News Article: "Catching Up On Minnesota's Gun Permits"


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dleong
June 26, 2005, 05:24 PM
Found the following article in today's on-line edition of The Star Tribune:

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Hundreds of prospective gun-toters have lined up at sheriff's offices around Minnesota in a new rush for handgun permits since they became widely available again one month ago.

According to a state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension database, 932 permit applications have been filed since the state's 2003 handgun law, suspended for nearly a year by court rulings, went back on the books May 25.

But the BCA database lags behind actual filings, and Star Tribune checks with local sheriffs found more applications than that in the seven-county Twin Cities area alone. Those counties have seen more than twice as many applicants as during the 30 days before the law was ruled unconstitutional in mid-July 2004 on grounds related to how it was enacted.

"There was some built-up demand," said Joe Olson, president of the Gun Owners' Civil Rights Alliance and the American Association of Certified Firearms Instructors Inc. "The numbers should continue for at least another two or three months."

Handgun training that is required for a permit largely died out while the law was in limbo, Olson said. But now instructors are filling up multiple classes and "people can get in as soon as they want," he added.

The BCA last week counted 26,567 handgun permits issued statewide since April 2003, which is about twice as many as were in force under Minnesota's former, more restrictive law, which gave sheriffs and police chiefs broad discretion to deny applications.

Under both the 2003 law and the resurrected 2005 version -- "the law so nice, we passed it twice," said gun-rights activist Joel Rosenberg -- any adult who gets training and passes a background check is entitled to a permit.

The permit is good for five years at a cost of no more than $100.

But the public response so far has fallen well short of official legislative estimates that 50,000 permits would be issued in the first year and 90,000 within three years.

"We're seeing a little surge now," said Dakota County sheriff's Capt. Jeff Schwartz. "It was starting to wind down before." Dakota County has gotten 132 applications in the last month, up from 44 in the 30 days before the law was suspended last year.

The state's most populous county, Hennepin, has seen 363 handgun applications in the last month, twice as many as in the final month of issuance last year. Because sheriffs have 30 days to act on applications, many have not yet been approved.

In all, since April 2003, Hennepin County Sheriff Pat McGowan has issued 4,109 permits. Anoka County has issued 2,046 permits, Dakota County 1,759 and Ramsey County 1,730. The metro-area total is nearly 12,000.

One reason for those wishing to be armed in public to act fast is a 12-month deadline for getting a permit after completing training. But some sheriffs, such as Dave Menden of Scott County, have granted waivers to those who may have missed the deadline because the law was suspended.

"We've denied very, very few," Menden said. "I can tell you that 98 percent of the people that come in are just good citizens."

Conrad deFiebre is at cdefiebre@startribune.com.

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Link to article here (http://www.startribune.com/stories/587/5476214.html).

Given the traditionally liberal bent of The Star Tribune, I was frankly surprised at how even-handed the article was in respect to gun rights. The inclusion of the last paragraph was a particularly welcome change from the usual "streets awash with blood from gunfights" hyperbole that usually characterizes the ST's reporting of these issues.


DL

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Standing Wolf
June 26, 2005, 05:33 PM
I can tell you that 98 percent of the people that come in are just good citizens.

That's really from the Minneapolis Red Star Tribune? Amazing!

joelr
July 3, 2005, 04:17 PM
Yup. But it's a special case: Conrad is not only the best reporter at the Strib, but also a good one. I think his own, personal position is antigun -- although I'm not sure -- but he's a solid pro, and tries not to let his own politics affect his job.

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