Ever since a Jim Crow-era firearm registry in Durham County was repealed by the North Carolina legislature in June, a battle has waged over what to do with cabinets of leftover records that have finally seen their conclusion.

The law, enacted in 1935, required gun owners to register their firearms with the county clerk.

Repealed by unanimous vote of the state house in Raleigh, attention soon turned to the files themselves, gathered over eight decades. Durham County’s Superior Court clerk, who is responsible for the files, said they had historical value and called them a time capsule of sorts for gun registration that spanned almost a century. The clerk proposed to donate them to the state archives to endure in perpetuity.

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