Former Alabama governor Robert Bentley, a 74-year-old dermatologist and Air Force veteran, had his concealed carry permit revoked shortly after Bentley resigned from office after pleading guilty to campaign and ethics violations in connection with a romantic relationship with his former adviser, Rebekah Caldwell Mason.
Tuscaloosa County Sheriff Ron Abernathy revoked Bentley’s pistol permit after all this went down, citing a “justifiable concern for public safety.” The sheriff’s office revokes the permits of anyone with a pending criminal case. It can be reinstated once conditions of any plea agreements are reached.
Bentley made a plea deal in the case, which means he can no longer hold public office in the future. The terms of Bentley’s plea deal require him to perform 100 hours of community service as a medical doctor (he still holds his medical license) and pay more than $50,000 in fines and restitution. He was also sentenced to 30 days in jail, suspended for a period of one year.
Bentley’s attorney filed a complaint against Sheriff Abernathy in an effort to get his pistol permit returned. Bentley has completed all the terms of his plea deal except for the completion of his community service.
According to Alabama law, sheriffs can deny a pistol permit if he has a “reasonable suspicion” the person could use the weapon illegally and can consider a variety of factors, including if the applicant is or was the subject of a prosecution that could lead them being prohibited from possession a firearm.
Sheriff Abernathy responded to the complaint and said revoking the permit was “justifiable.”
Now, here’s where I ask you, do you think this is fair? Is there anything about Bentley’s case that makes it seem like him using a gun in an unlawful manner against a member of the public is likely to occur? Here’s another question…what do you think the outcome of this case was? Do you think he got his gun rights back?
Aside from the fact that he should likely have gone to jail for the ethics violation and not just had to pay some fines and work as a medical doctor in a field he already works in, the outcome was that yes, he had his gun rights restored.
District Judge Joanne Jannik ruled that the Tuscaloosa County Sheriff’s Office did not meet its burden of proof that Bentley having a concealed carry permit caused a “justifiable concern for public safety.”
Do you think an ethics violation like this is grounds for a sheriff revoking someone’s permit?