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FBI probes CCW cronyism in CA (Jim March was right!)

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by gunsmith, Aug 10, 2007.

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  1. gunsmith

    gunsmith member

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    http://www.sacbee.com/101/story/316453.html

    FBI reportedly probes gun permits
    Suit alleges ex-Sheriff Blanas issued licenses for concealed weapons as political favors.
    By Christina Jewett - Bee Staff Writer

    Published 12:00 am PDT Thursday, August 9, 2007
    Story appeared in MAIN NEWS section, Page A1

    The FBI is looking into concealed-gun permits issued by the Sacramento County Sheriff's Department, according to documents filed in a lawsuit that alleges former Sheriff Lou Blanas issued permits as political favors.

    Documents filed Friday in the federal civil rights suit say FBI investigators have requested gun permit documents from the department, which include a permit Blanas issued to Sacramento businessman Edwin G. Gerber. Gerber gave $3,500 to Blanas' election campaign, election records show, and bought a vacation home with Blanas in Reno in the fall of 2005, according to property records.

    The former sheriff signed Gerber's gun permit a day before leaving office last summer. He issued the approval without following the department's usual procedure, which calls for a three-person committee to review applications from people asking to carry a loaded gun in public, according to interviews and court documents.


    FBI spokesman Steven Dupre declined to say whether an investigation was taking place.

    Sacramento County Sheriff John McGinness said he could not comment on any possible FBI review.

    Law enforcement sources said the FBI did request information from the department's concealed-weapons permit division. But those sources said they had no knowledge of whether Gerber's application was included in that request.

    Blanas and Gerber did not return repeated calls from The Bee.

    State law says sheriffs and police chiefs can award concealed-weapon permits based on "good cause" to people of "good moral character."

    The Sacramento County Sheriff's Department sets the bar higher. Applicants typically are interviewed by a deputy and required to take a gun safety class in addition to facing the review panel.

    McGinness said the permit approval committee was put in place more than a decade ago to keep the elected sheriff from deciding who gets the permits and giving the appearance of political motivation.

    He said the system has worked generally well, but here, as in many counties, it is a "nebulous" endeavor that he'd like to see better organized.

    McGinness said Gerber's application was for an "emergency permit" that should have lasted 90 days -- instead of the two years of most permits.

    Gerber said in his application that he carried "large sums of cash" and wore expensive jewelry.

    The department revoked Gerber's permit in December -- five months after it was issued, McGinniss said.

    Attorney John Lavra, who works for a private firm that contracts with the county, represents Blanas and the county in the civil rights suit. He would not comment specifically on Gerber's permit, saying only that all permits are issued for good reason.

    About 250 civilians hold gun-carry permits issued by the Sacramento County Sheriff's Department, officials said. While it is legal to have a gun in one's house or business, it is a crime to walk around with a loaded gun without a permit.

    The lawsuit, filed in December 2003 when Blanas was sheriff, alleges that Blanas denied David Mehl, a chemical engineer, and Lok T. Lau, a retired FBI agent, equal protection under the law when his office turned down their applications for gun-carry permits.

    "It's about political influence, power and money," said their attorney Gary Gorski. "Anyone who gives money to the sheriff and applies for a (permit), gets a (permit). There are a lot of people who apply for one and need one but don't get one."

    Lavra said both men were denied permits for good cause and in accordance with long-standing policy.

    "We believe that the undisputed evidence in the case will show that each were denied a (weapon) license based upon legal and legitimate and sound reasons," Lavra said.

    On Friday, Gorski filed documents claiming Blanas' attorneys have been withholding evidence in the federal case.

    U.S. Magistrate Judge Kimberly Mueller ruled Monday that Gorski and Blanas' attorneys should try to work out their disagreement before an Aug. 22 hearing about the evidence.

    In the paperwork filed Friday, Gorski says a Sheriff's Department clerk told him during a sworn deposition that the FBI was investigating gun-carry permits. That includes Gerber's hand-scrawled application, Gorski said.

    Continue reading on next page

    The application contains only a brief explanation for why Gerber was seeking to carry a loaded gun: "Carry large sums of cash $4,000-$5,000. Wear $45,000 watch & rings -- expensive jewelry."

