First Amendment Triumphs in Iowa CCW case

I heard about this case several months ago but I hadn’t heard the ruling. It’s a prime example of political corruption when CCW is “May Issue.” Until recently, Iowa was a “May Issue” state. That made receiving a CCW a matter of cronyism and patronage. Iowa just recently changed their CCW from “May Issue” to “Shall Issue” and this case was one of the prime reasons.

This was the suit of Paul Dorr vs. Osceola County Sheriff Douglas L. Weber. Dorr applied for a CCW renewal and was refused by Sheriff Weber. Weber claimed that Dorr, who was a frequent writer to the local paper’s Letters to the Editor, was a “a whacko, delusional, a nut job, a spook, and narcissist…” and was therefore a person of poor character and unfit for a CCW permit.

The Sioux City Journal reports

Weber’s reason for disapproving the application was, “concern from public. Don’t trust him.” The following year Weber also denied Alexander Dorr’s application for a permit and informed Paul Dorr that he would deny any further applications from him.

Weber testified that he had heard people refer to Paul as “a whacko, delusional, a nut job, a spook, and narcissist,” Bennett’s decision noted. “Regardless of the adjective used to describe Paul, however, Sheriff Weber stated that Paul’s ‘lousy’ reputation was due to his political activities of writing letters to the editor and distributing fliers.”

The ruling continued, “Giving Sheriff Weber more deference than is due his elected status, the court finds that Sheriff Weber denied Paul’s application for a concealed weapons permit not because of the content of his First Amendment activity but because it was effective and agitated many members of the local community.”

And, Bennett said, “In denying Paul a concealed weapons permit, Sheriff Weber single-handedly hijacked the First Amendment and nullified its freedoms and protections. Ironically, Sheriff Weber, sworn to uphold the Constitution, in fact retaliated against a citizen of his county who used this important freedom of speech and association precisely in the manner envisioned by the founding members of our nation …

“In doing so, this popularly elected Sheriff, who appears to be a fine man and an excellent law enforcement officer, in all other regards, blatantly caved in to public pressure and opinion and, in doing so, severely trampled the Constitution and Paul’s First Amendment rights to freedom of speech and association. This is a great reminder that the First Amendment protects the sole individual who may be a gadfly, kook, weirdo, nut job, whacko, and spook, with the same force of protection as folks with more majoritarian and popular views.”

However, Bennett’s decision did not favor Dorr’s son, who was 18 years old when he applied for the carry permit, and is 20 now. Bennett noted that sheriffs have the discretion to withhold permits from anyone under majority age.

Bennett required Weber take a class that must be a college-level course on the United States Constitution, “including — at least in part — a discussion of the First Amendment.” And Bennet said, Weber must obtain approval from the court before participating in the class. Upon completion of the class, Weber must also file anan affidavit with the clerk of court showing successful completion with a passing grade.

That’s more than a hand-slap by a federal Judge. That a slap upside the head for exhibiting extreme stupidity and bias.

You can find the entire report here.

2 thoughts on “First Amendment Triumphs in Iowa CCW case

  1. Typical of the 'may issue' states and the politics that DOES play into who gets permits and who doesn't… sigh… At least Iowa put their foot down and changed the law.

  2. Yes, it was past time. The slap-down by the Judge is just classic! Couldn't happen to a better person. I predict that Sheriff's political future is now very limited.

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