Gun Rights Supporters: It’s been a busy pandemic for GRNC. Earlier, I promised that Grass Roots North Carolina would be safeguarding gun rights during the coronavirus emergency. Please allow me to update you on our progress. Building on previous success You may recall that in 2011, GRNC and the Second Amendment Foundation sued then-Governor Beverly Perdue over what had previously been a complete ban on carrying firearms outside the home during a declared state of emergency (SOE). We won in federal court on Second Amendment grounds and, even though we were disappointed that the decision never became precedent-setting law in the Supreme Court (since Perdue chose not to appeal her loss), we did go back to the General Assembly, where in 2012 GRNC forced repealed NC’s state of emergency gun ban, making it possible for lawful North Carolinians to protect their families when most needed. Counties try to take advantage of emergency to curtail gun rights But nobody envisioned a multi-week (month?) state of emergency and, when most states issued stay-at-home orders, closing “non-essential” businesses, counties and cities across NC started trying to close gun shops. Worse, the closures and other restrictions starting taking place exactly during the huge rush to buy guns for family protection during the emergency, with restrictions in North Carolina taking two forms: Sheriffs started restricting issuance of pistol purchase permits and concealed handgun permits; and Counties started closing gun shops as “non-essential.” GRNC is ‘7 for 7’ against anti-gun local governments GRNC fought back immediately, as reports came in of local government malfeasance. The game-changer occurred on March 28 when, thanks to Gun Owners of America, the Trump administration added firearm-related businesses to the non-mandatory “critical infrastructure” guidelines for federal stay-at-home recommendations. In little more than a week: GRNC sued Wake County Sheriff Gerald Baker: When Baker announced he was suspending issuance of purchase permits and concealed handgun permits, GRNC, together with the Firearms Policy Coalition and Second Amendment Foundations, filed suit in federal court on a variety of grounds. Baker is now under a consent order forcing him to start issuing permits again in a few days. GRNC threatened suit against Wake County: When Wake County issued a declaration effectively shutting down gun shops, GRNC and Gun Owners of America sent a “Fear of God” (“FOG”) letter to county commissioners. Although Chairman Greg Ford first scoffed at GRNC supporters who called him out, when he got the letter he immediately reversed course and followed the federal guidelines, immediately opening gun shops. GRNC threatened suit against Greensboro: Again joining GOA, GRNC issued a FOG letter to Greensboro Mayor Nancy Vaughan, who had publicly announced gun stores would be closed. After getting the letter, Vaughan immediately (and tersely) responded that she had been “incorrect” in her gun-hating interpretation of Guilford County guidelines. GRNC threatened suit against Guilford County: After receiving the “FOG letter” from GRNC and GOA, Guilford County commissioners responded that they were following federal guidelines, and that gun shops would remain open. GRNC threatened suit against Orange County: After receiving the “FOG letter” from GRNC and GOA, Orange County commissioners responded that they were following federal guidelines, and that gun shops would remain open. GRNC threatened suit against Durham County: After receiving the “FOG letter” from GRNC and GOA, Durham County commissioners responded that they were following federal guidelines, and that gun shops would remain open. GRNC threatened suit against the City of Durham: Like Vaughan in Greensboro, City of Durham Mayor Stephen Schewel is a virulently anti-gun leftist. But in response to the GRNC/GOA FOG letter, even he backed down. Although he refused to make a public statement, effective April 4 at 5 PM, the city deferred to Durham County guidelines, leaving gun shops open. (I’m sure signing that order stuck in his craw.) These victories don’t even include: Mecklenburg County, whose declaration appeared to keep firearm-related businesses open but where a Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police representative was telling people on Facebook that gun shops had to close. When GRNC contacted the CMPD attorney, he removed the offending post; or Anti-gun Gov. Roy Cooper, who didn’t include gun businesses among “essential” businesses, but was smart enough to avoid getting sued by issuing “FAQs” that stipulated gun businesses could stay open provided they follow social distancing guidelines. Please help make continued victory possible Even in this time of uncertainty, many of you have contributed generously to GRNC in order to make victories like this possible. If you have not, I very much hope you will go to: www.grnc.org/join-grnc/contribute As always, the many volunteers of Grass Roots North Carolina will endeavor to put your money to more efficient, effective use in defending your rights than any other organization. Armatissimi e liberissimi, F. Paul Valone President, Grass Roots North Carolina Executive Director, Rights Watch International Radio host, Guns, Politics and Freedom P.S. Believe me, I’ve watched my 401(k) evaporate with everyone else’s, and I know lots of people out of work. I know times are hard. But if you can contribute $100, $50 or even $25, we will use those precious funds to continue our string our victories in defending your rights.