How Sean Penn got gun permit


April 30, 2003, 04:11 PM

So why was actor Sean Penn toting a loaded 9mm Glock handgun and unloaded .38-caliber Smith & Wesson in the trunk of a car that wound up being stolen?

Fear that an ex-employee of Penn's was stalking him, according to confidential documents he submitted to the Ross Police Department as part of his application for a concealed-weapons permit back in 2001.

The documents, released to us under a state Public Records Act request, also show that Penn underwent an extensive background check and firearms training before being issued the permit early last year.

The records show that the actor had routinely received threats over the years as a result of his "high-profile public lifestyle."

He even had a private security firm review all the crank calls and letters and give him "threat assessments."

Most were nothing, but one former employee was rated as being "in the worst category of pursuers," according to a report submitted by Penn's security outfit to Ross police.

The man -- who according to the threat assessors was trained in martial arts and had prior arrests for possessing a concealed weapon -- repeatedly tried contacting Penn after he was fired.

Penn admitted to using marijuana 20 years ago and had a couple of arrests for assault and driving recklessly, factors that could have disqualified him for a permit for carrying a concealed weapon. In this case, however, Penn got FBI and state Department of Justice clearance and completed firearms training early last year.

Then, earlier this month, someone stole Penn's car with the guns inside while Penn was at a Berkeley restaurant. The car was recovered -- but the guns are still out there.

By the way, not everyone has to jump through the hoops the way Penn did in Marin to carry concealed heat. It all depends on where you live.

For example, only 44 permits were issued in Marin in 2000, the most recent year for which records are available, according to the state attorney general's office. In San Francisco, there were just eight -- the fewest in the state.

San Francisco's liberal Sheriff Michael Hennessey simply refuses to grant permits. And acting Police Chief Alex Fagan says, "I just don't give them unless there is an articulable need."

If you really want a gun, head on down to wide-open Kern County, where officials issued an eye-popping 3,566 concealed-weapons permits in 2000.

Shasta County at the north end of the state wasn't far behind, with 2,972. Authorities there tell us they pretty much issue a permit to any "law-abiding citizen" who's been in the county for a year, passes a basic background check and takes a gun safety course.

But Alameda County Sheriff Charlie Plummer, whose office currently has 137 concealed-weapons permits on file -- down from 150 in 2000 -- says simply being "a law-abiding citizen" doesn't cut it in his county.

"I have some good friends who are law-abiding, but they also have hair- trigger tempers," Plummer said.

As a result, Plummer said he has some rules for issuing permits -- like showing a "real need."

Most notable of those with a "real need" is state senator and gun control advocate Don Perata, who has had one for years because of reported threats against him.

Eight judges, several attorneys, businessmen in high-crime areas and a diamond dealer also made the grade.

One who didn't was Mayor Jerry Brown's longtime aide, Jacques Barzaghi.

Plummer called that permit "political," forcing Barzaghi to get one from the Oakland Police Department instead.

One other thing. Plummer said he requires every applicant to see "a psychiatrist of my choosing -- and they pay for it."

MAKING THE CASE: Despite what some people may think, San Francisco doesn't need a new district attorney -- it needs a new office for the district attorney.

At least that's what D.A. Terence Hallinan said Monday night as he faced off against Bill Fazio and Kamala Harris in the first debate of what promises to be yet another knock-down, drag-out election for the job as the city's top lawman.

To some, it might have seemed like a strange opening statement for lightning-rod Hallinan to make.

But then, those who know Hallinan never cease to be amazed at his ability to float above his critics and eventually land on his feet.

His appearance before the largely yuppie, gay crowd at the "Plan C Club" was a case in point.

To hear his opening remarks, you'd have never known that Hallinan had just had half the police brass indicted -- only to have a judge toss out the charges and take a slap at his lack of ethics for pursuing the case.

Nor would you have known about his beefs with Mayor Willie Brown over his failure to prosecute homeless people and drunks for quality-of-life crimes.

You wouldn't have even heard about his victory in the Diane Whipple dog- mauling case.

Instead, Hallinan came out of the gate with what he thought was the biggest problem facing the D.A.'s office -- the office itself, as in the walls and wiring.

"When I first came in eight years ago, the attorneys didn't even have computers," Hallinan said.

"I said I'd get them. They said we don't have the wiring. I said we'll rewire the place. They said you can't because of the asbestos in the walls."

And it didn't stop there.

"When the Hall (of Justice) first opened," Hallinan recalled, "it had a cafeteria and a parking lot -- now it has neither."

Hallinan completed his architectural appraisal by promising that if re- elected, one of his top priorities would be, of all things, to build a new state-of-the-art Hall of Justice.

Presumably, one with better dining and parking.

If you enjoyed reading about "How Sean Penn got gun permit" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!
George Hill
April 30, 2003, 04:20 PM

He is one jerkhole that needs to watch his back.

April 30, 2003, 04:35 PM
"if you've got the money I've got the time."

Celebrities and politicians aren't people. Didn't you get the memo?

Case in point, a few years back the Denver Post published a list of CCW holders in Denver, almost ALL of the names had a little (D) or (R) after their names. ie the poiliticos were voting themselves priviledges WE didn't have.

4v50 Gary
April 30, 2003, 05:13 PM
A jerk----, George? Personally, I like Sean Penn - to punch my lights out in front of a bunch of TV cameramen. We're talking out of court settlement, $ towards retirement or a house in addition to an exclusive to the Nasty Enquirer (Empty minds wanna no) and interview on tee vee on the late nite show, blah blah blah. Book rights? Probably can't go that far.

Heck, I can't even afford the taxes on his home in Ross (each house there is $1 mil).

May 1, 2003, 12:38 AM
Gary, I'm a firm believer thats the reason a lot of these stars end up thinking there really "tough guys". Shove a photographer little he goes down crying for the bucks and they get thinking they are the baddest mo-fo on the planet. Maybe one of these days Sean will shove somebody without such long term planning abilities:uhoh:

I recall the story about ten years ago of a huge NFL football lineman who decided to go teach four 140 pound teenagers a little manners- ended up they had spent more time fighting in the streets than working up nuisance lawsuits and beat him into a coma in front of his wife :(

Life often bites and not everybody gets what they deserve but maybe the real "stars" will align just right, and Mr. Penn will meet Mr. Darwin ;)

Jim March
May 1, 2003, 01:56 AM
More info here:

May 1, 2003, 02:21 AM
The quotes from most of the Sheriffs in the PRK makes me want to :barf:

How about twoblink for Marin county Sheriff??

If I was the Sheriff, show me a good 40 hours of training, a clean background, and no criminal record, and I'll make it pretty much shall issue... (THE WAY IT OUGHT TO BE)

If you enjoyed reading about "How Sean Penn got gun permit" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!