New gun law: Some sheriff's offices worry about relaxed permit rules

2010-12-31T08:30:00Z 2012-12-24T05:16:40Z New gun law: Some sheriff's offices worry about relaxed permit rulesBy JOSH NELSON, josh.nelson@wcfcourier.com Waterloo Cedar Falls Courier

WATERLOO, Iowa --- Gun owners and sheriff's offices are preparing for new permitting requirements to kick in Saturday, though some in law enforcement have expressed concern about the law's details.

The law approved in April makes Iowa a "shall" issue state, meaning county sheriffs lose much of their discretion in denying weapons permits. Advocates say the law creates a uniform 99-county standard, but safety training requirements have some sheriffs worried.

In Black Hawk County, the switch from "can" to "shall" won't have much impact on the number of permits issued.

"We were essentially a shall-issue county," Sheriff Tony Thompson said.

Black Hawk County has around 3,000 weapons permits issued, he said.

The big change may lie in the requirements for a new permit, such as proof an applicant has weapons training. That includes prior military training, certified National Rifle Association courses or classes offered by a community college. The goal was to make safety training standard across the state, but that hasn't been achieved, Thompson said.

"It's done the exact opposite," he said.

That's because safety standards can vary around the state, he said. In the Cedar Valley, most counties, including Grundy and Bremer counties, had people take classes at Hawkeye Community College.

Bremer County Sheriff Dewey Hildebrandt said if someone from another part of the state with a safety certification, he may not know the program's criteria.

Under current law, Hildebrandt could deny someone if he was leery of that training.

"With the new process, we're essentially bound to take anyone," he said.

However, Hildebrandt said the county has also functioned as essentially a shall-issue county for some time.

The Iowa State Sheriffs and Deputies Association plans to push for standard training criteria in the upcoming session, said Hildebrandt, who is secretary/treasurer of the organization.

In Grundy County, permit issuance will change greatly, Sheriff Rick Penning said. The county now doesn't issue permits for personal protection, like in Black Hawk or Bremer counties, but Penning approves those for restricted hunting and trapping. Grundy County typically has about 140 permit renewals a year.

Penning said he doesn't think the change will affect him too much.

"It's nothing we can't get around," he said.

He shared his neighboring officials' concerns about safety as well.

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(7) Comments

  1. JustATaxpayer
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    JustATaxpayer - January 03, 2011 10:54 am
    The statement "It's nothing we can't get around" was presented in the article in a diffent context as to the way it was stated during the interview. Sheriff Penning stated that the new weapons permit law was not an issue that his office cannot adapt to and admninister as required by the new part of the Iowa Code passed in last years legislative session. Was it worded that way as to create controversy? He will issue permits as directed by the Code of Iowa. I asked him in person as to his meaning of the statement.
  2. Taxed out
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    Taxed out - December 31, 2010 8:15 pm
    When seconds count the Sheriff is minutes away . . .
  3. stormfrontmember
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    stormfrontmember - December 31, 2010 6:54 pm
    Think said: "That's why there are elections."

    Something that everyone will need to be reminded of when elections roll back around. Sheriff Penning should consider following the law instead of openly saying he will get around it. If he has contempt for the law then why should the rest of us obey the law?
  4. stormfrontmember
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    stormfrontmember - December 31, 2010 6:50 pm
    Penning is the reason we have the "shall issue" law. If he and other sheriffs were fair in issuing licenses then it would not have been needed. Often heard is that you have to be a friend of the sheriff in certain counties.

    Women are at much higher risk for sexual and physical assault. Women need a means of self protection far more than men. The blanket denials hurt women far more than men. The new law is a step at ending discrimination against women.
  5. LS7NOVA
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    LS7NOVA - December 31, 2010 4:57 pm
    There are several Sheriffs in this state that can be blamed on the new shall issue law. Grundy County Sheriff Rick Penning should be ashamed of himself for making such a statement or does he feel that he is above the law that he has sworn to uphold. I can't wait for the first Grundy County resident to be turned down for no good reason to file a lawsuit.
  6. Think
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    Think - December 31, 2010 1:09 pm
    Touchpad said: "Pendulum's always swing; doing so to have standardized training seems reasonable (maybe), but what did Grundy Sheriff Penning mean when he stated, "It's nothing we can't get around"? If he means the new "shall" permit law will not have an affect in NOT issuing permits, he's exactly the reason the new law was needed"

    That's why there are elections.
  7. Touchpad
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    Touchpad - December 31, 2010 11:18 am
    Pendulum's always swing; doing so to have standardized training seems reasonable (maybe), but what did Grundy Sheriff Penning mean when he stated, "It's nothing we can't get around"? If he means the new "shall" permit law will not have an affect in NOT issuing permits, he's exactly the reason the new law was needed
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