Sunday, October 7, 2012

What I Did This Morning

Grass Roots North Carolina, the state's more aggressive gun rights organization, usually has a booth at all the major gun shows across the state. These booths - like the organization itself - are staffed by volunteers. Knowing the election was coming up and with the Complementary Spouse out of town taking care of family matters, I thought helping out at the Asheville Gun & Knife Show would be an ideal way to spend a few hours.

Our job was to introduce people to GRNC, hand out voter guides, and hopefully sign up new members. While the show opened at 10am, it took a while for people to start showing up. I'm guessing a lot of folks either went on Saturday or they were at church.

John Hammond, who coordinates these efforts in the mountains for GRNC, told me that he had handed out over 300 voter guides on Saturday. He also told me that the Republican nominee for the 11th Congressional District, Mark Meadows, had visited the booth yesterday along with Rep. Joe "You Lie!" Wilson (R-SC) and the 2010 Republican nominee Jeff Miller of Hendersonville.

In the three hours that I worked the booth, I'd estimate we spoke with 50-75 people. Some were already members, some had never heard of GRNC, and some were interested in joining in the future. After running into 3-4 people who said they were not registered to vote, we started asking people if they were registered to vote before giving out a voter guide. Those that were registered were genuinely interested in the voter guide. I stressed that we were non-partisan and that in some cases the Democrat actually was ranked better than the Republican.

I have to admit that I was somewhat dumbfounded that we ran into that many unregistered voters. I guess I shouldn't be but with the ease of registration nowadays it makes it hard to say you didn't have an opportunity. We never pressed it as we thought the deadline for registration was this past Friday (30 day before the election). However, checking the State Board of Elections website, I found that the deadline will actually be this Friday, October 12th. Given this, it would have been a good idea for GRNC, the NRA, or another gun rights organization to have had a voter registrar available to register these potential voters.

All in all, I had a good time. Of course, since I was already at the show, I had to do a little shopping. I came home with some Greek 30-06 ammo in en bloc clips, a couple of AK magazines, and a smattering of other stuff but no new guns.


  1. I had fun when I worked gun shows with GRNC. I need to do some more.

  2. John: Excellent piece. Thanks for the coverage. You are right about registering voters at shows. Ironically, we had an effort going at several gun shops on Saturday to register voters and hand out voter guides but, in the heat of the election preparations, never extended that to the Asheville show.

    In working shows over 18 years, I have also discovered a surprising contingent of gun owners, with whom exchanges have gone like this:

    "Sir, are you registered to vote?"


    "Would you like to register? We can do it right now."


    They seem to feel they are off the radar which, of course, they are not. Gun owners who don't participate in the process, whatever their excuse, should realize that politicians will control their lives whether or not they choose to participate in the political process. Your best bet is to choose the politicians who make those decisions.

    Our "Remember in November" voter guide, covering 300+ candidates for most races in the state, is available at: and GRNC Political Victory Fund candidate recommendations will be out before October 15. As you note, the deadline for registration (either postmarked or hand delivered to your county board of elections by 5:00 PM) is Oct. 12, while early voting begins on October 18.

    We plan on mailing Remember in November voter to roughly 90,000 gun-owning voters on or before Oct. 15. You will also be able to find printed voter guides in attractive displays in about 45 gun shops across the state, and through several dozen gun clubs.

    If you live in one of a couple of dozen selected "focus districts," you might also receive a GRNC-PVF postcard "election alert" advocating specific candidates. With apologies for potential annoyance, you might also get a robocall from GRNC-PVF. Annoying though they may be, robocalls are a cheap way to get the message to tens of thousands of voters. The Asheville area, for example, is within the 11th Congressional, where we are VERY interested in installing Mark Meadows for congress.

