All over the country, a number of jurisdictions have decided rights no longer matter. In particular, Second Amendment rights no longer matter.
OK, maybe that’s not entirely fair. While some have undoubtedly used the current emergency as a ready excuse to do what they’d gladly do otherwise if they thought they could get away with it, still others are just trying to keep their staffs safe and not always making the right call with regard to balancing those concerns with the rights of the American people.
For a sheriff in North Carolina, though, that decision led to an almost immediate backlash.
Wake County is temporarily suspending all pistol permit and concealed-carry services until April 30, and a pair of Republican lawmakers immediately raised red flags.
Wake County Sheriff Gerald Baker, who announced the move Tuesday, March 24, said law officials are suspending the services to help stop the spread of the coronavirus within the government building and to give the sheriff’s office time to process a growing pile of applications.
Baker said he’s not telling people they can no longer get permits.
“What we’re doing is trying to stay in line with efforts to keep this virus out of this building,” Baker said in a news conference.
It sounds to me like he’s saying that they can no longer get permits.
I mean, maybe he’s got some other way they can be fingerprinted and file the required paperwork to obtain a permit that I’m unaware of, but I don’t see how. As such, I don’t see how he’s not saying people can’t get a permit.
Of course, Baker’s comments irritated a couple of lawmakers.
Sens. Warren Daniel, R-Burke, and Danny Britt, R-Robeson, used state law in calling on Baker to end the nascent suspension.
“State law requires sheriffs to approve or reject a pistol permit within 14 days,” they said in a joint statement. “Sheriff Baker must immediately rescind his illegal decision to halt sale of pistols in Wake County.”
“People are already suspicious and on edge,” the lawmakers said. “It’s reckless to illegally suspend their Second Amendment rights just when they need assurance that they can trust government. We will also be urging our colleagues in the legislature to take action during the short session to address this illegal behavior.”
Of course, it remains to be seen if that will have any impact at all. It really depends on how other lawmakers choose to view Baker’s actions.
Look, Sheriff Baker is likely in a tough spot. I get that. As I said previously, there’s bound to be some desire to protect his people at all costs, even if that means getting in the way of someone trying to get permission to exercise their Second Amendment rights. (Again, constitutional carry now!)
And while I don’t know that he has any anti-gun sympathies that might be guiding him to some degree, but since Wake County has Raleigh in it, I’m inclined to suspect he does. That will probably not help him convince people this doesn’t have some degree of political overtones, but it may not exactly be fair.
It doesn’t matter, though. I’m with Sens. Daniel and Britt on this. This stuff needs to end.