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Thread: Sheriff comments on permit to carry reform

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    I get back from my vacation and see that the previous thread on this topic has gone seriously awry. Let's keep this on topic and discuss the comments that Iowa sheriffs have made on the shall issue permit to carry law, and how we should respond to them.

    My hope is that we will see sheriffs support this law and act within the letter and intent of the law even before it goes into effect. Any sheriff that plans to make things difficult for permit to carry applicants needs to be forced into another job next election.

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    I'll clarify my intent of this thread. I'd like to see how sheriffs respond to this law. What have sheriffs said or done in reaction to this law that would enable or hinder the law abiding citizen in getting their permit to carry? Has any sheriff gone from "maybe issue" to shall issue in response? Has any sheriff stated an intent to continue to not sign any permit to carry licenses despite this law passing?

    (One thing I found out is that an elected official cannot be forced to sign any paper they do not wish to. A sheriff can be sued over not issuing a permit to carry but that does not mean one will get a permit issued. It is within the right of an elected official to refuse to sign a document. Unless there is a provision in this law that allows the issuance of a permit by someone other than the sheriff it is still possible for a sheriff to prevent the residents of the county to get a permit to carry weapons.)

    Thanks to mrjam2jab for the link.

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    IA_farmboy wrote:
    Unless there is a provision in this law that allows the issuance of a permit by someone other than the sheriff it is still possible for a sheriff to prevent the residents of the county to get a permit to carry weapons.)
    What is the penalty for an elected official refusing to obey the decision of an administrative law judge? The new law sends appeals to an admin. law judge if the sheriff denies it.

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    amaixner wrote:
    IA_farmboy wrote:
    Unless there is a provision in this law that allows the issuance of a permit by someone other than the sheriff it is still possible for a sheriff to prevent the residents of the county to get a permit to carry weapons.)
    What is the penalty for an elected official refusing to obey the decision of an administrative law judge? The new law sends appeals to an admin. law judge if the sheriff denies it.
    I don't know what the penalty is but I'm quite certain that the judge cannot jail the sheriff, remove the sheriff from office, or issue the permit in the sheriff's stead. I could be mistaken though. I fail to see how the appeal process will get the applicant their permit issued if the sheriff continues to refuse to issue a permit. Perhaps someone can enlighten me.

    This is why I want to see the reaction from the sheriffs, there might be one that feels there are loopholes to jump through and will attempt to do so. If a sheriff is successful in finding a loophole then the law will do nothing of substance and we will have to start over.

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    IA_farmboy wrote:
    I don't know what the penalty is but I'm quite certain that the judge cannot jail the sheriff, remove the sheriff from office, or issue the permit in the sheriff's stead. I could be mistaken though. I fail to see how the appeal process will get the applicant their permit issued if the sheriff continues to refuse to issue a permit. Perhaps someone can enlighten me.

    This is why I want to see the reaction from the sheriffs, there might be one that feels there are loopholes to jump through and will attempt to do so. If a sheriff is successful in finding a loophole then the law will do nothing of substance and we will have to start over.
    My guess (not a lawyer at all here) would be contempt of court. Judges seem to have rather wide and unchecked power to imprison or fine people who disobey their directions. Examples I have heard of in the news included jail for reporters who refused to reveal sources (they sit there till they comply or the judge gives up). If TV lawyer shows are accurate at all (I know many lawyers hate them for the BS they make up sometimes), a judge can levy fines against the individual disobeying instructions also.

    A gun-related example that I am familiar with is in Hennepin County (Minneapolis), MN. A judge(s) issued a directive banning concealed carry from county courthouses, even though the law specifically prohibits publicly-owned buildings from doing so. The violation of this directive would fall under contempt of court, as there is no law providing penalties for it.


    If anyone knows or has access to an attorney for questions, it would be interesting to find out what the possibilities are in this kind of situation.

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    amaixner wrote:
    IA_farmboy wrote:
    I don't know what the penalty is but I'm quite certain that the judge cannot jail the sheriff, remove the sheriff from office, or issue the permit in the sheriff's stead. I could be mistaken though. I fail to see how the appeal process will get the applicant their permit issued if the sheriff continues to refuse to issue a permit. Perhaps someone can enlighten me.

