Grass Roots North Carolina / Forum For Firearms Education
Post Office Box 10665, Raleigh, NC 27605
877.282.0939 (Phone) 919.573.0354 (Fax)




Release date: July 15, 2020
Press release link:

GRNC will sue Sheriff Baker and Wake Co. as many times as it takes to ensure citizens’ rights are respected.


Wake County may be liable for Baker’s refusal to comply 

with the law and citizens’ civil rights.



[Raleigh] Said Grass Roots North Carolina president Paul Valone: 

“Grass Roots North Carolina will sue Sheriff Baker and Wake County as many times as it takes to ensure that handgun permits are reliably issued to North Carolina citizens in compliance with their civil rights and North Carolina law. 


“Furthermore, under the ‘Monell clause,’ Sheriff Baker, because he is currently under a consent decree requiring him to issue handgun permits, is unilaterally and unlawfully making public policy by his continued refusal to issue permits in a timely fashion as stipulated in G.S. §14-404(f). Accordingly, his actions could create legal liability not only for the sheriff, but for Wake County, which has a duty to relieve Baker from office if he insists on violating the law.”

In response to GRNC’s notice of non-compliance, sent to Baker’s counsel on July 15, attorney Nick Ellis claimed that Baker is doing an “excellent” job of processing pistol purchase permit applications, despite the fact that:

  • Baker is clearly violating G.S. §14-404(f): The statute requires sheriffs to issue or deny NC pistol purchase permits in 14 days, further stipulating that applications may only be denied or statutorily permissible reasons. In truth, applications, if they are being processed at all, are taking nearly two months.
  • North Carolinians are being denied their rights: It is unlawful for citizens to buy handguns without either a pistol purchase permit or concealed handgun permit from their county of residence, meaning that Baker’s actions are denying citizens’ rights not only to keep and bear arms, but to protect their families at a time of national crisis when personal safety is very much in question.

  • Reports indicate the Wake County Sheriff is non-responsive: Email queries on permit applications are reportedly being ignored as phone calls to the department go unanswered. Reports also suggest that Baker has limited the number of hours during which Wake County sheriff’s employees may process applications, as department representatives have become hostile to frustrated applicants.
  • Baker may be thumbing his nose at the law: Despite a consent decree requiring him to issue handgun permits, Baker appears to be dragging his feet in order to issue the minimum possible number of permits, clearly defying the decree.


Letter to Baker’s attorney:

July 15, 2020

Poyner Spruill LLC

1151 Falls Road, Suite 1000

Rocky Mount, NC 27804

Attn: Mr. Nick Ellis

Dear Mr. Ellis:

As you may recall, Grass Roots North Carolina, along with other plaintiffs, filed suit in Stafford v. Baker against your client, Sheriff Gerald Baker, over his refusal to issue North Carolina pistol purchase permits to qualified applicants, as required by G.S. §14-404(f).

Pursuant to additional litigation in Groo v. Baker, Sheriff Baker is currently under a consent order to issue such permits, and alleges that he is doing so as required by law.

So imagine my surprise as complaints continue to reach GRNC’s office from people who have applied for pistol purchase permits as early as June 3, 2020 and are still waiting for their permits to be issued. Obviously, this is well outside the fourteen days required by law. I currently have four complainants, suggesting that dozens of other applications are being delayed, and that your client is still actively violating G.S. §14-404(f).

I believe GRNC has established its willingness to pursue litigation to ensure that North Carolinians’ rights are respected. And I am sure you know that under G.S. §14-409.40(h), persons adversely impacted may bring an action for declaratory and injunctive relief and for actual damages arising from the violation.

Accordingly, please respond, by no later than July 20, 2020, with a detailed description of how your client plans to issue the above-mentioned permits and bring his office into compliance with North Carolina statutes regarding issuance of pistol purchase permits.






F. Paul Valone
President, Grass Roots North Carolina
Executive Director, Rights Watch International