Lawsuit aims to test Iowa's concealed weapons law

Lawsuit aims to test Iowa's concealed weapons law

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Thread: Lawsuit aims to test Iowa's concealed weapons law

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    VIP Member Array paramedic70002's Avatar
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    Lawsuit aims to test Iowa's concealed weapons law

    Lawsuit aims to test Iowa's concealed weapons law | DesMoinesRegister.com | The Des Moines Register


    Lawsuit aims to test Iowa's concealed weapons law

    By LEE ROOD • lrood@dmreg.com • November 3, 2008


    An Ocheyedan man has filed a federal class-action lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of an Iowa law that requires individuals obtain a permit to carry a concealed weapon.

    Paul Dorr, 52, said Thursday that Osceola County Sheriff Douglas Weber wrongly denied on a political whim his and his 18-year-old son's requests for permits to carry concealed weapons.

    Dorr filed the lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Sioux City against Weber and Osceola County because Weber turned down the permit applications of both Dorr and his son in 2007. Dorr alleges that the sheriff denied his Second Amendment right to bear arms and 14th Amendment right to due process. "He just denied my permit to carry without foundation," said Dorr, a consultant for taxpayer and political groups. "That denial just brought to mind the lack of objective process that Iowa code allows for sheriffs."

    Dorr is bringing the lawsuit on behalf of anyone who has been denied a permit to carry in Iowa. The case is believed to be the first of its kind challenging part of a state code that gives sheriffs discretion in deciding who should receive permits to carry concealed weapons, according to the Iowa attorney general's office.

    It is also believed to be one of the first lawsuits since a U.S. Supreme Court decision in June called into question the constitutionality of some state and local gun permit ordinances. The decision, District of Columbia vs. Heller, shot down the district's gun ban, saying it violated an individual's right to bear arms.

    At least 35 states — including Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri and Nebraska — now mandate that concealed weapons permits be approved if applicants meet a set of criteria laid out in state law. For the second time in two years, Iowa groups such as the Iowa State Rifle and Pistol Association and IowaCarry.org are supporting a legislative proposal that would make Iowa's permit process more uniform and take discretion away from sheriffs.

    The code allows sheriffs to grant permits to carry provided applicants are 18 or older, have never been convicted of a felony, are not addicted to drugs or alcohol, and have no history of violence. The law also requires that "the issuing officer reasonably determine that the applicant does not constitute a danger to any person."

    Dorr said he was granted a permit to carry without incident from 2001 to 2007, but that changed when he went to renew his permit in August 2007. His application, he said, came after he had questioned spending within the sheriff's department and the salary of the local county attorney.

    Dorr said Weber, elected in 2005, denied his permit, saying that there were people in the county who were afraid of him.

    Weber said he would not comment on the lawsuit because he had not yet been served and he had not consulted an attorney. Robert Hansen, the county attorney, did not return a phone call Thursday seeking comment.
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    Member Array gilliland87's Avatar
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    Sheriff's are not perfect

    I truly love living in a shall issue state where someone ( read one person) doesn't have the ability to deny me my rights. I'm glad Dorr is taking up his case and hopefully Iowa will become a shall issue state with set criteria.

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    "Dorr said Weber, elected in 2005, denied his permit, saying that there were people in the county who were afraid of him."

    I don't like the Iowa system for issuing, but the above sure is an interesting if not "pregnant" comment. [lived in Iowa from 1967 to 1975 and still have friends there]

    It makes me wonder if the sheriff might not be right. He wouldn't have made such a statement unless one or the other of the following is true: a) sheriff is off his bean; b) some incident preceded the remark.

    Osceola is a pretty remote and small place. I'm sure everyone knows everyone. Somehow (though I don't like the arbitrariness of the decision), I have a hunch the sheriff is perhaps justified and this will be determined if the suit goes forward.

    BTW, there is a fairly low crime rate in IA. No place is ever totally safe, but I bet they leave their cars unlocked in Osceola.

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    VIP Member Array SIGguy229's Avatar
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    Yeah....but what about due process for Dorr? If people are "afraid" of him...big deal...has he committed a crime? been accused of committing a crime?

    I think they should apply the same standards to reporters...you know, a permit to exercise their 1A rights. They should be denied just in case they might say something that hurts someone's feelings.

    This IA law is poor and needs to be overturned, just like D.C.
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    Distinguished Member Array GWRedDragon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SIGguy229 View Post
    Yeah....but what about due process for Dorr? If people are "afraid" of him...big deal...has he committed a crime? been accused of committing a crime?
    +1 to the first part.

    As to removing guns from people who are accused of crimes, they have not been convicted yet so they should not lose their rights. If they are really that dangerous they would not have been given bail anyway.
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    VIP Member Array Eagleks's Avatar
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    I think he'll win this one.

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    The law is poor, but

    Quote Originally Posted by SIGguy229 View Post
    This IA law is poor and needs to be overturned, just like D.C.
    The lA law is poor. It needs to be changed. All I'm saying is that I have a hunch the sheriff knows this individual, and the sheriff may well be doing him a favor by keeping him from going armed.

    We all know that only a tiny percentage of folks with "issues" ever come to the attention of mental health officials, and then only after something bad has happened.

    The original story indicated that the plaintiff had previously had confrontations with town officials. The sheriff stated that folks were afraid of the plaintiff.

