House Bill 1287, legislation seeking to create a new statewide database to which sheriffs would report all individuals who have been denied a permit to purchase a handgun will be voted on by the Senate Judiciary II Committee tomorrow morning, Friday, July 27. Please contact the members of the committee ASAP and respectfully urge them to oppose HB1287.
Currently, the permit to purchase process allows sheriffs to deny a permit not just to people statutorily prohibited from purchasing or possessing a pistol, but also allows denials for random, arbitrary reasons. For instance, a permit applicant must not only be free of any statutory disqualifications for purchasing or possessing any firearm--including pistols--but he or she must also prove to the sheriff "by affidavits, oral evidence, or otherwise, as to the good moral character of the applicant." It is this vague standard where problems arise. A sheriff could deny a permit simply because he or she feels the individual should not possess a pistol, for whatever reason. Allowing sheriffs to deny a permit to purchase a pistol for anything other than clearly defined standards is contrary to the protections that are constitutionally enshrined.
Not only would HB1287 establish a new database where arbitrary denials are entered, but the information would remain in the new database for eight (8) years. An individual who has been arbitrarily denied a permit to purchase would have that cloud hanging over him or her every time he or she applies for a permit, even if that person moves to a new county where the sheriff does not have a problem with people possessing handguns for lawful purposes. The new sheriff would still see the applicant was once denied a permit, and may deny based on that little bit of information.
Please contact the members of the committee ASAP and respectfully urge them to oppose HB1287.
Senator Fletcher R Hartsell, Jr. (R-36)
Senator Austin M. Allran (R-42)
Senator Doug Berger (D-7)
Senator Ed Jones (D-4)
Senator Tom Apodaca (R-48)
Senator Bob Atwater (D-18)
Senator Stan Bingham (R-33)
Senator Walter H. Dalton (D-46)
Senator Charlie Smith Dannelly (D-38)
Senator Katie Dorset (D-28)
Senator Don East (R-30)
Senator Eddie Goodall (R-35)
Senator Jim Jacumin (R-44)
Senator John H. Kerr III (D-5)
Senator Joe Sam Queen (D-47)
Senator John Snow (D-50)
Senator A. B. Swindell (D-11)