    On the cover sheet, the word "approved" is checked, and the comments line says simply: "Approved by Sheriff Blanas," with his signature.

    McGinness said Gerber's permit was revoked in December when officials noted that the 90-day period had passed and that Gerber had not provided proof of completing a gun safety class.

    On Dec. 19, Gerber sent a letter to the department stating that when he applied for the permit, he told Blanas he had been assaulted three times in Sacramento restaurants and bars, increasing his need for protection. Gerber had not included that information in his application or filed police reports, McGinness said.

    In May -- five months after the department had pulled Gerber's permit -- Blanas called and suggested the new sheriff revoke the permit because the threat against Gerber no longer existed, McGinness said.

    Gorski said hundreds of applicants with more compelling needs to carry a gun have been rejected over the years. His filings allege that six major Blanas contributors were issued weapon permits, as well as several business associates of Blanas and his wife.

    According to campaign finance filings, Gerber's company, Energetic Paint & Drywall Inc., gave $1,500 to Blanas in August 2003, part of a $3,500 contribution during the election cycle.

    Two years later, Gerber, Blanas and his wife, Nanette Blanas, took out a $518,000 loan together for a house worth $647,000 in Reno, records from the Washoe County assessor and recorder show.

    Elections records show that Gerber made two $5,000 contributions to McGinness in August 2006. McGinness returned both, records show.

    "That was money I didn't need, so I gave it back," he said.

    McGinness said he has assigned new captains and chiefs to the permit-review panel. He said he plans to change the system, making it computer-based and standardized. He said he will have veto power over permits awarded from now on.
     
  2. robert garner

    robert garner Member

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    Wow!!!
    I never had the luxury of having money I didn't need!
    Cronyism naw nothin to see here same o same o.robert
     
  3. LawBot5000

    LawBot5000 Member

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    Welcome to Florida, circa 1985. This is why we went shall-issue. It is just one less reason for people to bribe the sheriff. There were obviously other reasons too, but corruption is a problem in every may issue system.
     
  4. Kharn

    Kharn Member

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    I hope we get to see perp-walk photos.

    Kharn
     
  5. Noxx

    Noxx Member

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    Wish they'd get on down to LA county. We can all have a chat about Ben Afleck's CCW.
     
  6. Scanr

    Scanr Member

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    California is just wrong on so many levels.....
     
  7. Jim March

    Jim March Member

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    Gary Gorski has all my old data on Sacramento. It's a decent-size file, I'll post it later today.
     
  8. glockman19

    glockman19 Member

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    all the more reason to take CCW out of the local Sherif's jurisdiction and allow the AG to process applicetions & issuance in a Shall Issue Basis.
     
  9. Zoogster

    Zoogster Member

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    The AG? I think CCW would then be completely denied altogether. Edmund G. Brown Jr. is a longtime supporter of increased gun control.
    Between Sacramento, San Francisco, and LA I think the state would vote more against shall issue than for it if put to a vote. San Francisco in fact has voted to ban guns or types of guns or handguns etc and such measures pass, and if not preempted by state law would not allow firearms at all. That is the will of the people in such places. (The preemption is ironic in that it was due to state level anti gunners wanting to keep localities from allowing less strict control and so made sure the CA DOJ has the authority in regulations relating to sale of firearms etc, so SF cannot write legislation regarding the sale of guns due to previous anti gunners at the state level)They have been made to view guns as the source of the evil and many in such places have only experienced them in the media or through criminal violence in the hands of criminals. When told that if guns are not allowed violence would stop, they are quick to embrace that logic and vote accordingly.

    I almost applauded the FBI in investigating this issue. Then I noticed the main reason behind it was the denial of a retired FBI agent while allowing others politicly connected. Just standing up for one of thier own, and it just happens to argue and draw attention to corruption on an issue that helps us.

    The thread title almost had me excited.
     
  10. Jeff Timm

    Jeff Timm Member

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    Heck,
    It's been going on all over the country for years. In some baliwicks a "Special Deputy" appointment allowed the sherriff's friends to carry concealled anywhere in Ohio, long before the law passed.

    Geoff
    Who now lives in FL.
     