    This is why I want to see the reaction from the sheriffs, there might be one that feels there are loopholes to jump through and will attempt to do so. If a sheriff is successful in finding a loophole then the law will do nothing of substance and we will have to start over.
    My guess (not a lawyer at all here) would be contempt of court. Judges seem to have rather wide and unchecked power to imprison or fine people who disobey their directions. Examples I have heard of in the news included jail for reporters who refused to reveal sources (they sit there till they comply or the judge gives up). If TV lawyer shows are accurate at all (I know many lawyers hate them for the BS they make up sometimes), a judge can levy fines against the individual disobeying instructions also.


    Contempt of court would be my thought also. If judge declares "must issue to Mr X"...then I can't see how sheriff can refuse a court order.
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    mrjam2jab wrote:
    amaixner wrote:
    IA_farmboy wrote:
    I don't know what the penalty is but I'm quite certain that the judge cannot jail the sheriff, remove the sheriff from office, or issue the permit in the sheriff's stead. I could be mistaken though. I fail to see how the appeal process will get the applicant their permit issued if the sheriff continues to refuse to issue a permit. Perhaps someone can enlighten me.

    This is why I want to see the reaction from the sheriffs, there might be one that feels there are loopholes to jump through and will attempt to do so. If a sheriff is successful in finding a loophole then the law will do nothing of substance and we will have to start over.
    My guess (not a lawyer at all here) would be contempt of court. Judges seem to have rather wide and unchecked power to imprison or fine people who disobey their directions. Examples I have heard of in the news included jail for reporters who refused to reveal sources (they sit there till they comply or the judge gives up).¬* If TV lawyer shows are accurate at all (I know many lawyers hate them for the BS they make up sometimes), a judge can levy fines against the individual disobeying instructions also.


    Contempt of court would be my thought also.¬* If judge declares "must issue to Mr X"...then I can't see how sheriff can refuse a court order.
    It's quite easy for a sheriff to refuse a court order if the court is unable to punish the sheriff for any inaction. Who is going to put the sheriff in jail? Is the sheriff going to put himself in jail since the sheriff is the highest law enforcement officer in the county? If there is a fine for inaction then is that fine coming from the county coffers? If so then it's no real punishment to the sheriff. If it comes from his/her own paycheck then it might be different.

    This is getting off the original topic and is quite academic unless a sheriff has threatened to act in violation of the intent of the law. If there is a sheriff that has made such a statement then I'd like to know about it. I have seen sheriffs speak out against the law but that is very different than a sheriff continuing a policy of restrictive issuance policies.

    I would also like to know if any sheriff has changed their policies to reflect the new law after the bill was signed but before the law has gone into effect. These are the kind of sheriffs that are worthy of some praise for respecting our rights and being proactive in making a smooth transition into the new permit system.

    I see that the Linn County sheriff has not updated the web page describing the process to get a permit since the law was signed. I suspect that means there is no intention of changing the policy of fingerprinting and taking the one and only class recognized for training before a permit is issued.

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    Farmboy,



    The funniest thing about it is that the Lee County King.... I mean Sheriff is not aware that it is a permit to carry weapons and not a CCW. In fact, under the shall issue law, it is still legal for a permit holder to open carry, in fact, one can even open carry weapons like switchblades, which are illegal to conceal, even with a permit.

    This Sheriff better be aware that starting in January, not only can out of staters conceal carry, but they can also open carry, and I recommend that he respects people's right to do so.

    Regarding the other county sheriff, the shall issue law is months away from going into effect. If his website isn't updated by the year's end, thenit may be a problem.

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    IA_farmboy wrote:
    It's quite easy for a sheriff to refuse a court order if the court is unable to punish the sheriff for any inaction. Who is going to put the sheriff in jail? Is the sheriff going to put himself in jail since the sheriff is the highest law enforcement officer in the county? If there is a fine for inaction then is that fine coming from the county coffers? If so then it's no real punishment to the sheriff. If it comes from his/her own paycheck then it might be different.
    It would be a contempt citation, possible jail time. The ALJ, and eventually the district court, can direct the state police arrest the sheriff.

    Unless you're one of these crazy people that think the executive can ignore the judicial branch, what your talking about won't happen.

