Debate Magazine

Want to Carry a Concealed Weapon? California Could Make It Harder

By Eowyn @DrEowyn

So glad I don’t live in California.

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From Sacramento Bee: Only Californians facing threats of violence could carry concealed weapons under legislation unveiled on Thursday, a change that could stem a proliferation of concealed guns in Sacramento.

The bill follows a federal appeals court ruling allowing California counties to impose stricter standards for issuing concealed carry permits. Some local law enforcement officials have interpreted a state law requiring applicants to show “good cause” by asking those seeking permits to prove they face a heightened risk of being harmed.

Plaintiffs denied permits under more stringent rules in Yolo County and San Diego County sued, but the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the ability of those counties to make applicants prove they need concealed guns. Now Assemblyman Kevin McCarty, D-Sacramento, has amended Assembly Bill 466 to create a statewide standard that applicants must show they’re at risk of harm.

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In Sacramento County, where McCarty’s district sits, Sheriff Scott Jones has issued a huge number of concealed carry permits. Under Jones’ tenure, the number of permit-holders has exploded from a few hundred to around 8,000.

“Our sheriff seems to be handing out (concealed carry) permits like candy on Halloween,” said McCarty. “It would put the public more at ease that people who are getting these (permits) truly deserve them, that there’s an imminent threat to themselves.”


Accompanying the bill imposing the “good cause” standard statewide is a newly amended measure, Assembly Bill 450, that would boost permit fees so they cover the cost of following up and potentially revoking permits from people who are dangerous. The combined effect of the two, McCarty said, would be fewer concealed weapons.

“I think that would be the end result, and I don’t view that as a bad result,” McCarty said. “We put the public at risk with some of these issuances.”

Calling the rationale for the bill “outrageous,” Firearms Policy Coalition lobbyist Craig DeLuz noted that people seeking concealed carry permits already must clear extensive background checks, so “by every definition the individuals being approved are law-abiding citizens.”

McCarty is “saying the sheriffs don’t have the good judgment to determine what good cause is,” DeLuz said. “I don’t trust the Legislature to determine what good cause is – not a group that has made it very clear that if they could ban every firearm in California, they would.”

Jones, the Sacramento County sheriff, is challenging Rep. Ami Bera, D-Elk Grove for a seat in Congress. Gun control has already become an issue in the race for the perennially contested 7th District.

“Sheriff Jones believes the Legislature should concentrate on enacting laws that help law enforcement protect the public from violent criminals, not denying law-abiding citizens their constitutional rights,” Jones campaign director Dave Gilliard said in a statement.


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