New gun regulations cause concern
On the gun sales case at Ace and More in Washington sits a stack of flyers discussing the Brandon Bunnell Gun Safety Ministry and other firearm safety tips for people purchasing firearms.
Ace-N-More Vice President Craig Jones said he gives the flyers because he is a strong believer in gun safety. The ministry is in honor of Brandon Bunnell, who was fatally shot by another youth on May 3, 2006. This stresses the need for safety and training with firearms, Jones says.
With changes coming to the Iowa gun ownership and concealed carry laws coming Jan. 1, 2011, he believes people need to use common sense to ensure safety. Having recently taken the Washington County instruction course for a concealed carry permit, Jones applauds the instruction course put on by the Washington County Sheriff’s Department as a requirement for the license. More and more people, Jones says, are purchasing firearms for self-defense. In some cases he directs them to another section of the store, such as the areas that sell new locks or burglar alarms. He said that a gun isn’t the end-all of self-defense.
“ The gun isn’t the first resource for safety, it’s your last resource for safety,” he said.
The common sense approach is the attitude Washington County Sheriff Jerry Dunbar hopes people adopt when the laws change. He said the changes to the laws are small and sweeping at the same time. The change of the word ‘may’ to the word ‘shall,’ Dunbar said, is changing the ability he has to deny an ownership or concealed carry permit. While Dunbar said he doesn’t deny most requests, there are some people who, while they technically meet all the legal requirements, he feels shouldn’t be able to own a gun or carry a concealed weapon.
The sheriff’s department currently issues the licenses. Dunbar said that in the first year he was sheriff, he denied 10 concealed carry permits. Since then he said the denials average about two per year. While he said there aren’t many, he wants to be able to keep people he deems unfit from being allowed to own a gun or getting a concealed carry permit. As an example, he said that he knows of someone in the county who was a “snitch” for Johnson County and had worked off several drug arrests without being charged. That person has applied many times for a gun permit, Dunbar said, and has been denied.
“Linn County had a flyer of people with AK-47s (assault rifles) and shotguns strapped to their backs walking around in stores,” Dunbar said.
For the full story, see the June 29 edition of The Washington Evening Journal