Progress We Can Live With

Going back almost four years, this blog has been covering (OK, linking to other conservative bloggers who’ve been covering) the malfeasance, misdirection and/or sloth of former Ramsey County sheriff Bob Fletcher in re his policy on issuing handgun carry permits.  At his nadir, he was rejecting one out of eight permit applications. That’s a lot of human rights being trampled on.

It was one of the reasons such an unholy alliance – “progressives” angry about equally-egregious accusations about the sheriff’s first amendment record, and conservative gunnies – united to topple Fletcher in favor of Bostrom.

It’s been a year. How’s it going?

For the answer, I turn to – of all people – Grace Kelly at MN “Progressive” Project:, who to be fair hated Fletcher long before most people did.  .

It has now been almost a year in office for the new Sheriff Bostrom. How is the gun permit processing going? Basically, using our best evidence, it looks like it is going well. Although there are some unexplained numbers.

Which are, in turn, unexplained. I did mention it was Grace Kelly, right?

The first error is to give permits to people who should not have received permits. We rarely find out about those errors. We usually discover those permit errors only when a crime is committed.

And nine years after the first passing of the Minnesota Personal Protection Act, we’re still waiting for the first such case.   I’ll call that a win, for Bostrom and everyone else.  (For those who aren’t up on the issue – there were quite a number of permits issued to people under the old, “discretionary” system to people who should not have gotten them; people with crime records and the like).

The other error is to deny permits from people who should have received permits. The best hard evidence is a court allowing a permit on appeal. When appeal is upheld, our tax payer dollars pays [sic] the lawyer’s fees, otherwise the person wanting the permit pays. Usually the cost is about $3000.

From what I’ve been told, $3,000 would be pretty cheap.  Fletcher rang up – according to the late Joel Rosenberg – over half a million dollars in attorney fees awarded to plaintiffs   under the appeal provisions of the MN Personal Protection Act.

Lawyers loved Fletcher…:

Marc Berris used to make jokes that Ramsey county was sending his kids through college just based on the gun permit appeals…[he noted] that no client paid him quite like the Ramsey County sheriff’s office. For years, Berris made a killing by taking on former Sheriff Bob Fletcher. …However this year there are no pending cases in the court appeal process. Neither the Sheriff’s office nor Andrew Rothman, executive director of the Minnesota Association of Defensive Firearm Instructors has heard of any pending court cases… So by the measure of court appeals, it appears that the gun permit process is being applied correctly.

And in terms of numbers?

By another measure, the rate of denial has gone down from a Sheriff Fletcher high of 13.5 percent in 2007 to  4.7 percent of applications, this year through November. This is still higher than 1.7 percent state average. So if the appeals process shows that permits are properly denied, then why are Ramsey county numbers higher?

I’d be tempted to say that it’s all those DFL voters…

…but Hennepin county’s denial rate is, if anything, below the state average.

3 thoughts on “Progress We Can Live With

  1. The Pioneer Press covered the permit process farly well last Sunday. Ramsey County still has more denials than most but, seems to have improved 100%.

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