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N4T Investigators: Lethal Loophole?

TUCSON – Tucson police tried to take the concealed weapons permit from the man accused of killing a US marshal.

Ryan Schlesinger has been charged with the murder of Deputy US Marshal Chase White.

Schlesinger had a valid Arizona concealed weapons permit, commonly called a CCW. A CCW allows people to buy firearms from licensed dealers without further background checks.

Tucson police officers had confiscated a gun from Schlesinger. He had a court order that prohibited him from possessing guns. Police were afraid he may buy more, so they wanted to take his CCW from him, according to police reports.

An officer wrote in a report, “I previously contacted DPS but was advised that despite the Injunctions Against Harassment specifically prohibiting Ryan from possessing firearms, his CCW could not be revoked due to the fact that they were Injunctions Against Harassment and not Orders of Protection.”

A Department of Public Safety representative wrote in an email that there are 3 conditions that allow DPS to revoke a CCW. Schlesinger did not meet any of those conditions.

“DPS had no information or basis on which to suspend or revoke his CCW permit,” Trooper Kameron Lee wrote.

Pam Simon was working for Representative Gabby Giffords on January 8, 2011. She was shot through the arm and chest. Since the mass shooting, she has been advocating to reform gun laws.

“We need to look at some of these loopholes,” Simon said.

It is not clear how Schlesinger obtained his guns, but Simon said the plastic permits could lead to tragedy.

“Between the time they receive that piece of plastic, and when they put it down to purchase a gun at a licensed gun dealer, we don’t know what’s happened in that time,” Simon said.

Ken Rineer founded Gun Owners of Arizona. He said the CCW, which even includes fingerprinting, should be a sufficient background check.

“The background check that is conducted during the whole CCW application process is much more intense than the phone call to NICS background check that you typically get when you go buy a firearm,” Rineer said.

Rineer said court orders should not overly burden people’s rights.

“Unlike a domestic violence situation where there is actually a crime that can be prosecuted,” Rineer said, “harassment, there’s no crime.”

Attorneys are still reviewing evidence in the Schlesinger case, and a trial date is not scheduled yet.

Sam Salzwedel

Sam Salzwedel is an investigative reporter at News 4 Tucson – KVOA.

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