    We know the kind of law (shall issue) which we prefer, and I know that some would like no restrictions on who can own and carry. What we do not have good answers for is what to do about the town or community "eccentric." The "crazy Bob" who everyone knows is off but who has not done anything illegal.

    We do not know if this ("crazy Bob") is the situation in Osceola. The plaintiff might be a solid citizen with good cause for having confronted town officials. Or, the sheriff might be spot on in fearing that it would be unwise to grant the license.

    On a somewhat related note, I find it fascinating to contemplate the vast differences in law between just three neighboring states; MO, IA, MN. Or, for that matter, throw in Wisconsin and Kansas.

    For the State's rights folks, the different solutions to the same problem (to whom to issue) is instructive.

    (I would prefer one national policy--or nationwide reciprocity--but I don't think we will get there, and maybe we shouldn't.)

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    Dorr said he was granted a permit to carry without incident from 2001 to 2007, but that changed when he went to renew his permit in August 2007. His application, he said, came after he had questioned spending within the sheriff's department and the salary of the local county attorney.
    Sounds like his questioning of spending within the sheriff's department and salary of the local county attorney ruffled some feathers.

    Dorr said Weber, elected in 2005, denied his permit, saying that there were people in the county who were afraid of him.
    I'm sure every BG in the county said they were afraid of someone carrying a gun. I'm sorry, just because someone is afraid of you is no reason to be denied a permit. I'm afraid of someone who stands 6'5" and weighs 275 pounds, but is reason to deny them a permit if they apply? Unless the sheriff has a concrete reason, better than someone is afraid, the denial should be overturned and his permit should be renewed.

    For those of you from Iowa, is there not an appeal process of a denial for a permit?
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    Senior Member Array Maverickx50's Avatar
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    I lived in Ocheyedan as a very young child. Just went back there last year to research my past. It's a mile from Iowas hightst point. (keeps moving depending on the field plowing each year). maybe 3 stores and a bar. Everybody knows everybody. Even found a guy on a Sunday morning that my father had coached 55 years ago. nothing changes there including the population. I'll Bet you a box of ammo that somebody heard something from somebody that got back to the sheriff about an argument over traping muskrats or something equaly unimportant. As Iowa is a neighboring state I am truly interested in seeing it join the "must issue" list.

    Go for it and you have my support.
    I carry to protect myself and my loved ones from the BG's. Not to solve societies problems. That said: if more carried the deterrent would only have a positive overall effect on those problems.

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    VIP Member Array SIGguy229's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GWRedDragon View Post
    +1 to the first part.

    As to removing guns from people who are accused of crimes, they have not been convicted yet so they should not lose their rights. If they are really that dangerous they would not have been given bail anyway.
    I don't believe he was accused of anything...which is my point. The report stated the LEO denied the permit because people were afraid of him...nothing said the guy couldn't own guns.

    As far as the "crazy Bob" scenario...where one *might* snap, commit a crime, etc....a permit is not required to commit a crime...
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    VIP Member Array MitchellCT's Avatar
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    I have a feeling we haven't heard both sides of this story, and I'd like to know if he had any administrative appeal rights which he took before filing this lawsuit.

    As to winning this lawsuit...I duno. Maybe. Maybe not.

    I'd sure like to know why the police in Iowa felt this guy didn't qualify for a permit.

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    Senior Member Array press1280's Avatar
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    I believe IA doesn't have a state RKBA in their constitution, so this guy would need incorporation to challenge on 2A grounds(or try to get it incorporated himself). He could try 14th A grounds like has been tried in CA and other places.
    I knew IA still had the may-issue system but I thought they were fair about it like CT, meaning virtually shall-issue. There may be something else at work here.
    "The right of the whole people, old and young, men, women and boys, and not militia only, to keep and bear arms of every description, not such merely as are used by the militia, shall not be infringed, curtailed, or broken in upon, in the smallest degree..."
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    Ex Member Array Ram Rod's Avatar
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    Case of discrimination plain and simple in my book. No one person in your 'community' should ever have that power--even the sheriff. Again.....even though most of us have to go through the hoops for a CCW permit, the scrutiny, the costs, it's still a right by the constitution. Not a privilege to be denied over someone's feelings or personal retribution. If it weren't for all the lawyers, this 2nd amendment would be cut and dried, with no silly games involved.

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    VIP Member Array MitchellCT's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ram Rod View Post
    If it weren't for all the lawyers, this 2nd amendment would be cut and dried, with no silly games involved.
    I duno...

    Maybe if it weren't for Slavery, the Civil War and Jim Crow laws we wouldn't have had to reinterpret the Right to Bear Arms...

    As for silly games...I still want to know why he was denied.

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    Senior Member Array dldeuce's Avatar
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    This is great news. The combination of both no open carry and severely restricted CHL is clearly unconstitutional.

    It's a fundamental individual right for self defense. They passed the fourteenth amendment to specifically enforce the 2nd amendment onto the states. The courts will be forced to recognize incorporation. I would say very very soon.

    What I don't understand is why we're not seeing challenges like this in every state that has a similar combination of laws. The incorporation issue can be raised right along with the challenge to the laws themselves. The only issue remaining is the standard of review, and with the combination of no open carry and ridiculously restricted CHL, these won't survive any standard of review. The standard of review issue doesn't even have to be addressed just like it wasn't in Heller.

    He's going to win this case, and we can win challenges like this in every state that combines no open carry and restricted CHL. What I'm interested in is will the courts come down on the CHL laws, the open carry laws, or both?

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