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News :: Sheriff approves 150 new permits, but says gun law change is no big deal
· 12:04am January 10th, 2011
Randy Forsyth went back into his office Friday to find an unusually large stack of paperwork waiting for him.
He had 50 permits for carrying a weapon on his desk, waiting his approval. That is in addition to 100 permits already submitted to the Benton County Sheriff at the beginning of 2011.
“In our county, we have people renew their permits on their birthdays, so most of these permits will be new ones,” said Forsyth.
For the sheriff, the new law does not represent that big of a change.
“Benton County has basically been a ‘shall issue’ county for several years,” said Forsyth, who said that he has only turned down two applications in the past several years.
While the sheriff has a couple of concerns about loopholes in the law – concerning the requirements for training, as well as some of the state regulations governing eligibility – over all he said the changes are no big deal.
And if the people who were turned down for a permit would apply for one again, Forysth said he would probably turn them down again. Only this time, he would have to do so in writing, and the applicants could appeal his decision.
Gun bans in banks, county offices
Forsyth said many people have been calling his office to ask about business owners setting policies prohibiting weapons in their buildings. Since the new law went into effect, some stores and banks have put up signs advising customers that weapons are not allowed on the premises.
“And those people certainly have the right to say they do not want weapons in their buildings,” said the sheriff. Customers, he said, must honor those policies.
The Benton County Supervisors will discuss local ordinances concerning the carrying of weapon on county property during their meeting Tuesday.
“The judges would like to see weapons kept out of the courthouse, and obviously we would like to see them kept out of our jail,” said Forsyth.
Also, said Forsyth, while the new Iowa law allows guns virtually everywhere, older laws governing hunting prohibit certain types of guns from use in hunting. Hunters will have to be careful to follow those regulations, he said.
One concern Forsyth said that he has is about the change in the training requirements. Under the old system, the Sheriff’s Office knew who was training those with gun permits, he said. Some sheriffs in Iowa have said that the new law allows a person to receive a license for a gun without having actually fired that weapon in a training setting.
"I have heard -- and I don't know that it's true but I have been told -- that in some places, people simply pay their training fee but don't actually take the course.
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