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GRNC Update 10-6-14: GRNC Compels Durham to Destroy Jim Crow Handgun Registry

GRNC Victory Eliminates Another Vestige of Jim Crow Gun Control...

The Durham County Sheriff's Office confirmed via its Facebook page that records kept as part of the County's handgun registry have been destroyed.

These records have been maintained since 1935 as part of a Jim Crow era law intended to discourage the exercise of Second Amendment rights by minorities.

Durham repealed the registration law in June, but was unwilling to destroy associated records claiming they may have "historical value". Last month, GRNC President Paul Valone and Director of Legal Affairs Ed Green sent a certified letter to Durham County Clerk of Superior Court Archie Smith advising him that retaining registration records under Durham's repealed gun registration law was a clear violation of N.C.G.S. 14-409.40, which forbids local governments from regulating firearms. Quoting the relevant statute, the letter said:

“(a) It is declared by the General Assembly that the regulation of firearms is properly an issue of general, statewide concern, and that the entire field of regulation of firearms is preempted from regulation by local governments except as provided by this section.

“(b) Unless otherwise permitted by statute, no county or municipality, by ordinance, resolution, or other enactment, shall regulate in any manner the possession, ownership, storage, transfer, sale, purchase, licensing, or registration of firearms, firearms ammunition, components of firearms, dealers in firearms, or dealers in handgun components or parts.”

Threat of Litigation Brings Compliance

Noting that GRNC and its sister organization, Rights Watch International, had successfully sued North Carolina over its state of emergency gun ban and Winston-Salem over its illegal parks ban, and that GRNC had recruited plaintiffs with standing in a potential handgun registry case, the letter finished by saying:

“Given that state experts have already determined that the handgun registrations have no historic or archival value; given that no agent of Durham County or the City of Durham can legally utilize the registrations for any reason; given that, absent a statute authorizing their retention, the registrations are a violation of the privacy of Durham County residents; and given the liability to Durham County of the Clerk’s Office continuing to regulate the registrations in clear violation of state law – there is no reasonable course of action but to destroy these registrations. To remove any possible barrier to this end, GRNC will pay the fee of a commercial service provider to remove the illegal registrations from the Clerk of Court’s office, shred them onsite, and recycle the remains. Please contact me at your earliest convenience to arrange a mutually acceptable time for this action.”

The illegal registry records were shredded per GRNC instructions, although the generous offer to provide assistance were not taken advantage of.

The Sheriff's office has helpfully provided evidence of the registry shredding via a YouTube video. Enjoy watching the demise of a malicious gun control law, courtesy of GRNC!

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