Some California residents may think this is a long shot, but an effort is in place to move legislation through the California legislature to make it easier for law-abiding citizens to carry a pistol in the Golden State.
Assembly Bill 357 (PDF, 127KB), introduced by Steve Knight (R-36), would create a “shall issue” concealed handgun permit system in California. The current system is “may issue” and open to varying interpretations depending on the sheriff of the county. It is virtually impossible to get the permit in Los Angeles or San Francisco counties.
The author of the legislation has tried to push the same bill through committee before, but efforts failed. The legislation is scheduled to be heard again by the Assembly Committee on Public Safety on Tuesday, January 12.
How bad is the situation in California? It’s pretty bad when sheriffs have the opportunity to hand out permits to friends and supporters but deny the right to other law-abiding residents. As an example, the new Orange County sheriff – who replaced a sheriff involved with a wacky corruption case – made the decision to review permits issued in her county since she was the new sheriff in town.
You can read about the corruption case in the link, but here is an article referencing the concealed carry permits being reviewed last summer, with my emphasis added.
Hutchens began a review of 1,069 active permit holders in July. A total of 423 were sent letters asking for more information to support their “good cause” to carry a concealed weapon. Late last month, the Sheriff’s Department sent letters to the 57 who had not responded — including Schroeder, Probolsky and Mensinger — saying that their permits would be terminated Friday. In all, 133 people have been told their permits will be terminated Friday unless they provide “good cause.”
To date, 183 people have been approved to continue to carry a concealed weapon based on the additional information they provided.
Oh, thank you sheriff!
Over at SigForum.com, participant JALLEN shared his letter sent to lawmakers in California. It really sums up the situation quite well. My emphasis added.
I am writing to urge support of AB357, sponsored by Assembly Member Steve Knight (R-36), would create a “shall issue” concealed handgun permit system in California. Under current law, an applicant must show cause as to why they should be issued a permit to carry a concealed handgun for self-defense. AB357 would remove that stipulation and require sheriffs to issue the license if all other mandated criteria are satisfied.
I have been a concealed permit holder in California in the past. Persons such as myself, having no criminal or mental health record, and having satisfied the good moral character standard required of several licensing authorities such as the State Bar of California, DRE, and other similar standards, should be issued a permit to carry a concealed weapon if they wish to do so. Going to a “shall issue” standard as proposed will not mean that dangerous scofflaws will be enabled to carry such weapons; those people carry them anyway if they desire to, without permits. Such persons have no respect for the law no matter what it happens to be. “May issue” penalizes only law-abiding responsible citizens who have the misfortune to reside in a county in which the Sheriff has decided to not issue permits, or to issue permits only to cronies and supporters as has been reported in the past.
One salutary feature of this bill would be to establish a state wide criteria for issuance of a concealed weapons permit. As it is now, each Sheriff decides for him/her self what constitutes “good cause”, the result being that certain rural counties are virtually “shall issue” while certain other counties, namely Los Angeles and San Francisco, are no issue for all practical purposes. As noted above, issuance of concealed permits under this law have been a source of corruption on the part of sheriffs and political supporters, and no public or private good comes from that.
Other states which have adopted “shall issue” laws have not suffered any negative impacts arising from having responsible citizens carrying concealed weapons.
I urge you to support this proposed law and work towards its enactment.
We’ve got a very large contingent of readers and listeners based in California, so if you are a resident, it’s time to step up and write some letters. Please contact them and respectfully ask them to support AB 357.
Assembly Member Jose Solorio (D-69) – Chair
Assembly Member Curt Hagman (R-60) – Vice Chair
Assembly Member Warren T. Furutani (D-55)
Assembly Member Danny D. Gilmore (R-30)
Assembly Member Jerry Hill (D-19)
Assembly Member Fiona Ma (D-12)
Assembly Member Nancy Skinner (D-14)