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Uh oh. The People of the Gun have the folks at the Minneapolis Star-Tribune alarmed again. This time it’s reporters Brandon Stahl and Jim Ragsdale soiling themselves over the fact that Minnesotans can actually appeal a sheriff’s denial of a permit to carry application. Worse — as far as they’re concerned — is that deciding the ultimate appeal isn’t up to the sheriff, but a judge. Worst of all is the fact that those judges make the sheriffs back up their denials with actual facts and evidence. The horror . . .

LEOs used to have unfettered discretion to issue or deny permits based on (among other things) need. That led to such luminary moments as one former Chief declaring (paraphrasing here) “I don’t care if you are being chased down the street by a madman with a bloody knife; as far as I’m concerned, no civilian will ever have the ‘need’ for a permit.” Under the Personal Protection Act, though, applicants who meet certain objective criteria must be issued a permit, unless, that is:

…there exists a substantial likelihood that the applicant is a danger to self or the public if authorized to carry a pistol under a permit.

But the sheriff must tell the applicant in writing why they were denied and be prepared to back their reasoning up with facts and evidence. Under the law,

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.

Yes, that’s true; people who are ineligible do apply for permits. In 2011 alone there were 247 denials, or about 3.7% of applications. Oddly enough, Ramsey County (where the city of Saint Paul is located) supplied 6.4% of the applications and 27.1% of the denials, but I’m sure there was no abuse of discretion going on there. But here’s the part that scares Stahl and Ragsdale:

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.

What our intrepid reporters are strongly implying here is that those horrible assaulters, weapons violators, abusers, dopers and tweakers are getting permits. But while those people may apply and get denied, they usually aren’t the ones who are doing the appealing.

The ones who appeal and win are the guys who were denied because he had too many parking tickets – not moving violations, parking tickets. Or folks like my former stepson who, 15 years ago when he was 16, was involved in gangs and drugs. Since then he has been clean and sober. He now has a steady job, a wife and a couple of kids. Should he be penalized for being a stupid teenager half his lifetime ago?

Also note precisely what BS Jr. said: these dangerous, unfit people obtained permits after appealing to the sheriff or a judge. So Stahl and Ragsdale have their collective knickers in a twist because the law is working. “Bad” people are being kept from getting their permits while good people who might appear “bad” at first glance are getting the second look they need for their rights to be recognized.

But S&R reveal their true colors:

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.

Let’s rephrase that first sentence, shall we? In a system that prosecutors say is heavily weighted in favor of upholding voting rights, it’s nearly impossible to find out why the denials are overturned. I hate to break it to you guys, but in this country, the system is supposed to be heavily weighted in favor of the presumptively innocent.

Oh, and peoples’ privacy should be respected, even if they have criminal records. But S&R give us a bunch of, well, three specific examples:

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.

Since in the state of Minnesota you are ineligible to even possess a firearm, and are explicitly prohibited from getting a permit to carry if you have violated MN Statutes Chapter 152. Drugs; Controlled Substances, I’m guessing that there is more to crack cocaine boy’s story than S&R are letting on.

As for being suspected of shooting a cop, or any crime for that matter, I refer you once again to the whole concept of innocent until proven guilty, which the reporters don’t seem to even give lip service to.

Finally, just like a drug dealer, anyone who is listed in the criminal gang investigative data system under section 299C.091 is ineligible for a permit to carry, so I’m guessing that, like my stepson, S&R’s “confirmed gang member” was probably an idiot teenager and is now older and wiser.

In all three of these cases, the lack of specifics make it hard to refute the accusations. So while the two ink-stained wretches may bemoan the privacy afforded gun owners, it makes it a lot easier for them cast unchallenged aspersions and float invidious innuendo.

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.

In other words, a sheriff issues a denial stating that you beat your dog and are thus unfit to carry. Your first appeal is actually to that same sheriff. You appeal to him, submitting evidence that it was actually your neighbor who beat your dog, not you. The sheriff takes this under consideration and grants you a permit. According to S&R this is bad.

