at the point of sale.

Support the purchase permit repeal: House Bill 937 does an exceptional job of expanding the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens while strengthening background checks. I will be closely monitoring your actions on this issue via Grass Roots North Carolina legislative alerts. Rest assured that I will remember them in future elections.


On Keeping Gun Permit/CHP Data Private In North Carolina

There are currently two bills before the North Carolina General Assembly that would keeping pistol purchase permit and Concealed Handgun Permit data private. They are HB 17 which deals with confidentiality and restaurant carry and SB 28 which deals strictly with confidentiality.

Two weeks ago, the Senate Judiciary II Committee held hearings on SB 28. This bill is strongly supported by both gun rights groups such as Grass Roots North Carolina and the NC Sheriffs Association. On the other side is the NC Press Association which wants to keep this data as a public record and accessible through freedom of information requests.

Below is a report on the hearing from the NCSA Weekly Legislative Report dated February 22nd.

Gun Permit Records

The Senate Judiciary II Committee had a lively deba
te this week but didn
‘t vote on a bill that
would exempt pistol purchase permits, concealed
carry permits, and pistol sales records from
disclosure under the public records law. Under Senate Bill 28, the information would be available
only upon request of law enforcement
agencies or by court order, while exempting it from the Public
Records Act. The legislation wouldn’t apply to
long guns and other rifles because those weapons
don’t require purchase permits.

The bill sponsor, Senator Stan Bingham, said th
e measure was aimed at reducing gun thefts.
He argued that criminals may target homes wher
e they know there are guns for the taking. Gregg
Stahl, Director of Government Relations for the
N.C. Sheriffs’ Association, told the legislative
committee that sheriffs across the state have also
heard from residents w
ho don’t own guns who fear
they would be targeted for thefts
as well. “The list of gun owners
also tells us where there are no
guns,” Stahl said.

Opponents argued that they had seen no data to suggest that criminals are using public
information about gun ownership to help commit crimes. John Bussian, a lobbyist for the N.C. Press
Association, told the committee that he was opposing “yet another government records secrecy bill.”
Some of the best media reporting across the count
ry on the flow of arms, he said, has been done
using the types of records that the bill would exempt from the Public Records Act.

But others, including lobbyists for the N.C. Ri
fle and Pistol Association and the N.C.
Firearms Dealers Group, supported the bill. Michael
Mann of the Rifle and Pi
stol Association said he believed there was “no legitimate reason” for anyone to have access to detailed information about
gun owners. Professional burglars, he said, look for items they can steal and dispose of quickly,
such as cash, jewelry and guns.

The Charlotte Observer has noticed this fight. They published a long article on it along with an editorial opposing this bill.  I will have more on that in a later post.

As to the pistol purchase permits themselves, I’d like to see them eliminated. They are a relic of Jim Crow laws in North Carolina. The permit was instituted in 1919 and was a way to allow racist sheriffs to keep handguns out of the hands of blacks.