Newspaper begins attack on Florida "shall issue" law
The South Florida Sun-Sentinel has commenced a week-long series of articles attacking Florida's shall-issue CCW law.
As I read the first article: Florida law gives judges the power to take a plea, impose probation (without entering a conviction) and if the person completes that, "withhold conviction." OK, they're not convicted of anything, and eligible for a permit.
So the newspaper hunts up those cases, looks for the worst -- one guy got judges to "withhold conviction" on a manslaughter rap, on possession of ten pounds of pot, and on a CCW charge. The real question is ... why are the judges withholding convictions, if the cases are this bad? The problem is with the judges and the legal system here, and the easy way to ensure these folks don't get licenses is to get the judges to convict.
Jeb Bush is out, we have milktoast in ... so the gun control surge is beginning. As a matter of fact, I am noticing a surge all around the country and in Congress. I wonder why?
Posted by: bill at January 29, 2007 05:49 PM
I used to be a prosecutor in Florida. "Withholding adjudication" on an offense is kind of a weird way to permit someone to plead guilty or no contest to an offense and then have him not be officially convicted of it.
In my office, it was usually reserved only for first-time, non-violent offenders. I don't know what the intent behind the law is, but I always treated it as a means to show a little leniency to folks who may be guilty of an offense, but were not career criminals and for whom a conviction would cause them to lose their job or something similar.
The article is inaccurate in a couple of respects: it claims that folks who have adjudication withheld have no criminal record. This is untrue; they still have a criminal record of that arrest, and of the punishment, available to every law enforcement agency in the state. It will state that adjudication was withheld.
The article also says, "Numerous other states, including South Dakota, Texas and Maryland, likely would not permit Rodriguez to carry a gun given his rap sheet." I don't know about South Dakota or Texas, but Maryland's concealed-carry law is notoriously strict and you have to prove that you've received credible threats. So Rodriguez would likely not be granted a permit in Maryland, even if his record was squeaky-clean.
Regardless, in any bureaucracy, some folks are going to slip through the cracks.
It occurs to me that the concealed-carry law is consistent with notions of due process - that folks who have never been convicted of anything can't be denied a permit.
The other examples listed in the article, are similarly consistent:
Convicted of a misdemeanor crime of violence, such as stalking, assault or battery, against a member of your family? License denied.
Makes sense to me and has a rational connection to the crime committed. Most murders and other violent felonies are committed against family members.
Convicted of a misdemeanor crime of violence against someone outside your family? License approved (so long as three years have passed since the completion of the sentence).
Makes sense to me, too. A misdemeanor "crime of violence" is usually something like a battery or an assault. I know lots of folks who have gotten into street fights through no fault of their own. If you can stay clean for 3 years or more, I don't think you're a threat to society.
Convicted of driving under the influence? License approved.
Makes sense to me. Getting a DUI has no connection to getting a permit.
Convicted of driving under the influence twice within the past three years? License denied.
Makes sense to me, too. I don't want habitual drunkards carrying.
Subjected to a current domestic violence restraining order? License denied.
No brainer. These are granted for a maximum of one year.
Subjected to a prior domestic violence restraining order? License approved.
Also a no-brainer. Any woman can walk into a courthouse and get a DV restraining order. If you had one against you once, and were never convicted of a domestic violence offense, why shouldn't you have the same rights as everyone else?
Have a long rap sheet but no convictions? License approved.
What part of "due process" doesn't this guy understand?
If bad folks are getting concealed-weapon permits because the courts aren't doing their job.
Posted by: King of the Cows at January 30, 2007 08:19 AM