Even worse in their view, though, is that when the sheriff in question still denies your appeal, you can appeal again to a higher, impartial arbiter — in this case a judge. And worst of all, if the judge determines that the sheriff’s denial was arbitrary, capricious and outside the law, the sheriff in question has to pay for your appeal.

That section was specifically added to the law by people who had bitter experience with LEOs who preferred to deny all applications. They’d then tell the applicants that they could always appeal, knowing full well that the appeals process would cost them between $5,000 and $15,000.

The gist of the story, then, is that some people don’t like the law as it’s written. But, as reported by the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, since initial passage of the Personal Protection act there have been 121,243 permits issued and only 22 permits revoked. That a whopping revocation rate of 0.018%.

In other words, lighten up Francises, the sky isn’t falling. The law works.

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    • I must say, reading through the actual report from the State, I’m shocked that some of the appeals led to a CCW permit being issued. At least from the description in the report. I would probably bring it up if I were a reporter also.

      For example, the very first denied permit listed in the State’s report was denied because the person had: “Several assault related convictions over past 14 years.” The denial was appealed, and the decision was to issue a permit. Note it doesn’t say arrests or “suspected of,” it says convictions.

      There are worse examples than that, too. Like this one, which led to the issuance of a permit: “Felony weapons conviction and numerous felony arrests and convictions over a 20 year period which demonstrate poor judgement and behavior”

      Or: “Past arrest and conviction for carrying under the influence
      without a permit plus two other DWIs that resulted in
      cancellation of DL as immicable to public safety shows poor
      decision making”

      Start reading on PDF page 237 for a table showing all of the denials. There is a column for “YES” or “NO” as to whether the denial was appealed. Read the descriptions for the ones that were appealed. PDF link:

      ^^^^ all that said, I do not disagree with this blog post on TTAG. Everybody deserves an appeal and all decisions should be based on fact. Meaning convictions, not just accusations, etc. But there ARE guidelines as to who can and cannot own a firearm and who can and cannot carry a loaded, concealed firearm. They need to be followed. Hopefully they are being followed, and these brief descriptions do not really tell the whole story. Just trying to be honest here and part of that is admitting that, were I a reporter or a citizen of those counties/State, I would be concerned based on what I see in the report. It sounds like people are being given CCW permits when they have displayed violent behavior and have been convicted for it. Not sure I can get behind that.

    • You would imagine that women would be particularly irritated with being denied carry permits, as they benefit even more than most men due to stature equalization through the use of a firearm.

  1. Could you please point us WHERE in the law it states that one can’t possess a firearm if one has violated chapter 152? I cant find such a clause. You are inferring that a mistimenor possession = loss of 2nd Ammendment rights. The only mistimenor I have heard that carries such a punishment is domestic violence.

    • Statute 624.714 Carrying of Weapons Without Permit; Penalaties.

      Subdivision 2 lists the requirements that must be met when applying for a permit to carry. In subdivision 2 under clause (b)(4)(v) it is stated that one criteria that must be met if the sheriff is working towards approving the request is that the applicant must not be prohibited from possessing a firearm per one of the listed sections. The section in this list that pertains to Section 152 is item (v), which refers to section 624.713 Certain Persons Not To Possess Firearms. In section 624.713 under clause (4)

      “a person who has been convicted in Minnesota or elsewhere of a misdemeanor or gross misdemeanor violation of chapter 152, unless three years have elapsed since the date of conviction and, during that time, the person has not been convicted of any other such violation of chapter 152 or a similar law of another state; or a person who is or has ever been committed by a judicial determination for treatment for the habitual use of a controlled substance or marijuana, as defined in sections 152.01 and 152.02, unless the person’s ability to possess a firearm has been restored under subdivision 4;”

      Subdivision 4 of section 624.714 provides a means to restore the ability to possess even if a person was prohibited at one time per clause (4).

      So per 624.713 if you’ve been convicted in Minnesota or elsewhere of a misdemeanor or gross misdemeanor violation of chapter 152 within the past three years you are not eligible. If it has been over three years you are not automatically eligible, but you can try to have your ability to possess a firearm restored per clause (4).

