Grass Roots North Carolina / Forum For Firearms Education

Post Office Box 10665, Raleigh, NC  27605

877.282.0939 (Phone)      919.573.0354 (Fax)


Press Contact:     704.907.9206


Release date:      September 23, 2014

GRNC Demands Durham Comply With Gun Law

Letter to Durham County Clerk of Superior Court demands destruction of registration records

GRNC President Paul Valone and Director of Legal Affairs Ed Green today sent a certified letter to Durham County Clerk of Superior Court Archie Smith advising him that retaining registration records under Durham’s now-repealed gun registration law is a clear violation of N.C.G.S. 14-409.40, which forbids local governments from regulating firearms. Quoting the relevant statute, the letter says:

“(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.”

Since the repeal of the Jim Crow era gun registration law in June, Durham has stopped taking new registrations but has dragged its feet on destroying existing records by claiming they might have “historical value.” Under pressure from GRNC, however, the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources punted back to Durham when it began telling people, “The State Archivist of North Carolina has determined that the Durham Gun Registry Records do not have archival value.” But when a GRNC representative attempted to collect her own registration record from the Durham County Clerk of Superior Court, the clerk’s office denied her request, claiming the records were the property of their office.

GRNC raises possibility of litigation

Noting that GRNC and its sister organization, Rights Watch International, have successfully sued North Carolina over its state of emergency gun ban and Winston-Salem over its illegal parks ban, and that GRNC has recruited plaintiffs with standing in the case, the letter finishes 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 full letter is available at: