Dubuque intruder shooting prompts weapon permit questions - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Dubuque intruder shooting prompts weapon permit questions


An incident last week in which police say a Dubuque man shot an intruder is prompting questions about gun permits.

The man who police say shot the intruder had a valid permit but a questionable past.

Police responded to 2759 Ventura Drive in Dubuque, Apartment 6, around 10:45 p.m. Monday, October 8 for a report of a shooting and alleged burglary.

According to police, two men -- 20-year-old tenant Lyle Young and 22-year-old Alfonso Faison Jr. -- were in the apartment when they heard a knock on the door.

Faison, who had a permit to carry a weapon, opened to door to 18-year-old James Welbes Jr. and 18-year-old Tanner Ervolino, who Faison told investigators was holding a crowbar in a threatening manner.

Faison shot his semi-automatic handgun, hitting Ervolino in the left bicep and right wrist. Those were non life-threatening injuries.

Dubuque County sheriff Don Vrotsos suspended Faison's permit on Wednesday of that week, after Faison told police he'd used marijuana around the time of the incident.

Iowa sheriffs can deny somebody a permit to carry, Vrotsos said, if he or she is "a felon or addicted to a controlled substance or alcohol, so those are just some of the prohibitors that would allow me to deny him a permit, along with having a conviction for domestic assault."

Dubuque County prosecutors have not formally charged Faison with any crimes stemming from this incident, though court documents show he told investigators he used marijuana.

Also, records show he had a felony theft charge from 2008 that received a deferred judgment, meaning a clean record for Faison.

Tim Flynn, an National Rifle Association certified instructor, said he teaches students in his gun safety class to hold themselves to the highest legal standards.

"I advocate that anyone who wants to lawfully carry a firearm should follow all laws, and, frankly, they ought to keep themselves above reproach legally," Flynn said. "It's a grave responsibility to carry a firearm and then be prepared to use it to defend yourself and others."

If prosecutors hit Faison with a drug-related charge and he gets convicted, the sheriff could permanently revoke Faison's permit to carry, which he received in August of this year.

Gun laws in Iowa changed in 2011 to a "shall issue" requirement for Iowa sheriffs. If a permit applicant meets the criteria, including a background check and proof of training, a sheriff cannot deny him or her a permit to carry.

Vrotsos said he has issued about 2,700 permits since the start of 2011. He said background checks get tricky when applicants have out-of-state charges because those arrests often show up without information about whether the person was convicted.

County prosecutors are charging Ervolino with first-degree burglary, and police arrested Welbes on a probation violation warrant. Court documents show police found marijuana and paraphernalia in Young's apartment. County prosecutors are charging him with possession of a controlled substance within 1,000 feet of a school.

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