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Man, 18, sues sheriff after pistol permit denial

Published 4:37pm Tuesday, October 9, 2012

By CHRISTINE BOATWRIGHT / Staff Writer

COLUMBIANA – An 18-year-old man is suing Shelby County Sheriff Chris Curry after being denied a concealed pistol permit.

Henri Beaulieu III applied for a pistol permit and paid the $20 fee with the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office May 3.

According to a lawsuit filed by Pelham attorney Donna Beaulieu, Henri Beaulieu’s mother, Beaulieu called the sheriff’s office before applying for the permit.

Beaulieu was “informed by a representative or agent of the sheriff that because Beaulieu was not 21 years of age, he would not be approved for a permit … and that ‘under the law,’ the sheriff would not consider anyone under the age of 21 years for a permit to carry a concealed pistol,” the suit stated.

Beaulieu’s father, Henri Beaulieu Jr., who also is listed as a plaintiff in the suit, then called the sheriff’s office on his son’s behalf, the suit stated.

Henri Beaulieu Jr. allegedly was informed the sheriff could consider a 19- or 20-year-old for a permit, but the applicant would need express permission from a parent, according to the suit.

“Beaulieu and Beaulieu’s parent were also told by the sheriff’s office that Beaulieu could not openly carry a pistol/handgun (which is not the law), although he could have a shotgun or rifle in his vehicle,” the suit stated.

The suit stated Curry interviewed Beaulieu in person in May. In June, Curry informed Beaulieu he was denied the pistol permit “for no other reason than because Beaulieu was under the age of 19,” the suit stated. The sheriff’s office refunded the $20 permit fee.

Donna Beaulieu, who is representing her son, said in a phone interview the reason Beaulieu was denied the permit was “troublesome,” and the sheriff’s department is providing incorrect information concerning the age requirement for pistol permits.

County Attorney Butch Ellis, who represents Curry, said the sheriff has “a lot of discretion about (pistol permits).”

The Shelby County Sheriff’s Office website states, “The applicant must be at least 21 years of age. At age 19, with the expressed permission of a parent or legal guardian, the Sheriff will consider issuance of a license.”

Beaulieu is a sophomore at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and Jefferson State Community College, and travels into downtown Birmingham for classes and extracurricular activities.

Donna Beaulieu referenced section 13A of the Code of Alabama, which outlines that a sheriff may issue a permit to an applicant who “has good reason to fear injury to his or her person … and that he or she is a suitable person to be so licensed.” The suit highlights that the Alabama legislature did not enter a minimum age requirement to the law.

“Obviously, I would like my son to have the protection at 18 as a college student to go downtown at night … to carry a concealed weapon with a permit,” Donna Beaulieu said. “Being denied the permit based on age was wrong.”

Donna Beaulieu said, depending on the timeline of the suit, her son plans to reapply for the permit after he turns 19 on April 29.

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  • CLBJB

    In March of 1965, President Johnson sent Congress a message on crime that requested an extension of the federal role in firearms regulation.[82] The administration proposal, introduced as Senate Bill 1592, had been drafted by the Treasury staff with support from the Department of Justice. The bill contained most of the key strategic elements of the Gun Control Act of 1968: increases in the fees and regulation of firearms dealers; a federal minimum age requirement for handgun (21) and long gun (18) purchase; and a prohibition of handgun sales to residents of another state. The bill was not referred out of committee.[84]

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  • mixduptransistor

    He probably shouldn’t have publicized the fact that he wants the gun because he goes to UAB. Carrying a weapon on campus at UAB is against policy and will get you kicked out of school. Can’t even have one in the car. 40,000 other people manage to visit, study, and work at UAB daily and thousands more downtown without any problems.

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    • John Roperson

      He did not say he wanted it on campus. All that was stated is he went to college. The complaint was amended today to make that clear.

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      • mixduptransistor

        Why would it be mentioned that he’s a student at UAB and goes to Birmingham daily except to imply that he feels some kind of danger when he goes up there and plans to take it? It’s against policy of the schools he goes to. Period. Doesn’t matter if he gets a Class 3 license to own machine guns. Can’t take them to school. I think he should grow up and grow a pair like everyone else that goes to UAB, yes, without problems.

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      • John Roperson

        Maybe he goes at night and parks off street? Did that occur to you?

        So last year the campus had 2 ” forcible sexual offenses” You know…rapes..and this year the hospital had 2 also. So keep telling yourself how safe it is. I wonder how safe those rape victims think it is?

        You really need to be more mature and stop the personal attacks.

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    • John Roperson

      Oh, and you sure are taking liberties to say people have no problem every day. Hilarious.

