BELLEVUE, WA – The Second Amendment Foundation, Firearms Policy Coalition and Grass Roots North Carolina today filed a federal lawsuit against Wake County, N.C. Sheriff Gerald M. Baker for refusing to accept new applications for pistol purchase permits or concealed handgun permits until April 30, using the COVID-19 outbreak as justification.
The complaint was filed in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina, Western Division. The organizations are joined by Kelly Stafford, a Wake County resident. Plaintiffs are represented by attorneys Ed Green, Raymond M. DiGuiseppe, and Adam Kraut.
“A public health emergency doesn’t suspend or nullify the right to keep and bear arms,” said SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb. “During times of emergency is when a citizen needs the ability to obtain the means of self-defense, and Sheriff Baker’s decision stands directly in the way of that.”
“Although Sheriff Gerald Baker claims his refusal to accept applications for pistol purchase permits and concealed handgun permits doesn’t infringe on individual rights, nothing could be further from the truth,” said GRNC president Paul Valone. “During this emergency, as always, GRNC intends to ensure that lawful North Carolinians have the means to protect themselves and their families.”
“Sheriff Baker is implementing by fiat what the Supreme Court struck down in Heller – a ban on a citizen’s right to purchase a handgun for the defense of hearth and home. This action cannot be allowed to stand,” said GRNC Director of Legal Affairs Ed Green.
“Sheriff Baker’s unconstitutional actions have and will deprive law-abiding, peaceable individuals the opportunity to obtain handguns, the ‘quintessential self-defense weapon’ according to the U.S. Supreme Court, in a time where the arms are most needed,” explained attorney and FPC Director of Legal Strategy, Adam Kraut. “Sheriff Baker’s actions to stop processing and issuing required Pistol Purchase Permits violate fundamental human rights. We are proud to join GRNC and SAF in this fight to defend the rights of North Carolinians.”
In 2011, SAF and GRNC challenged the state’s ability to restrict firearms during states of emergency and won. That case was known as Bateman v. Perdue.