When “Shall Issue” Really Isn’t

Jeff Soyer bring us this bit on Colorado, where some Democratic legislators want to make it more difficult to obtain licenses for concealed carry. I don’t have much to add to what Jeff said except to make a point about something he mentioned in his post:

Colorado is NOT a “shall issue” state. As the FAQ says:

Regardless of whether the applicant meets the criteria specified, if the sheriff has reasonable belief that documented previous behavior by the applicant makes it likely the applicant will present a danger to self or others, the sheriff may deny the permit…

Meaning that if the Sheriff doesn’t like you, you’re fucked. Unspoken is the fact that if you voted the wrong way or are black or gay, you might not get your permit. I’m not saying they actually discriminate, simply that your permit approval is at the mercy of someone else’s subjective opinion.

Pennsylvania is also a shall issue state that isn’t really shall issue, since we have the same clause in our law that gives local sheriffs some discrescion over license issue. This was intended for people who might have a string of offenses, that would indicate they may not be entirely responsible individuals, but was not any of the enumerated offenses that would cause you to be denied by the statute. Most Sheriff’s within the Commonwealth do not abuse this discrescion, but the City of Philadelphia routinely does, and the appeals process in the City is stacked against the appelant, and my understanding is they routinely uphold denials by the Philadelphia Police for LTCs.

Fortunatly, for many Philadelphians who have a difficult time getting licenses, Florida is a true shall-issue state, and their license is recognized by Pennsylvania. There were more than a few people in my training class for the Florida CWL who had been denied by the city for minor infarctions. I suspsect what this politician wants to do is close that “loophole”, so that Denver’s abuse of the same clause will hold, and those denied won’t have recourse to seek licenses in true shall-issue states.