    The bottom line is that GRNC is pulling out all the stops in what is, by my estimation, our last and only chance to not only preserve gun rights, but also our culture. If you can help us, we can certainly use it. To donate to GRNC-PVF, go to:

    As most of you know, GRNC does not pay multi-million dollar salaries like a certain other group. In fact, we don't pay anybody at all. We are all-volunteer, meaning we will use YOUR money more efficientlyl and effectively than anybody else in defending your rights.

    Paul Valone
    President, Grass Roots North Carolina

    1. Paul - Thanks for the kind words. Both John and I assumed that registration was closed (30 days, etc. rules). We did hand out a lot of voter guides.

      Thanks for the update on the plans on the mailings this fall.

      As someone noted at the Gun Rights Policy Conference, this is not the most important election in our lifetime. It is the most dangerous election in our lifetime because of the consequences of getting it wrong.

    2. Doesn't registering to vote generally "put you on the radar" for jury duty?

    3. Oh, I think that the State is more creative than that. You now have to prove legal presence to get a driver's license. That means proving citizenship or legal resident status. Guess what that means for all you guys trying to avoid jury duty?

      And in other news, avoiding your civic duty as a member of the jury pool is a douche maneuver. Grow up, man up, and tend to your adult responsibilities.

    4. Indeed, but as long as this once true meme hangs around....

      And I'd quibble about your last point. Many places are OK, but some are notorious for treating potential jurors in a very shabby way, e.g. making them sit in a jury pool for days or weeks before calling them in for a trial or releasing them.

      There's also the problem that plenty of us can't afford the time for a long trial, not even considering the low remuneration that's provided. For a large fraction of my working life, getting in one of those would have cost me my job (sometimes indirectly, as in projects wouldn't have gotten done and the company would have failed).

    5. @hga: The Clerk of Superior Court for the individual counties do use the voter rolls to assemble their jury pool. However, they also use the property tax rolls including both real estate and personal property (cars) as well. Never forget that a judge can order the sheriff/bailiff to round up people off the street to be part of the jury pool. It's legal and has been done before.

      I was called for jury duty last year. It was only the 2nd time in over 35 years that I'd been called. I only had to show up for one morning and was quickly excused when they tried to seat me because I said I thought the plaintiff's atty was scum. He'd represented someone against my late wife years ago.

      Most judges would excuse someone from having to serve on long trials if the person said it would cause a hardship.

  3. Beauty is power the same way money is power the same way a gun is power.

  4. John, thanks for volunteering. I also help out at GRNC booths in the Eastern part of NC. I find it both interesting and rewarding to talk with members of our community at these events.

    The lack of voter registration you encountered is, I fear, part of a larger issue.

    Since I teach the NC CCH and NRA Basic Pistol courses, I get quite a few questions from attendees about concealed carry. When I explain the law as written and enforced, a fair number (approaching 50%) eventually tell me that they intend to continue committing violations without regard to NC or Federal law.

    I think that there is an undercurrent of being "outside the main stream" in our gun community. A feeling (constantly reinforced by the media) of something being wrong with law abiding gun owners. Not registering to vote is another expression of this social isolation.

    The fact is that lawful gun owners ARE the main stream of American society. We are the largest majority group of our population, crossing all other ethnic, adult age, geographic and artificial social lines.

    It has to help if a grass roots organization helps citizens understand this.


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  6. I recently received a newsletter from the NC State Board of Elections, entitled The 2012 General Election Voter Guide. On the cover page it states that One-Stop absentee voting begins on Oct. 18th. Individuals who missed the registration deadline, if qualified, may register in person and vote at a One-Stop voting site. One-Stop absentee voting ends at 1:00 PM (may be extended as late as 5:00 PM in some counties) on Nov. 3rd.

    So, as you can see, there's still plenty of time to register and vote. With the opportunity to do it quickly and conveniently.

    Check with your local county elections office for locations.

    1. @Anon: That's good information for NC residents who are not registered to vote. Thanks for posting it.

      Now if someone plans to vote for Obama, ignore the post above. It's all wrong... :-)