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Attorney: Philando Castile Had Valid Permit To Carry Gun

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- The attorney for the family of Philando Castile -- Glenda Hatchett -- says he did in fact have a valid permit to carry a gun.

WCCO-TV has obtained a copy of a form letter from Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek. It was sent to Castile as a new permit holder dated June 4, 2015.

It was Diamond Reynolds on the now infamous video who said that Castile had a permit to carry. She said on the Facebook video, "He is licensed. He is licensed to carry. He was trying to get out his ID."

We showed the letter addressed to Castile to Hamline Law Professor Emeritus Joe Olson, who helped write Minnesota's Permit to Carry Law and is a permit to carry instructor. He said, "The letter I got from Ramsey County was very similar. It does it look absolutely authentic."

permit to carry
(credit: CBS)

In the public debate in the aftermath of Castile's death, there have been questions about a statement Diamond Reynolds made on the Facebook video as she sat handcuffed in a squad car.

Reynolds said, "He is licensed to carry. We had a busted tail light and we had some weed in the car."

Does Reynolds admission that marijuana was in the car invalidate Castile's permit to carry?

"That is a really complex issue," Professor Olson said.

Legal experts cited a tangled web of federal, state and local marijuana laws and questions including how much marijuana was present, and whether Castile knew it was there. Minnesota has made the possession of small amounts of marijuana a petty misdemeanor, which in legal terms, is not a crime.

But all the experts we spoke with say revocation of a permit is not immediate, and that the permit to carry was still valid at the moment of Castile's death. Experts, including Professor Olson, said permits get revoked only after a process that can include a criminal conviction or an admission of criminal activity.

Castile's death has galvanized Minnesota gun rights groups, one of which is now working on a video to help Minnesota's 236,000 permit holders know what to do when they are pulled over in a traffic stop.

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