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Bizarre Carry Permit Situation in Beaver County

There are accusations that discounted or free licenses to carry are being granted to political friends and supporters of the Sheriff of Beaver County, and the story just gets weird from there.

From the various reports, it apparently started when a citizen sitting in a public area of the public office recorded a conversation between the Sheriff and a Constable that revealed he was undercharging for permits for selected people. The recording became public, and the Sheriff’s first response appears to have been to call the District Attorney and demand that there be an investigation for violation of the wiretap laws and leaking of confidential information rather than address the real problem of using licenses to carry in this manner and possibly shorting the county its share of fees.

It turns out that the DA found there was zero expectation of privacy between the individuals given their roles as public officials and where they had their conversation, and nothing confidential was leaked. So, the Sheriff now appears to claim that it was all above board because he was purposefully handing out the licenses in order to see if one of his secretaries who had recently filed a grievance against the office was leaking information. However, the person who benefited with the discounted license was apparently never informed prior to the event that he was part of such a plot and had to pay up later. Needless to say, there are people who doubt the after-the-fact claims of a secret investigation.

It appears the DA has turned the evidence related to the issuance of discounted licenses to carry over to state authorities, and a source tells the local paper that a grand jury has been called related to some sort of investigation into the Sheriff’s office.

They also report that the state Auditor General’s office found the Sheriff may not be charging the appropriate fees mandated by the state for carry licenses or writs of execution, which now means the County Controller is also investigating.

It’s very odd, indeed. Even if the licenses are being issued according to the law in regards to background checks, it is very troubling to hear that there are concerns that discounts and freebies are being used to benefit political supporters while those who aren’t so well-connected are forced to pay the higher, state-mandated price.

17 Responses to “Bizarre Carry Permit Situation in Beaver County”

  1. Tony says:

    This type of behavior is pretty standard practice in California’s most populous counties, with our May Issue laws. And it is not just discounts, but actually being allowed to apply for, let alone be issued, a CCW permit at all. It is unfortunate to see that the Shall Issue states can also be gamed by corrupt politicians.

  2. Merle says:

    I can’t believe it – a sheriff who thinks he is above the law! I hope he gets hammered for this !

    Merle

  3. Bryan S. says:

    Wait.. discounted from $20? They that hard up? Or was he illegally charging way over the law allowed limit?

    (Which is a crock to have to pay in order to bear arms)

    • Bitter says:

      According to the accusations, it has nothing to do with being “hard up,” it appears to have been a situation where they were being discounted as rewards to political supporters. The number doesn’t matter in that situation, it’s about the favor. There are no accusations that I have seen that he was charging above the stated amount for other applicants, just that he was discounting them for supporters.

    • Zermoid says:

      And I agree, having to pay to exercise a right is Bullshit!

  4. Zermoid says:

    Sounds like business as usual to me…….

  5. Andy B. says:

    An RKBA movement personality here in Pennsylvania used to boast that his county sheriff had given him his carry permit as a surprise 21st birthday gift, presumably without him ever making the required application.

    He seemed quite annoyed when I pointed out that his sheriff buddy had violated the law just as seriously as if he had denied him a permit on spurious grounds; and that playing fast and loose with favoritism to select people was just as anti-gun.

  6. Publicola says:

    The only real crime and cover up I see is that folks are being told they have to pay a tax on a Right & wait for permission to exercise it. The rest is just petty favoritism that demonstrates why any permit system should be scrapped in favor of freedom.

    Miss Bitter, what is the status in Pa. of a constitutional carry effort? Anyone trying at all so far?

    • Andy B. says:

      “what is the status in Pa. of a constitutional carry effort?”

      Bitter will probably give you a more current reply, because I don’t pretend to keep up with the latest news anymore, but in the last (or a very recent?) session a junior House member had introduced a CC bill, which I think went nowhere at all.

      A problem we had in Pennsylvania in the past — and may still have, to the extent that the same personalities are involved and influential — is that key people in the RKBA movement in the state would give lip-service to CC in public, while privately they didn’t support it at all. Those people worked closely with Rep. Daryl Metcalfe, who despite having the reputation of being “the best pro-gun legislator in PA,” who is unafraid of taking radical steps with any of his other social conservative issues, has never introduced a CC bill, and in years past would make endless excuses about why he’d love to, but couldn’t because of circumstances.

      • HSR47 says:

        I will note that this spring the FOAC folks seemed to have taken Constitutional carry off the simmer burner, and moved it to the front burner.

        We were actually pushing that bill, rather than just paying token lipservice to it.

        • Andy B. says:

          I’m very glad to hear it. Can we expect Rep. Metcalfe to be sponsoring a bill, considering his relatively senior status in the House, and his considerable clout?

    • O. Rly says:

      A partial explanation of the state of the constitutional carry effort is described below:
      Com. v. McKown, started in 2008, as just filed a petition for allowance of appeal to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, challenging the constitutionality of 18 Pa.C.S. 6106 against Pa. Const. art. I, secs. 1, 21, and 25, after the Superior Court found sec. 6106 constitutional in Oct. 2013.
      Caba v. Weaknecht, started in 2012, went to the Commonwealth Court, where it held that 18 Pa.C.S. 6109 was constitutional. That court denied rehearing en banc, and the Pa. Supreme Court denied allowance of appeal.

      McKown doesn’t have to lobby more than 4 people (of a 7 person panel) whereas anyone working the General Assembly has hundreds of people to lobby and much more to do to make it work, so it’s hard to say who is really closer to accomplishing it. No one seems close to accomplishing it right now.

  7. jkp says:

    Just a queston…who is the guy who runs The Beaver Countian?

    I’d never heard of the site before….site looks like it is (or trying to be) a straight local news site. But only seems to have one reporter….who is engaged in litigation with the Beaver Co. Sheriff.

    Guy seems to report on a lot of gun stuff, which is cool….Can someone provide any info? Just want to know if this is a reliable source or not…

    • Bitter says:

      I have no idea who he is, but I would say that the fact some of his reporting appears to have resulted in the investigations by other agencies into the department may at least indicate he’s willing to do some digging. I really can’t vouch for anything there, which is why I noted they were accusations.

      • jkp says:

        I actually like his reporting, and it looks legit….I just try to be a little extra suspicious when someone is telling me a story that I like. Confirmation bias and all that.

  8. Brad says:

    Isn’t this situation the logical outcome of the regulatory state? Official corruption? This favoritism is just a minor variation of the favoritism still employed by issuing authorities in those few states which still have may-issue CCW regimes. Such as California (sigh).

    The good news is the positive results we are seeing from the proliferation of cheap personal electronic devices.

  9. Andy B. says:

    “Isn’t this situation the logical outcome of the regulatory state?”

    Actually it’s the logical outcome of The State. Period.

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