For decades, Wright County has been known as a county that issues a lot of concealed carry gun permits. Currently, there are more than 13,000 active permits to carry for residents of Wright County and Sheriff Sean Deringer wants to make it more affordable for two segments of the county population to obtain a permit.
Deringer came before the Wright County Board at its April 7 meeting requesting a public hearing for a change in his office’s fee schedule – changes in fees charged by county offices and departments are required to go through the public hearing process.
The fee change request was to reduce the cost of a permit to carry from $100 to $25 for current and former law enforcement officers that live in Wright County and for veterans and their spouses. Initially, Deringer was going to offer the modified price only to military veterans, but, at the urging of Commissioner Charlie Borrell, he felt it was appropriate to include spouses of veterans.
Deringer said this wasn’t a recent idea or a reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic. It has been an initiative he has supported for some time.
“It’s something that I’ve wanted to do ever since I was elected,” Deringer said. “My dad was a Vietnam veteran and I saw the impact that had on my own family growing up and some of the things he’s had to work through over the years. I’ve always had a great deal of respect for our veterans and there’s a really cool relationship between them and law enforcement. We take care of things at home, so they can go abroad and take care of things there and we take care of their families in their absence. For me, it was a no-brainer to give back to them a little bit for the service they have provided.”
Deringer’s office can only issue permits to residents of Wright County, but he said that, like many workers, there are many who live in Wright County that work elsewhere, including law enforcement, which is why he wanted them included.
“We have a beautiful county and we have several cops and deputy sheriffs that live in Wright County that work for other agencies throughout the metro and surrounding counties. If they want these permits, I support them. It’s something nice to have in your back pocket if you ever need it. If I can support our law enforcement officers that live in Wright County, it just makes us stronger.”
The county board unanimously approved setting a public hearing for 9:30 a.m. at the board’s April 28 meeting. Deringer said he felt this was a way to honor the men and women of Wright County who put their lives on the line for county residents – whether that entails veterans who were deployed overseas or law enforcement that protects the citizens of the county.
“It’s just our way of showing our appreciation to veterans and local law enforcement,” Deringer said. “They’ve done a lot for us and I felt it is appropriate for us to do something for them.”