I noticed my Saturday article about the changes Linn County Sheriff Brian Gardner has made to the county’s concealed weapons permit law didn’t make it online, except in our e-Edition. I know many of you are interested in this subject, so I’m inserting a copy of it here:

Concealed weapons permits article

Because of its previously restrictive rules, Linn County was long one of the most difficult Iowa counties in which to get a concealed carry permit. That was a bone of contention between the Sheriff’s Office and residents who are hardcore Second Amendment supporters, Josh Kissling told me during our interview. Kissling is the president of the Linn County chapter of the International Defensive Pistol Association, the governing body of a competitive shooting sport that simulates self-defense scenarios and real life encounters.

Most of the club’s members, even though they have proven themselves to be great self-defense marksmen, were not granted gun permits under former sheriff Don Zeller simply because they didn’t carry lots of money on them — an unchangable prerequisite under Zeller’s reign, Kissling said. “Zeller had an elitist view, like your life is only worth saving if you can carry $500 around in your pocket,” Kissling said. “He must have thought the common citizen would be too dumb to know what to do with a gun.”

Zeller has told me he felt the fewer guns there are on the street, the better. Even legal ones. He has never directly answered the oft-quoted “elitist” argument with me, though.

What the changes really mean are that the number of people legally carrying guns in Linn County is likely going to triple in the next year or so. It’s still probably not going to include a huge percentage of the population, but a big change, nonetheless. So what do you guys think? Are the rule changes good or bad?

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