      Here are some FACTS for you from the FBI. Then come back here and tell me how safe it is.

      All in 2011:A total of 57 homicides ..1,916 aggravated assaults, 1,011 robberies, and 182 forcible rapes, 17,841 property crimes reported in Birmingham in 2011. So yeah, doesn’t sound so safe to me.

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      • Mystic Lemur

        Thanks for posting those crime statistics before I could. I think it’s terribly ignorant to ask why someone feels like they need a gun in a city that consistently ranks in the top ten most violent cities in the nation.

        Of course, mixduptransistor will post something along the lines of “That’s for the whole city, not for the area around UAB.” Of course, he will neglect to mention how he expects anyone to get to UAB without going through the rest of Birmingham. He certainly won’t mention that the crime in Birmingam’s south side (where UAB is and most of the students live and hang out) still has a higher crime rate than the surrounding suburbs. The real question is, knowing those crime statistics, who wouldn’t feel like they need a way to protect themselves.

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    • Mystic Lemur

      Once he gets his permit, I hope UAB is stupid enough to expel him for having a gun. Then we’ll finally be able to address the issue of them unlawfully restricting the right to bear arms on state property.

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  • RobotDoc

    I am a staunch supporter of the second ammendment and I have a CC permit. That being said, I support Sheriff Curry on this one. I understand your argument about 18 year olds going off to defend this nation having a firearm and this young man not being allowed. Two quick points on that subject. Point one. Most 18 years old in the military get plenty of training to use said firearm, an those that are out an about locked an loaded are in a war zone not at UAB. Point two. I have had to take an 18 to NJP in the military for an AD that could have caused an international incident, an UAB or Jeff State may cause even more of a issue for the young man. Don’t get me wrong there are plenty of my peirs that have CC permits that I think need to do some training before they slip that .38 into their pocket. Just my two cents.

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    • John Roperson

      The complaint states he has training. The article states. The sheriff said he was suitable. Only because of his age is he not. The law does not set the age at 18. He goes to college. He never said he wanted it on campus. I think people must keep saying that because that is the only argument they can come up with. Do you all not understand he can wear a pistol exposed now if he wants to? That is the law in Alabama. He just can’t get into a car with it or conceal it. The law does not set 19 or 21 as the age.

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  • Bama Carry

    INAL…This case has two options…

    Option one is to seek a Writ of Mandamus to force the Sheriff to issue the permit..Writs are not successful very often. Henri Beaulieu III would have to prove that Sheriff Curry acted arbitrary and capricious…

    Option two is to attack it Constitutionally…If the Constitutional approach is taken there is a good chance it could prevail…

    The Alabama Declaration of Rights in our Constitution clearly states:

    SECTION 26

    Right to bear arms.
    That every citizen has a right to bear arms in defense of himself and the state.

    SECTION 36

    Construction of Declaration of Rights.
    That this enumeration of certain rights shall not impair or deny others retained by the people; and, to guard against any encroachments on the rights herein retained, we declare that everything in this Declaration of Rights is excepted out of the general powers of government, and shall forever remain inviolate

    Citing from the Alabama Supreme Court Decision
    Ex parte Cranman, 792 So. 2d 392 (2000)

    Section 36 erects a firewall between the Declaration of Rights that precedes it and the general powers of government, including the authority to exercise judicial power, that follow it.

    http://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=8515021564353261124&q=exparte+cranman,+created+a+firewall,+&hl=en&as_sdt=4,

    Also look to the Alabama Constitutional Convention Day 7 where an unsuccessful change to the Constitution was submitted to give the Legislative body the right to license carry.
    =======================================================
    CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION, 1901

    SEVENTH DAY
    MONTGOMERY, ALA.,
    May 29th, 1901

    Page 172
    Ordinance No. 87, by Mr. Ferguson:
    An Ordinance concerning the right of citizens to bear arms.

    Be it ordained by the people of Alabama in Convention assembled, That in lieu of Section 27 of Article I. of the Constitution of 1875, the following provision shall be enacted:

    Section —. That every citizen has a right to bear arms in defense of himself and the State, but the General Assembly shall have the power to regulate the bearing of small arms, shall define the same, and shall pass laws requiring a license for the bearing of such small arms.

    Note–For the benefit of the Committee the following authorities are cited:

    Miller vs. Texas, 153 U. S. P., 533, and authorities there cited: 92 U. S. P. 542 ; 116 U. S. P. 252.

    Referred to Committee on Preamble and bill of Rights.

