An FBI official, the president of the Iowa State Sheriffs’ & Deputies’ Association, the president of the Iowa State Police Association and two state lawmakers told The Des Moines Register they have public safety concerns after learning that a two-year-old state law on gun permits allows registered sex offenders to obtain a weapons permit.The thought of someone who is known to have the capacity to use force against another person in such an abhorrent way being allowed to legally carry a gun is simply mind-boggling.
“It does seem to go contrary to what the whole point or the whole purpose” of the sex offender registry is, said Steve Conlon, the deputy unit chief of the FBI Behavioral Science Unit’s Evil Minds Research Museum in Quantico, Va.
Some, if not most, applications by sex offenders for permits to carry weapons would have been denied by county sheriffs before 2011, according to officials from the Iowa Department of Public Safety. But under a two-year-old state law, sheriffs no longer have discretion to reject such applications.
The law change means people convicted of misdemeanor sex crimes can now walk the streets, malls or virtually any public place in the state while carrying a gun. Almost all of the sex offenders on the Register’s list were convicted of misdemeanors such as lascivious conduct with a minor or assault with intent to commit sexual abuse.
But the Register found three men convicted of felony sex crimes who had permits to carry weapons in public. Two of those men had their permits revoked by sheriffs after the Register asked about their situations.
“My concern of a sex offender having a gun is they try to typically rule in a bullish way to influence people — and just the presence of a gun on a hip could be a threat to get people to cooperate,” said Washington County Sheriff Jerry Dunbar, who is president of the Iowa State Sheriffs’ & Deputies’ Association.
“They intimidate to get what they want.”
Sadly, we cannot take comfort in thinking that this is simply in Iowa (emphasis mine):
If it surprises an FBI official to learn that sex offenders can be armed, it may be because there is no national data on how many weapons permits are being issued to convicted offenders, according to Fred Wilson, a National Sheriffs’ Association spokesman.And if you think that Scott Walker, who signed this piece of dreck into law two years ago, is going to be willing to make a change in the law as this horror is brought to light, don't hold your breath waiting for it to happen.
Wilson said he was unaware of sex offenders being issued permits in any state until he was contacted by the Register.
However, a review of states surrounding Iowa found that some sex offenders can obtain permits to carry weapons even though authorities said they aren’t aware of a large number being issued. Those states — including Nebraska, Missouri and Wisconsin — have laws similar to Iowa’s that do not specifically exclude sex offenders from obtaining such permits.
Minnesota law, however, makes it a misdemeanor for a person required to register as a sex offender to carry a handgun.
If he wasn't even willing to make the slightest change to the law even after the horror of Sandy Hook, he sure won't do it just because of this.
He's gotta earn those big checks from the NRA, donchya know.
H/T One of our many anonymous commenters.