Tom DeLay Wants Gun License Back

U.S. Rep. Tom DeLay, leaves a Travis County courtroom during a break in a hearing Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2005, in Austin, Texas. The hearing is before a visiting judge who is expected to decide DeLay's request that state district judge Bob Perkins, in whose courtroom the hearing is being held, be removed because he made contributions to Democratic candidates and causes. (AP Photo/Harry Cabluck)
AP
Rep. Tom DeLay is fighting to regain his concealed handgun permit after it was suspended because of his indictment on felony charges.

A justice of the peace suspended DeLay's license in January after the former majority leader was indicted last year. A judge dismissed a conspiracy charge, but DeLay still faces a felony charge of money laundering.

Under state law, the Texas Department of Public Safety can suspend a handgun license if its holder has been charged with certain misdemeanors or higher.

DeLay, a vocal gun rights proponent, has appealed the suspension and has asked for a new hearing after missing a Jan. 26 court date.

"Without objection, they (the Department of Public Safety) presented a copy of an indictment," Justice of the Peace Jim Richard said. "And that was about it for the case."

Steve Brittain, one of DeLay's Austin attorneys, filed the appeal March 14. A hearing date has not been set.

Steve Moninger, an attorney for the Department of Public Safety, which administers the handgun licensing law, said the state will contest the appeal.

"We are going to keep going. Our function is to enforce the statute," Moninger said.

Brittain did not return telephone messages left Monday.

DeLay spokeswoman Shannon Flaherty said neither Brittain nor DeLay was able to make the original court hearing.

Flaherty would not say whether DeLay needs a handgun permit. In a written statement, she said, "As for whether or not he carries it, that's the point of having a CHL (concealed handgun license) in Texas, potential criminals should assume everyone is."

The indictment cost DeLay his leadership post. He won his Republican primary election earlier this month and faces former Democratic Rep. Nick Lampson in the Nov. 7 general election.