    Note:Page numbers are in the top left hand corner for each page separation.

    http://www.legislature.state.al.us/misc/history/constitutions/1901/proceedings/1901_proceedings_vol1/day7.html

    =========================================================

    This provision / ordinance did not make it into the Constitution therefor in my opinion any licensing to carry is unconstitutional.

    bamacarry@aol.com

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  • rebeltaz

    I’ve had my permit for 20 years. I got it when I turned 18. You know, it’s funny… we can hand an 18 year old a rifle and send him off to fight in another country, but somehow, that same 18 year old isn’t responsible enough to possess a firearm in defense of his OWN life?

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    • mixduptransistor

      To be fair, the military does train and screen people before giving them guns. Not commenting on whether or not this permit should or shouldn’t be given to the kid, but your argument lacks some context.

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  • spazwaz07

    This lawsuit has no grounds. It clearly states that the applicant must be 21 years of age or 19 with the consent of a parent and even that is not guaranteed because Alabama is a “may issue” state. Although, the sheriff’s office needs to be educated on open carry because Alabama is an open carry state. There is NO county in the state that will issue to an 18 year-old. Actually, Shelby County stating that they will issue to a 19 year-old with consent is more than most counties in the state. I suggest you educate yourself on the law John Roperson.

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    • John Roperson

      It has grounds because the legislature did not set a minimum age. And case law reflects that 18 is the minimum age. And laws reflect that as well. Such as you can own a pistol at 18, openly car that pistol at 18, have a rifle or shotgun in your car at 18, etc. Case law also says the legislature would go to far in passing a law that stopped you from bearing arms, such as in a vehicle. That is what this case is about as well. A person is presumed innocent until proven guilty. A person is suitable for a permit until proven otherwise. The sheriff said he was suitable, except for his age. Do you understand the age is arbitrary? Discretion is arbitrary. They would not give Dr. King a permit either. That’s what happens when you have “discretion”

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      • mixduptransistor

        You are not “presumed” eligible for a permit. Alabama is a ‘may issue’ state, meaning that you are not entitled to the right to the permit. That applies in ‘shall issue’ states

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  • tidefm

    I don’t know of any 18 year old mature enough to carry a pistol anywhere!

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    • mommyt

      Well, that is a damn shame. It surely is an indication of the circle of people you run with. All 18 year olds, at the latest, should be responsible enough to carry a weapon. Our military allows for it and REQUIRES males at 18 years old register for the call to use one! In fact, in some places, kids as young as 9 are being taught the ways of a gun. People should be taught early on the right and wrongs of such a powerful peice of machinery. Irresponsible gun access is how accidents happen. Education and responsible parenting is the name of the game – on any playing board.

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    • John Roperson

      I do. What about 19, or 20? Did you read the article? You wouldn’t want your daughter if you have/had one to have a pistol in her glove compartment if she had to drive somewhere crappy or back in the sticks? Or would you rather her not have a cell signal, break down and get raped?

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  • mommyt

    I don’t see what the problem is. If the man can carry a non-concealed weapon at 18 years old, then, besides the obvious, what is the difference of a concealed weapon? The article also states this: County Attorney Butch Ellis, who represents Curry, said the sheriff has “a lot of discretion about (pistol permits)”. THAT may be the problem. The law needs to be very clear – black and white – not up to someone’s personal judgement. Seriously, the man can have a rifle, an AK-47 perhaps, in the window of his car, but not a pistol under his jacket? Ridiculous. This law or personal “discretion” needs to be changed.

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  • flwrchld

    The mother states that her son attends classes at UAB and wishes to carry a pistol for protection. Dear lady, it’s illegal to carry any firearms onto a school campus! Your argument/case is not valid!

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    • John Roperson

      It’s not against the law to carry a gun on a college campus in Alabama. Please tell me where the law is in The Code of Alabama.

      And the article simply states he just goes there and travels there. Maybe he’s doing something else up there for “extracurricular” activities that aren’t on campus. Maybe he parks on the street and leaves it in his car. You are assuming an awful lot.

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  • seminoletide

    As a Life Member of the NRA and staunch supporter of the rights of law-abiding citizens to be armed for their personal protection and protection of their property I believe the sheriff did the correct thing in this instance. I do not believe that an 18 year old should necessarily be issued a concealed carry permit. I fully support the sheriff having the right to interview a prospective permit holder under the age of 21. Sorry Mr. Beaulieu, you’ll just have to wait…

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    • John Roperson

      Did you read the article? The article said the Sheriff said he was suitable, except for his age. And the NRA is behind this suit. You can’t make up the law and enforce it the way you want to. The minimum age is 18 years old and up. The courts will decide this one. Not public opinion.

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