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: February 23, 2021

Press release link:

GRNC, SAF & FPC win round in

suit against Wake Co. sheriff


Suit filed by GRNC, SAF and FPC

against Gerald Baker will move forward




[Raleigh] Denying a motion for dismissal made by Wake County Sheriff Gerald Baker, a U.S. District Court Judge in North Carolina has ruled that plaintiffs challenging last year’s “temporary suspension” of processing pistol purchase permits, allegedly due to the COVID-19 outbreak and state of emergency declared by Gov. Roy Cooper, may pursue damage claims and associated claims for declaratory relief and attorney’s fees.

Stafford v. Baker

On March 24, 2020, Sheriff Baker announced a temporary suspension in the acceptance and processing of PPP applications, through April 30, 2020, citing as the basis for this action, “a significant increase in PPP applicants and concomitant concerns over social distancing violation by long lines of applicants,” says the ruling by Judge Louise W. Flanagan.

Plaintiff Kelly Stafford called the Wake County Sheriff’s Office to ask about proceeding with her application for the pistol purchase permit. Because the application process had been suspended until after April 30, “she was statutorily barred from purchasing any handgun for defense of herself and her family in her home.”

Grass Roots North Carolina, the Second Amendment Foundation, and the Firearms Policy Coalition filed suit with Stafford.

Said GRNC president Paul Valone, “Using COVID-19 as his rationalization, Sheriff Baker sought to unlawfully and unconstitutionally suspend North Carolinians right to keep and bear arms. GRNC will take action against any and all such attacks on the rights of citizens, and calls upon Republicans who control the General Assembly to finally repeal the Jim Crow-era pistol purchase permit system that is being routinely abused.”

Judge Flanagan’s ruling recognizes that Stafford “has already obtained all the relief she sought in her claim for injunctive relief, and she will not have a need to obtain again a PPP permit.” By denying Baker’s motion for dismissal, however, she allowed the suit for damages, attorney fees and declaratory relief to move forward.


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