Archived Story

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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