Sioux City Journal | Posted: Wednesday, October 6, 2010 12:00 am |
OCHEYEDAN, Iowa — He didn’t get an A+, but a Northwest Iowa sheriff reportedly made the grade recently in a court-ordered course on the U.S. Constitution.
Osceola County Sheriff Douglas Weber enrolled in the course at the order of U.S. District Court Judge Mark Bennett, who ruled the sheriff must take the course for violating the rights of Ocheyedan resident Paul Dorr in wrongfully denying him a permit to carry a concealed weapon.
According to court documents filed Tuesday, Weber completed a 300-level course through the University of Phoenix. He earned a B-.
Dorr, 54, said a B- was pretty much what he thought Weber would get. Dorr and his son, Alexander, then 18, filed a federal lawsuit against Weber after they were denied applications to carry a concealed weapon.
“I hope he studied extra hard on the First and Second Amendment chapters of the course,” Dorr said. “I hope, and many people in the county hope, he’ll be a better sheriff for it.”
Weber, 54, could not be reached for comment Tuesday afternoon.
In his 2008 response to the lawsuit, Weber wrote he used his discretion as sheriff to determine whether the Dorrs would receive gun permits. Among his reasons for denial, he cited residents’ fears of bullying, harassment and intimidation by Paul Dorr.
Dorr maintained he needed the weapon permit for safety, due to his work for taxpayer groups, and the denial violated his civil rights.
In his ruling, Judge Bennett wrote there was a “tsunami, a maelstrom, an avalanche, of direct, uncontroverted evidence” that Weber had violated Paul Dorr’s First Amendment rights in denying the permits after the Dorrs engaged in extensive free speech activity. He ordered Weber to issue a permit to Paul Dorr and complete a college-level class in the U.S. Constitution.
According to the University of Phoenix website, History 301 is a five-week introductory course to the “historical, political, philosophical and economic roots of the U.S. Constitution.” It also covers the Bill of Rights and amendments, three branches of government and notable Supreme Court Decisions, the site says.
On Tuesday, Paul Dorr said he received his gun permit shortly after the original ruling and now owns a firearm. Dorr had maintained he needed the weapon for safety due to his participation in protests and his work as a consultant for taxpayer groups in several states.
Alexander Dorr, 20, will re-apply for his own permit when he turns 21, his father said.