Appeals of denied permits get guns in...

Appeals of denied permits get guns into questionable hands

Posted in the Minneapolis Forum

Awful Truth

Saint Paul, MN

#1 Feb 18, 2013
Article by: BRANDON STAHL and JIM RAGSDALE , Star Tribune staff writers

Updated: February 17, 2013 - 6:40 AM

Sheriffs deny permit applications, only to have them overturned.

Minnesotans with histories of assaults, weapons violations, domestic violence and narcotics offenses are regularly denied a permit to carry a loaded firearm because sheriffs consider them a threat to themselves or the public.

Despite their backgrounds, many of them appeal. And win.

Since 2003, at least 299 people deemed too dangerous or otherwise unfit for a gun-carry permit were able to obtain them on appeal to the sheriff or a judge, a Star Tribune analysis shows.

In a system that prosecutors say is heavily weighted in favor of permit seekers, it's nearly impossible to find out why the denials are overturned. State law protects the privacy of gun owners, prohibiting law enforcement from releasing any data that could identify them -- even if they have criminal records.

In Hennepin County, one applicant had a felony conviction for manufacturing and dealing crack cocaine. Another in Ramsey County was suspected of shooting at a law enforcement officer. An Olmsted County applicant was a confirmed gang member. Each got a permit on appeal.

Most of the permits are granted upon a second review by the sheriff, but some are decided by judges in closed hearings. Law enforcement agencies that lose an appeal are required by state law to pay for the applicants' legal fees.

"This is shocking," Rep. Michael Paymar, DFL-St. Paul, said after reviewing records the Star Tribune compiled. Paymar, who is leading the Minnesota House's efforts to control gun violence, said the appeals records provide another reason to re-evaluate the state's 10-year-old law that allows permits to carry.

Under Minnesota's "shall issue" law, passed in 2003 as part of a national campaign by the National Rifle Association, applicants are presumed to have a right to carry a weapon unless sheriffs can document disqualifying reasons. Since then, about 96 percent of gun-carry permit applications have been approved.

Of those who are denied as potentially dangerous, only about one-third appeal. But those appeals succeed about half the time.

James Franklin, executive director of the Minnesota Sheriffs' Association, said reversals can be a frustration to sheriffs.

"There are cases where a judge has determined that a party will have a permit. Do we as law enforcement always agree with that? We may not. That's why we denied it in the first place," Franklin said. "Are we concerned? Sometimes you hold your breath. Other times you find that nothing happened."

But Joseph Olson, a Hamline law professor and longtime leader of the Minnesota Gun Owners Civil Rights Alliance, said he's confident that sheriffs and judges are making decisions that protect the public. He said the law rightly requires sheriffs to justify their denials.
Awful Truth

Saint Paul, MN

#2 Feb 18, 2013
More innocent citizens will be slaughtered by guns in the near future unless the laws change.

Since: Sep 11

Rogers, MN

#3 Feb 18, 2013
And with any luck the criminals will be found and prosecuted. Although that does not seem to be the case in Chicago.
Bushwhacker

Kent, WA

#4 Feb 18, 2013
Same old fool, who fights employment of public employees, wonders why insufficient numbers can't keep up ??

Gotta be the best example of hypocrisy you've posted... LMAOROTFU~!~!!

Good "work" cantgetitup...
Awful Truth

Saint Paul, MN

#5 Feb 19, 2013
More innocent citizens will be slaughtered by guns in the near future unless the laws change.

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