First Amendment meets Second Amendment

The sheriff of Osceola County, Iowa denied a concealed weapons permit to Paul Dorr because he engaged in too much protesting, passing out leaflets, and writing letters to the editor. (source)

U.S. District Court Judge Mark W. Bennett wasn’t having any of that.

Sheriff Weber’s rationale for denying the permit was reported as “concern from public. Don’t trust him.” (source). This was despite the fact that Dorr held a permit for a number of years, apparently without incident. Sheriff Weber informed Dorr that he would deny future applications as well.

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 … (source)

In finding for Dorr, Judge Bennett also ordered Sheriff Weber to attend a remedial course on Constitutional law!

Let’s hear it for Judge Bennett!

One Response to First Amendment meets Second Amendment

  1. Mark Melickian says:

    I’m puzzled by the reference to the Second Amendment in your headline, since (as near as can be figured from the source material) the Second Amendment had nothing to do with the Court’s decision. It’s fair to say that if Sheriff Weber had material evidence – other than writings and communications protected by the First Amendment – that Paul Dorr was, in fact, a threat to the community, Mr. Dorr would not have an unfettered right to a gun permit, notwithstanding recent Supreme Court decisions.

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