Ramsey County (which includes Saint Paul) sheriff Bob Fletcher is nothing if not a controversial figure in the metro and throughout Minnesota.
He’s been assailed by his deputies (for his alleged human resources practices), his political foes, his county’s Charter Commission (which came a cat’s whisker away from recommending his position be made appointed – the only one in Minnesota).
And now, according to Doug Hester at Northern Muckraker, it’d seem his department is interfering with the issuance and renewal of carry permits.
Even though the 2003-2005 changes in Minnesota’s law instituted a “shall issue” process for issuing permits, the county sheriff still exercises much power over those who wish to apply for or renew carry permits. Hester notes:
Nowhere do the issues of Fletcher’s spending habits and his reputation for doing things his own way come together more neatly than on his seemingly maverick policy of issuing handgun carry permits. There have been rumors for years that the Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office has improperly spent thousands of dollars on over budgeted resources for the department responsible for issuing permits, has wasted even more taxpayer money by having to pay attorney fees for a significant number of permit applicants who successfully appeal their denial to a judge, and, most disturbingly, the Sheriff’s Office has been widely suspected of systematically denying handgun carry permits to a much larger percentage of applicants than the other counties in Minnesota, for no reasonable explanation.
It’s a multipart series, with much supporting data; it’s a non-trivial read. I’ll be following up later this week.
UPDATE: Welcome Politics In Minnesota readers. PIM was nice enough to link to me – it’s always a day brightener! – but I direct you to Doug Hester’s Northern Muckracker, who is actually working the story – and has a new installment out today!