Was non-issue for NC gun owners due to GRNC-backed HB937...

Concerned GRNC supporters have been contacting us over reports that Civitas Media is assembling lists of citizens with carry permits from all 50 states. Note Civitas Media has no relationship to the libertarian organization, Civitas Institute.

According to Civitas Media's website, this idea has been scrapped. It would have been impossible to have included NC gun owners on such a list due to privatization of this information following successful passage of GRNC-backed HB937. Despite protection of North Carolinans, GRNC will not tolerate these types of attacks on any group of citizens.

In order to put Civitas Media on notice, GRNC President Paul Valone contacted Michael Bush, President & CEO of Civitas Media, and reminded him of WRAL reporter Mark Binker's unpleasant experience following his unwise publication of NC gun owner information. Mr. Valone's letter is copied below:

Dear Mr. Bush:

I cannot tell you how delighted I was to discover that Civitas Media recently established offices in Davidson, just a stone's throw from my Cornelius home. In yet another twist of coincidence, I too considered attending Hobart College. (I ended up picking Hamilton instead.) Please let me welcome Civitas to North Carolina.

I was equally delighted to discover this statement on your corporate website:

"Civitas Media never had any plans or intentions of publishing in print or online lists of holders of 'conceal and carry' permits.  Nor will Civitas Media develop databases of permit holders.  A poorly crafted internal memo meant to highlight editorial discussions and planning incorrectly indicated that such a database was being planned; it has been considered and rejected."

As you may know, Grass Roots North Carolina (GRNC) is our state's primary gun rights organization. We were largely responsible for passing our concealed handgun law in 1995, and for a number of expansions of the law in the years since. At present, there are approximately 324,000 active concealed handgun permit-holders in North Carolina. Our organization routinely issues email alerts to 87,000 gun owners on matters of relevance to the Second Amendment.

As you might anticipate, GRNC cannot stand idly by while gun owners' privacy is compromised. In 2012, when WRAL-TV created a searchable database of permit-holders, including their partial addresses, we were forced to respond by releasing equivalent personal information about the reporter who did the piece, Mark Binker, his family, and others at WRAL to approximately 60,000 gun rights supporters (our membership was smaller then).

At the time, I noted that in the era of the Internet, we all live in glass houses, making it a poor idea to start throwing stones. Here are some links describing the event:




As depicted in the last link, many in the media seemed shocked that we would respond in kind. Gun owners, however, are highly protective of their privacy. For example, I understand that after the editor of a small newspaper near the town of Murphy made a FOIA request for local pistol purchase permit information, he not only apologized profusely to readers but actually felt compelled to move out of state. (We played no role in that.)

Although we have talented volunteers at GRNC who have already gathered significant information on James M. Lawitz and others at Civitas Media, it is my hope that we can all live together in harmony. If I can answer questions or be of help in any way, please don't hesitate to contact me.

Armatissimi e liberissimi,

F. Paul Valone

President, Grass Roots North Carolina

Executive Director, Rights Watch International




© 2014 Grass Roots North Carolina. All rights reserved. Reproduction and distribution is permitted provided full attribution is given and the item is reprinted in its entirety. Address questions to: President@GRNC.org