About the Author

Jeff Long is Edina's former Police Chief, having served the City's Police Department from 1987 to 2013.

Wow! A lot of Gun Permits!

Jeff Long, January 23, 2013 | Posted in Public Safety

The word “gun” seems to bring about a lot of conversation. It also brings out emotions to many people. When I hear the word “gun,” I think about having my signature on gun permits.

A couple of weeks ago I wrote a blog post about gun safety. In that post I mentioned that I am responsible for signing the permits to purchase a handgun. I have never really been all that comfortable doing so, but it is part of my job. It’s not that I am opposed to guns, I only question the current process in which we issue permits to buy guns.

Working in a police department gives a view into the lives of many. I have signed, as required by the law, permits that cause me to be a little uneasy. Unfortunately, the permit process does not allow for any flexibility. Although a person may fit the guidelines of the law, there are other issues that are not taken into consideration. There are many of you who would not want your name on the permit for a few individuals. And unfortunately many people who commit violent acts have legally purchased their guns.

In the last year, we have issued well over double the amount of permits that we have issued in the 12 months prior to that. Each day I come into work I am greeted by a new stack of permits. To the left is the stack from today.

In law enforcement, we are not allowed to use any discretion regarding the law. It’s pretty black and white. We act according to what the law says.

I have received a variety of calls from concerned residents asking why I sign so many permits. What is important to remember is that the police department does not make the laws, we only enforce them. The officials that we elect as a society are the ones who make the laws. If you want some sort of change, or want the gun laws left alone, you must get involved and contact your lawmakers.

With all of this said, I need to go review the above stack of handgun permits.

3 Responses to Wow! A lot of Gun Permits!

  1. Betsy Wolff says:

    OK everybody, take a deep breath. Let the conversation continue. Here’s a fine article by Sam Harris, co-founder and CEO of Project Reason, which takes a balanced approach on the issue of guns:

  2. John Hamilton says:

    Chief Long;
    Thank you for sharing your insights on gun ownership. I do think there are lots of facts out there that could also be shared that might help citizens make thoughtful decisions about gun purchases…for instance that a gun in the home is 22 times more likely to injure the resident than it is to be used on an intruder.
    Please continue helping all of us to make good decisions and to keep Edina safe.

  3. Doug Hall says:

    thoughtful, I like it!
    Doug Hall
    4501 Parkside Lane

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