      So while 152 doesn’t state you can’t possess 624.713 does using 152 as just one of the reasons you might not be eligible.

  2. An appeals process being exercised? Oh, where will this end? I hope our reporters get a gold star and extra juice box for uncovering this abuse of the legal system.

  3. And yet again, reporters display their inner yearning for fascism.

    Heaven forbid anyone have recourse against an arbitrary and capricious denial.

  4. We had our fill of Sheriff discretion in Iowa. I had a carry license in one county for 4 years before moving to the next county over. I applied to the sheriff in the new county expecting a mere shuffling of the paperwork and a fee. Boy was I wrong. The sheriff stamped denied on my application, did not want to come out and talk to me on why when I got the denial at the courthouse. I followed up with a phone call to his office to inquire about what I felt was an error in paperwork. He said he didn’t feel I had a need and if I did have a need… “He had been tricked before.” by previous applicants. In Iowa, before the Shall Issue Law, the sheriff was the final word with no appeal process. It took two years before we could get the law changed and for the better in my opinion. Now if a sheriff does deny a license he has to meet specific qualifications and put them in writting. It now can be appealed before a judge as well.

  5. > To Reporters’ Horror, Minnesotans Following the Law

    It’s like the 1990s all over again.

    The proponents of the 1994 “assault weapons ban” demanded that manufacturers remove flash hiders, bayonet lugs, and folding stocks from their products.

    When manufacturers complied with the law by removing those features, they were then accussed of “skirting” or “evading” the law.

    • And the famous “gun show loophole”. Never mind that private sales had been discussed by legislators and, for various reasons, those legislators decided to exclude private sales from background checks. All of a sudden it became a “loophole” as if some invisible error in the law was being exploited by clever, rogue citizens. There will always be those who need to be wringing their hands and peeing their pants over something. Sadly, many of them become reporters and politicians.

  6. Do legislators need to write an addendum to the law that includes what the spirit if the law is? Sheesh. “This is what we say, this is what we mean. We say STFU, we mean STFU”.

      • The use of sucky pejoratives like”libitard” or “libtard” makes us all look bad. Please use something catchy and accurate like “proglodyte.”

        • Naw, they are all infected with the nearly always fatal virus “progressivus idiotus”!

          But telling an anti if they are so proud of their beliefs they should display it openly, by wearing a Star of David (SOD for short) tends to get their knickers in an uproar!

  7. RE-RE-Phrase
    “In a system that prosecutors say is heavily weighted in favor of upholding voting rights, it’s nearly impossible to find out why THE WERE DENIED IN THE FIRST PLACE.”

  8. Thanks for telling a good story and keeping the numbers light, Bruce. They get a bit hard to wade through after a while. These windbags need new jobs.

  9. “… the sky isn’t falling. The law works.”

    The sky IS falling for the leftist media, precisely because the law does work: More guns in the hands of good people results in less crime against those good people, with the occasional “acute failure of the victim selection process” by a low-life (who is thus removed from the gene pool). This deeply offends the left, because more crime results in a perceived need for more government power to “prevent” the crime. As evidence, look at England since they banned private ownership of guns. Their violent crime rate, home invasions, street muggings for cell phones, rapes – all of these are now the highest in the western world. The British government reaction? Calls for knife control.

    What they are really in favor of is control of the peasants – everyone except the ruling elites.

