Monday, November 2, 2009

Adventures in the permit process, part II

I posted part one yesterday Adventures in the permit process, part I and I went back to the sheriff’s office today to start the permit process for this year. My cynical nature came out yesterday and I imagined all sorts of roadblocks in my way to interfere with my right to bear arms.

My “fears” were unfounded. In fact the new boss was not the same as the old boss. The new sheriff who was elected last November, has sped up the process for renewals. I was in and out within ten minutes.

I handed my now-expired permit to purchase handguns to the clerk (who is a sworn peace officer) and she started processing the NICS check. The permit was filled out and signed with the sheriff’s signature before I had all the state paperwork completed. The fee has increased to $10 where a few years ago it was $5.

Simple and painless, right?

The inconvenience of only having office hours during the weekdays is troublesome, but the whole permit process really grinds my gears. I have to ask my “lords and masters” permission to exercise a right.

I don’t think many would argue that the permit process hasn’t turned a right into a privilege. In Iowa, a sheriff has the discretion to deny either a permit to purchase or permit to carry. The theory is that who would know the citizens better than a local county sheriff? Or at least he would know the trouble-makers.

I knew the previous sheriff fairly well because of the work we had done with the local telecom company and emergency communications needs. Often, he would interview permit applicants if he didn’t know them. I don’t know the new guy well enough other than to wave hello, but my recent experience gives me the impression that he seems like a fair guy. At least compared to other counties I’ve lived in within Iowa.

The end result is that I’m legal for another year.

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