Saturday, December 29, 2007

Investigative Report: Sheriff donors got gun permits

The bounty hunter accused of kicking in his wife's door and dragging her outside, the pawnbroker who left a loaded gun tucked between the seats of his unlocked car, the drywall company owner who donated money to the sheriff's campaign and owns a vacation house with him.

All of these men subsequently received permission from the Sacramento County Sheriff's Department to carry a concealed gun.

As a lawsuit accusing former Sheriff Lou Blanas of favoring campaign contributors in decisions on concealed weapon permits wends its way through federal court, The Bee examined public records on more than 550 permits issued since 1996, all but 37 of them under Blanas' terms as sheriff and undersheriff.

Permit holders included people with past criminal convictions, not always reported on their permit applications, The Bee review found, as well as those with drunken driving arrests, which disqualify applicants in many counties.

The department's files, however, were in disarray, with documents often incomplete or missing, making a comprehensive review impossible. The department does not track such basic statistics as a percentage of applications approved and denied.

Shown The Bee's findings, current Sheriff John McGinness, who took office on Blanas' retirement in July 2006, said he plans to clean things up.

"It's going to be repaired," he said, "because otherwise you're going to have the appearance of inconsistency and a lack of fairness, even if that's not the case."

Duh, well damn it all, Hoss, but they WERE inconsistent with the very concept of fairness, now weren't they?

I'm shocked to the core. A Sheriff playing favorites. Hard to believe. That they caught him, I mean.

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