Twenty years ago, after being shot in the face at point-blank range with a .38-caliber revolver, Antonio Bedford, then 21, vowed never to be defenseless again, says the Memphis Commercial Appeal. For Bedford that often meant carrying a gun. Earlier this year, Bedford lost the right to carry his weapon of choice, a .380-caliber automatic pistol because of a 1995 felony. It took one year from the date Bedford was issued a permit for Tennessee officials to determine that he should have been barred from carrying a gun.
Bedford is one of nine convicted felons in Memphis’ Shelby County who received letters this year demanding they surrender their handgun permits, illustrating the difficulty Tennessee has had in keeping firearms out of the hands of felons. A Commercial Appeal review of the nine permit mistakes in Shelby County showed how inefficient agencies have been in sharing information about convicted felons that could bolster public safety. Four of the nine accidentally given permits had felony convictions recorded in Shelby County Criminal Court — convictions that were also recorded in a database maintained by the Tennessee Administrative Office of the Courts in Nashville.