  11. Leanwolf

    Leanwolf Member

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    ZOOGSTER - "The AG? I think CCW would then be completely denied altogether. Edmund G. Brown Jr. is a longtime supporter of increased gun control."


    Yep. Zoogster is 100% correct. Calif. A.G. Jerry "Moonbeam" Brown is against the worker peasants being allowed to protect their own lives from vicious criminals. He is now and always has been, not only as Governor, but as Mayor of Oakland, and now Attorney General of Calif. He's also as nutty as a bucket of bolts.

    L.W.
     
  12. gunsmith

    gunsmith member

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    as a retired FBI

    Lok should now be covered by hr212, the good thing is cases like this present a good argument for shall issue
     
  13. Zoogster

    Zoogster Member

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    That is the problem with LEO exemptions, once the LEO's are exempt there is no longer any reason for the big LEO agencies to stand up and fight injustices as they no longer apply to them.
    It also keeps crooked gun related practices out of the public eye. It takes a lot of money to challenge injustices, and federal LEOs can do it fairly cheap as they are already on the clock and just investigate it, while a private individual has to pay long term for lawyers to fight. Investigating is also easier for LEO than private individuals because people are more likely to talk with them.

    Law makers realize local state and federal LEOs have a credible voice in challenging gun rights violations, so rather than leave them on the side of gun rights by fighting the same injustices and getting them overturned, they exempt LEO as a special class of citizens more "equal" than the rest to avoid that conflict. As a result many departments reverse thier opinions and have formal policies in favor of gun control for others.
    So gun owners lose a powerful ally and gain a powerful foe.
     
  14. Standing Wolf

    Standing Wolf Member in memoriam

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    I hope it rains shiny new silver dollars later this evening, too.

    If you think the F., the B., and the I. are going to do anything to recognize the right of the people to keep and bear arms, I've some lovely oceanfront property in Kansas to sell you at a very reasonable price.
     
  15. jt1

    jt1 Member

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    When I was scanning the thread titles all I saw was "FBI probes Jim March" LOL. Jim, glad I misread! :)
     
  16. zoom6zoom

    zoom6zoom Member

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    No, that was the aliens.

    I guess the reason was that it "sounded" like a good idea not to issue them.
     
  17. Jim March

    Jim March Member

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    YOU'RE glad!?

    :D
     
  18. SaxonPig

    SaxonPig Member

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    I grew up in Fresno, CA and it was well know that if you wanted a carry permit it took $500 to the sheriff's re-election campaign.
     
  19. akodo

    akodo Member

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    As others have said, no big suprise.

    What always stands out to me in articles like this is that the author must continually state that this is a permit to carry a LOADED gun, and they have to train to carry a LOADED gun, and you can have a LOADED gun in your home but you cannot walk around with LOADED gun unless you have a permit which authorizes you to carry a concealed and LOADED gun
     
  20. Librarian

    Librarian Member

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    Well, 'loaded' and 'concealed' are two distinct conditions - one cannot carry concealed in public, loaded or not, without the permit. Newspapers always get this wrong.
     
  21. Autolycus

    Autolycus Member

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    In the land of make believe.
    I have heard that here in IL some people were reserve police and can carry. I also know that alderman in the city of Chicago can carry as their lives are endangered by their proffessions.

    As soon as I am done with college I am out of this tyrannical hellhole.
     
  22. The_Antibubba

    The_Antibubba Member

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    The only new part of this is FBI involvement. For Californians, this is old news.
     
  23. IAJack

    IAJack Member

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    Gee wonder how we could get them to take a look at certain counties in Iowa too?

    We are "May Issue" here too. Under open records law here we did a audit of all counties permits and the manner in which issued. My particular county sheriff seems to have a little favoritism thing going on. I have my Florida permit and am an NRA certified instructor also. When I got my permit here in my county though the restrictions on it read -"Invalid in vehicle & incorporated city limits". During the survey we found around 140 permits from my county and all but 34 of them had those restrictions. Hummm
     
  24. Hank Zudd

    Hank Zudd Member

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    remember too,

    Sean Penn, who loves anyone who hates America, (Chavez in Venz. & Sadam the hung) HAS A Kali CCW! There was also a pic. of him in NO after Katrina with a shotgun in a boat "helping" people.
     
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