  10. I hate to keep trolling, but it’s becomming a personal campagin to me. I read the article, and just about the time I get ready to comment you sneak one of those annoying AUTO PLAY video advertisments on me. PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE…can someone turn them off? Or at least give ME the option to turn them off…:(

  11. A few other concerns I had when reading that POS article: (1) the omission of the shall issue statute was purposeful (if the readers looked it up and read it, they walk away from this article shaking their heads and circling their eyes like the rest of us did); (2) S&R conflate “arrest” and “conviction” in order to arrive at shocking examples of prevailing appellants (they demonstrate a lack of understanding of, or respect for, fundamental notions of due process and innocent until proven guilty); (3) S&R conflate violent and nonviolent crimes for reasons, well, refer to (2) above; (4) S&R interviewed Tony Cornish for this story but included NONE of Cornish’s comments (instead S&R included multiple quotes from one Michael Paymar); and… and… and… and………… Bottom line, these “journalists” are unprofessional — biased, cause-driven, deceptive, manipulative, and sophomoric. Whether it was a conscsious or subconscious decision, they wanted to write a “game changing” article that would influence this debate. To do it, they employed Enron accounting tricks to yield “shocking” statistics, and threw due process under the bus to do it. They apparently have little or no knowledge as to basic law, criminal justice, government, or statistics — or journalism. Or, conversely, they assume their readers have no such knowledge or awareness. A Facebook friend, who is coworker and lawyer who sides with the gun control advocates, stated, “I’m embarrassed. If we win this debate, this certainly isn’t the way I wanted it to happen.” The Star Tribune was once a proud paper of record. Sure, we’d get a biased journalist who would test discretion with rhetorical tricks. But now this paper has evolved into a dog-whistling tabloid that seeks to enrage, shock, and surprise for the sake of readership and, in turn, revenue. This Stahl and Ragsdale piece jolted the paper further down that path.

  12. Obviously, if your shoes are untied you are unfit to carry a gun. The grabbers will play games till its too costly to play games, like deputy dog there, Randy

  13. “Should he be penalized for being a stupid teenager half his lifetime ago?”
    If you can’t do the time(or accept the consequences that go along with getting caught), then don’t do the crime. Not saying I’ve never done anything illegal, I assure you I have at some point in my life. But if I was caught doing something illegal that would revoke my right to carry, I would have no one to blame but myself.

    • Agreed. Just because someone does something in their youth does not make it forgivable x number of years down the road. The decisions we make in our lives, good and bad, have consequences that you just have to deal with. If there is a way to fix bad decisions, great. If not then you just deal with it. You might be the model citizen later in life, but that doesn’t automatically erase any transgressions that occurred earlier in your life.

      • Boy was *I* mistaken. Here I was, thinking that actions taken within one’s misguided youth, provided they were not too atrocious, can be forgiven – with good behavior – in one’s adulthood.

        Thanks for straightening me out on that.

        Once a criminal, always a criminal.

        • We seem to have an undo amount of statists here. Some of the pro gun people aren’t pro freedom, let alone willing to forgive people who have turned their lives around. I guess Bruce’s stepson should be doing life without parole.

    • Not sure I agree with that. In a just legal system there has to be proportionality between the severity of the crime and the severity of punishment. Lifetime loss of a fundamental civil right is pretty severe punishment, especially since there are ways one can become a felon without even having victimized anyone. There ought to be some way to restore such rights (including voting rights) after having proved you are rehabilitated. It seems like 10 or 20 years of responsible citizenship should be enough to get the monkey off your back.

  14. I agree with the post. Having been in the military, civilian police and now Federal, I can tell you that some people change and some do not. More often than not the ones who make the positive change, change for good (i.e., they’ve learned their lesson). It’s pretty obvious from viewig a person’s rap sheet who has not, nor ever will make the change. It should take a judge about 5 minutes to interview and review the person’s history to make an appeal decision, and be pretty confident in it.

    We all did stupid stuff when we were teenagers, most of us don’t get caught because we weren’t serious criminals. Just kids having fun and were not old enough to realize that were are accountable for our actions. That’s why the juvi system was created, to seal your deeds when you’re 17 and under and give you a fresh start when you finally realize that this shit is for real. That’s why things like murder, rape, robbery, etc can be waived for juveniles because in the end, somethings are not forgivable. The rest is all about growing up, making mistakes, learning from them and entering adulthood.

  15. Im with Chas on his comment awesome.

    Over shows media are as fascist as Obama. They dont want even court appeal for those who oppose them politically.

    I hope all over the nation this year let make reporters crap there pants!!!

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