What Happens When There’s no Sheriff?

Apparently Blair County, PA lost its Sheriff, and due to a lack of someone to sign LTCs, they just stopped issuing them. A judge has authorized the Chief Deputy to act in the Sheriff’s stead until a replacement can be confirmed. It looks, in this case, like the seat has only been vacated since April 9th, and Sheriffs have 45 days by statute to issue.

This kind of licensing scheme would never be allowed in any other context. There’s a movement now to let people vote without first having to register to do so. If we ever get judges willing to take the Second Amendment seriously, as opposed to judges who are fine with it being a second-class right, this kind of thing is what will eventually take down licensing regimes.

12 Responses to “What Happens When There’s no Sheriff?”

  1. JohnnyIShootStuff says:

    What happened a few years back when the MontCo sheriff died while in office? Why the governor has to appoint someone is just beyond me. Every sheriff appoints a chief deputy is that chief deputy appointment not for reasons just like this.

  2. Ian Argent says:

    Article says sheriff sales’ deeds were also affected, and implied that the judge’s order did NOT affect those. So it’s not just LTCs.

    Though the deeds don’t involve a constitutional right.

  3. Whetherman says:

    I agree with your analysis and of course with the “bottom line” that the easiest thing would simply be to eliminate licensing.

    BUT — aren’t things as simple as, now that the problem has been identified, codifying an alternate permitted to issue licenses in the case of the extended absence of a sheriff from the office? Seems to me it could be inserted in the UFA with a few words.

    I’m also thinking that the sheriff himself probably does next to none of the legwork related to the investigation.

    Maybe I’m being naive, but that small change shouldn’t be a hard thing to get passed.

  4. Greg says:

    45 days to issue or deny, not 40.

  5. Waher says:

    In MA the law is to process applications in 40 days. Some departments will sit on applications up to a year!

    • Ian Argent says:

      NJ is the same with permits to purchase. And the courts have upheld the delay as within the intent of the law.

  6. Zermoid says:

    I’ve gotten my permits in Clinton and Clearfield, Clinton used to be a couple weeks, now they and Clearfield are wait a few minutes and you’re good to go.
    Why aren’t all counties the same?

    • Whetherman says:

      “Why aren’t all counties the same?”

      It’s probably as simple as, whether or not their sheriffs are genuinely sympathetic to gun owners.

      Bucks County’s sheriffs have always kept a reputation for being pro-gun, because a) they were Republican, and b) privately would say things like “use your gun to shoot an n-word, and I’ll give you your application fee back.” But meanwhile they would do things like, charge almost twice the codified application fee, fail to mail out the renewal notices we had prepaid for, add extra-legal application requirements, etc.

      But of course we all know that what makes someone really pro-gun is talking good, politically incorrect smack.

  7. Geoff says:

    In south Carolina the State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) issues the carry permits. Local Sheriffs have no say in the matter.Or even any say in NFA firearms anymore.

    • Andy Barniskis says:

      “the State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) issues the carry permits.”

      I would have mixed emotions about that, because you can never be sure what faction is going to control the state government.

      Here in PA, I believe if you could quantify official gun-owner-friendliness and correlate it with the number of permit holders, it would show more people being better off with the county-controlled system we have now. That is not uniformly true, of course.

      The state rep widely regarded as “the best pro-gun legislator in the state,” a few years back introduced legislation that would have taken permit issuance and administration away from county sheriffs and handed it over to the state; that for the purpose of facilitating access to permit records by police in other states, which in turn was supposed to facilitate permit reciprocity with other states. But I knew that despite his reputation, he personally didn’t know or care a thing about gun rights, and was directed what to do by some gun rights advocates who I labeled “Reciprocity Mavens” because they valued their own ability to transport and carry firearms in other states above the basic, native gun rights of their fellow PA citizens.

  8. RetMSgt in Pa. says:

    Unlike Massachusetts and New Jersey where the statutory timeframe can be extended to forever, Pennsylvania courts have taken a dim view on any delays over the prescribed 45 days. Thus, in many counties, it’s either on-the-spot issuance (following the Pa. Instant background Check), or it’s shortly thereafter.

    Yes, the statute or Pa. Code could be fine-tuned to better standardize license issuance statewide, but on the whole it’s fairly standard.


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