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Beaver County sheriff accused of gun permit favoritism

| Thursday, Dec. 19, 2013, 11:36 p.m.

Beaver County Sheriff George David undercharged hundreds of people for gun permits, and his office owes the county thousands of dollars, according to a draft audit that county Controller David A. Rossi released this week.

David's solicitor, Myron Sainovich, maintained that David approved less than a couple dozen permits for reduced or waived fees. He added that David lowered fees for some police officers and constables, and other sheriffs have done so.

“This is clearly an attack on the sheriff,” Sainovich said. “Every time he turns around, someone is giving him a kick.”

Rossi could not be reached for comment on Thursday.

David, 66, of Hopewell is awaiting trial in February on charges that he threatened an online journalist with a gun. County commissioners on Dec. 7 filed paperwork asking a judge to declare David and deputies in contempt of court, saying they continue to provide private security for private companies even though a judge ordered a halt to the practice.

Under state law, the state gets $1 for each concealed-carry permit, and the county where it was issued receives $19. There's a $5 application fee, and if the permit is approved, and the permit costs $15 more.

Sainovich said there's nothing in the state law that prohibits a sheriff from waiving or reducing the fee and does not provide penalties if someone doesn't collect the fee.

According to Rossi's draft, David's office issued 47 gun permits at no charge, and 370 recipients didn't pay the full cost between Jan. 1, 2010, and Dec. 31, 2012. The county lost $6,621, according to the audit. And 178 applicants denied permits didn't get their $5 fee back.

In 2008 and 2009, the county lost $6,512 because 30 permits were issued for free, and 396 received a discount, the audit found.

Bill Vidonic is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-380-5621.

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