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    Gray Peterson wrote:
    IA_farmboy wrote:

    It's quite easy for a sheriff to refuse a court order if the court is unable to punish the sheriff for any inaction. Who is going to put the sheriff in jail? Is the sheriff going to put himself in jail since the sheriff is the highest law enforcement officer in the county? If there is a fine for inaction then is that fine coming from the county coffers? If so then it's no real punishment to the sheriff. If it comes from his/her own paycheck then it might be different.
    It would be a contempt citation, possible jail time.¬* The ALJ, and eventually the district court, can direct the state police arrest the sheriff.¬*

    Unless you're one of these crazy people that think the executive can ignore the judicial branch, what your talking about won't happen.
    Not crazy, ignorant perhaps, but not crazy. Perhaps what you say it true but I have seen instances to the contrary. None of them in Iowa.

    It would seem that a judge putting a sheriff in jail for failing to sign a document under the powers granted to the executive would be a breach of the separation of powers. We cannot permit the judicial branch to essentially remove executive officers from office. That would be crazy, someone suing to have an elected official removed and the judicial branch agreeing to do so.

    Again, this is all academic unless some sheriff is willing to attempt this. My intent here is to see how far a sheriff is willing to go to keep Iowa citizens disarmed. I am also trying to point out the flaws in this law.

    I figured that by this point the rabid gun grabbers would have come out of the woodwork all frothing at the mouth. Anyone see a frothing sheriff lately?

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    IA_farmboy wrote:
    Gray Peterson wrote:
    IA_farmboy wrote:

    It's quite easy for a sheriff to refuse a court order if the court is unable to punish the sheriff for any inaction. Who is going to put the sheriff in jail? Is the sheriff going to put himself in jail since the sheriff is the highest law enforcement officer in the county? If there is a fine for inaction then is that fine coming from the county coffers? If so then it's no real punishment to the sheriff. If it comes from his/her own paycheck then it might be different.
    It would be a contempt citation, possible jail time. The ALJ, and eventually the district court, can direct the state police arrest the sheriff.

    Unless you're one of these crazy people that think the executive can ignore the judicial branch, what your talking about won't happen.
    Not crazy, ignorant perhaps, but not crazy. Perhaps what you say it true but I have seen instances to the contrary. None of them in Iowa.

    It would seem that a judge putting a sheriff in jail for failing to sign a document under the powers granted to the executive would be a breach of the separation of powers. We cannot permit the judicial branch to essentially remove executive officers from office. That would be crazy, someone suing to have an elected official removed and the judicial branch agreeing to do so.

    Again, this is all academic unless some sheriff is willing to attempt this. My intent here is to see how far a sheriff is willing to go to keep Iowa citizens disarmed. I am also trying to point out the flaws in this law.

    I figured that by this point the rabid gun grabbers would have come out of the woodwork all frothing at the mouth. Anyone see a frothing sheriff lately?
    Haven't seen anything in the Iowa news papers I monitor. I would read up, however on "contempt of court". No one is talking about removing them from their actual office. Only the voters and other provisions of state law can be brought to bear. They are still sheriff, they are just in a jail-cell until they sign the paperwork under their ministerial duty.

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    IA_farmboy wrote:
    (One thing I found out is that an elected official cannot be forced to sign any paper they do not wish to. A sheriff can be sued over not issuing a permit to carry but that does not mean one will get a permit issued. It is within the right of an elected official to refuse to sign a document. Unless there is a provision in this law that allows the issuance of a permit by someone other than the sheriff it is still possible for a sheriff to prevent the residents of the county to get a permit to carry weapons.)
    I know I'm late to the party here but, the courts DO have the capability to force an official to obey the law. To quote Wikipedia, which isn't authoritative on the subject but does get the definition right:

    A writ of mandamus or mandamus (which means "we command" in Latin), or sometimes mandate, is the name of one of the prerogative writs in the common law, and is "issued by a superior court to compel a lower court or a government officer to perform mandatory or purely ministerial duties correctly".

    The law clearly specifies that the sheriff "shall" issue the permit so he can be compelled to do so.

    I have been told a Minnesota sheriff tried to ignore the "shall" part of their law and after he was hauled in front of the judge for the third time, he was levied a "personal" fine of $15,000 for failing to do his duties. He stopped dragging his feet pretty quickly.

    Tom

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    Thanks Tgclark, that clarifies things for me.

    Getting back to the original topic I see the Linn County Sheriff has not made any changes in the permit to carry web page. I suspect he might need to be brought kicking and screaming into compliance.

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    I'm betting that the Linn county sheriff will be just fine. He may not be changing things before it is required, but I don't believe that he's the kind of person to disobey the law once it goes into effect. In any case, I'll ask for an unrestricted permit when I renew this year, so that I don't have to clog up their office in January -- let's see how it goes.

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