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An Iowa sheriff was ordered to issue a gun permit to a resident in his county and then was ordered by U.S. District Court Judge Mark W. Bennett to enroll in and complete a college-level course on the First Amendment. Osceola County Sheriff Doug Weber refused to issue a gun permit to a resident and the resident’s son because of their involvement with protests, letters to the editor of the local newspaper and passing out various leaflets on things related to – that’s right – the First Amendment. Little did the father and son duo realize the one thing they were fighting for would be what was denied them.

Interestingly, both men, Paul and Alexander Dorr, had carried concealed weapons permits for years and were not denied a permit until mid-2007 when Sheriff Weber refused to process the renewal. He cited “concerns from the public to not trust him” as his justifications. The sheriff then went so far as to tell the two men he would deny all future applications, as well. A. Harrison Barnes, an attorney and also the founder of says the man’s son was under age and therefore, the ruling was not applicable to him until he reaches majority age.

The judge’s ruling reads, in part, “…this popularly elected sheriff, who appears to be a fine man and an excellent law enforcement officer, in all other regards, blatantly caved in to public pressure and opinion, and in doing so, severely trampled the Constitution…this serves as a great reminder that the First Amendment protects anyone who may be a gadfly, weirdo, nut job, whacko…”

The founder also says the judge required pre-approval by the court before enrolling in the college level course by the sheriff. He must complete the class and file an affidavit with the clerk that shows successful completion of the course with a passing grade.

When anyone chooses a law enforcement career, they go into it with the goal of serving and protecting their communities. While the sheriff’s intentions might have been noble, the fact remains he stepped out of line – and out of the broad confines of the law, says A. Harrison Barnes. While Sheriff Weber hasn’t made a public comment, it’s expected he will enroll in his choice of legal college course in the near future in an effort to put this behind him.

The father and son, meanwhile, are celebrating the fact that “justice is served”. The elder Dorr said, “I get my permit back and the sheriff is being sent back to school. The harm done by Sheriff Weber against the 6th and 9th commandments has been made right”.

While the subject matter is serious and one that every free citizen in this country should take notice of, it does appear there are no hard feelings between the Dorrs and Sheriff Weber. Further, Sheriff Weber is not at risk of losing his job.

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