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: April 21, 2021


Will NC Legislature Repeal Racist Law?

NC Sheriffs’ Association now supports repeal

[Raleigh] On Tuesday, NC Sheriffs’ Association Executive Director Eddie Caldwell told the NC House Judiciary 4 Committee that the association now supports repeal of our pistol purchase permit law, which has its origins in the Jim Crow era and continues to be racially biased to this day.

Shortly thereafter, the committee gave a favorable report to the full repeal of the law. What has not been discussed, however, is that the law continues to be racially divisive to this day.

A January 2021 paper in North Carolina Law Review1, published by the UNC School of Law noted that among its many other problems, the law is being applied to disproportionately reject black applicants. Between 2015 and 2020 in Wake County, 23.54% of black applicants were denied permits but only 8.37% of whites – a rejection rate for blacks which is three times higher than whites.

After stopping issuance of permits, ostensibly due to the pandemic, Wake County Sheriff Gerald Baker has been sued three times (including twice by GRNC) for his refusal to comply with state law. He still under a consent order to comply. Meanwhile, permits are being delayed beyond the 14 day statutory requirement in at least Mecklenburg and Guilford counties.

Given that the NCSA describes the permit system as “duplicative” now that reporting to the computerized National Instant Background Check System has been improved, and that the law has been demonstrated to be racist in both origin and application, the question will be whether Democrats who traditionally oppose gun ownership will join growing calls for repeal of the racist, archaic and obstructionist law as it moves toward a floor vote.

Said GRNC president Paul Valone:

“We are encouraged to see that the North Carolina Sheriffs’ Association now agrees to bring gun purchases in North Carolina into the 21st Century by eliminating our Jim Crow-era permit system and requiring background checks at point of sale. Given that a recent UNC School of Law paper found that in Wake County, black applicants are being denied permits three times more often than whites, it is clear that racism in issuing permits continues to this day. Consequently, we are calling upon Democrat legislators to join in repealing this racist law.”


  • 1. “Misfire: How the North Carolina Pistol Purchase Permit System Misses the Mark of Constitutional Muster and Effectiveness,” Nicholas Gallo, North Carolina Law Review, UNC School of Law, Volume 99, Number 2, Article 7.

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