In June of this year, Senate Bill 226 was passed and the Jim Crow-era gun registry in Durham County was repealed. While this repeal came about 70 years too late, it was nonetheless a victory for all North Carolinians.

Now that it's illegal to maintain a firearms registry of any form in North Carolina, the disposition of the old gun registry records seem clear: they must be destroyed immediately. At least, that's the logical and reasonable conclusion. Right?

Unfortunately, some state and local bureaucrats are stalling. Archie Smith, the Durham County Clerk of Superior Court is in discussions with the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources about archiving this information.

For what reason, you may be wondering? We're curious too. Ideas discussed have included a study of the prices of firearms during the Great Depression (even though the registry records never contained purchase prices), the changeover from revolvers to semiautomatic handguns (one may safely ascertain that as time went on there were more semiautomatic handguns; is this really newsworthy?), or some other such nonsense that masquerades as "history".

In the meantime, the private information of Durham County's citizens remains in the hands of people that should never have had it in the first place. This includes the person's age, race(!), gender, date and location of purchase (none of which was authorized in the original 1935 law). Would Durham County and the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources be willing to defend the continued existence of these records in a lawsuit?

The course of action is clear: these unlawful records need to be destroyed immediately. The damage they've done to the privacy of North Carolinians is already immeasurable, and retaining these records only perpetuates this grave injustice.


It's time to let everyone know that this has to end. Now. We suggest copying and pasting the following e-mail list (which includes the Durham County Clerk of Superior Court, the Durham County Sheriff, the Secretary of the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources, and all of the Durham County Commissioners:;;;;;;;


Suggested Subject: "Shred the Durham County Gun Registry NOW!"

I am writing to insist that the Durham County firearms registry, which was outlawed with the recent passage of Senate Bill 226, be shredded immediately.

The roots of the gun registry were deeply entrenched in Jim Crow era laws that gave the Sheriff capricious latitude to harass visible minorities. The continued existence of these records is offensive to all North Carolinians; records that continue to violate the privacy of North Carolina's citizens.

It's also worth noting that the information gathered in these records include information that was not authorized under the original 1935 act that authorized the registry. This unauthorized information includes age, gender, race, and the date and location of purchase.

As a concerned citizen, I will continue to monitor this situation—including possible legal action against Durham County and the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources—through Grass Roots North Carolina alerts.



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