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Sunday, August 14, 2022

Changes to California’s Secret Carry Permits Will Reduce Wider Diversity Between Counties

Over the past decade, Orange County has issued 65,171 permits for carrying a concealed handgun, and both Fresno and Sacramento counties have issued more than 45,000.

San Francisco 11.

That’s according to data published online Monday by the California Department of Justice, but has since been removed after journalists found the open database contained the names, home addresses and other personal details of more than 200,000 concealed carry permit holders in the state. information was included.

The wide variation in counties was at the center of last week’s US Supreme Court opinion, which rejected New York state’s concealed carry permit scheme, which is similar to California and which asked local law enforcement to determine whether Gave wide discretion as to who should be allowed to carry a concealed handgun in public.

Sheriffs in California counties have been the most common judge of whether an applicant has a “good reason” to obtain a concealed carry permit. In counties with conservative sheriffs, including Orange and Sacramento, they have exercised that discretion to issue these permits to any applicants who qualify on paper. In San Francisco, concealed carry permits are virtually nonexistent.

The court’s decision last Thursday is forcing San Francisco’s sheriff’s department to behave like Orange County—at least until state lawmakers pass new legislation.

On Friday, Attorney General Rob Bonta advised all county sheriffs and police chiefs in the state that they “may no longer require a demonstration of ‘good reason’ to obtain a hidden carry permit.”

California law also requires applicants to undergo background checks, take a safety course, and meet a “good moral character” standard, which is often interpreted to disqualify those who commit violent crimes or order restraining orders. subject to. In his Friday memo, Bonta stressed that licensing authorities are still obliged to enforce those other requirements.

But statewide standards are likely to improve soon.

On Tuesday, Sen. Anthony Portantino, a Democrat from Glendale, introduced legislation that he said would be “updated” to make the state’s concealment law more restrictive, while also complying with the latest Supreme Court order.

The bill, which was authored by Bonta’s office, would create a new statewide application process that would explicitly disqualify applicants who have committed certain felonies or are the subject of restraining orders. Applicants will also need to be at least 21, provide three character witnesses and take an additional firearm storage and safety course.

Beyond the additional constraints required for applicants, the bill would expand the number of designated “sensitive locations” where even a concealed carry license holder would not be allowed to take their firearms. That exception is drawn directly from a Supreme Court decision that ruled that the government is allowed to prohibit guns in certain areas, such as schools and government buildings.

Portantino’s Senate Bill 918 would make the following “sensitive”: all school grounds, college and university campuses, government and judicial buildings, medical facilities, public transportation, public parks, playgrounds, public displays and any place where alcohol is sold Is.

Some gun rights advocates disagree that the new rules conform to the court’s new standard. “It’s not an improvement on California’s concealed carry laws, it’s a disregard for the opinion of this court,” Dan Reed, a lobbyist for the National Rifle Association, told the Assembly Public Safety Committee hearing on the bill on Tuesday.

The bill passed committee along party lines, with all Democrats voting in favor. MPs will take it back when they return from summer vacation in August.

Aida Khachikyan picks up a gun at the Gun Gallery on April 18, 2007 in Glendale, Calif. (Photo: Gabriel Boyce/AFP via Getty Images)

If passed into law, concealed carry licenses could be more difficult to obtain in counties where permits are issued relatively freely, while the most restrictive counties would need to issue more . It would close a particularly wide gap between the urban Bay Area and rural Northern California. Most Bay Area counties have issued fewer than 60 licenses per 100,000 residents since 2012, according to new figures from the Justice Department.

It is more than 10,000 per 100,000 residents in Shasta, Modoc, Tehama, Inyo, Sierra, Calaveras, Plumas, Siskiyou, El Dorado, Tuolumne and Mariposa counties.

These numbers were published Monday by the state attorney general through a new “2022 Firearms Dashboard Portal,” which also included information on domestic violence restraining orders and registered firearms vendors.

“Transparency is key to increasing public trust between law enforcement and the communities we serve,” Bonta said of the new data tool in a press release.

But on Tuesday, gun rights and conservative media outlets reported that the dashboard allowed users to access the personal information of thousands of concealed carry license applicants.

The Justice Department Public Data Portal was offline as of this morning. And after multiple requests for comment, the attorney general’s press office issued an unsigned statement Tuesday saying that the disclosure of personal information was a mistake and it is investigating.

“Any unauthorized release of personal information is unacceptable,” the statement said. “We are working rapidly to address this situation and will provide additional information as soon as possible.”

The full database was not directly accessible through the interactive dashboard, but on Monday users could navigate a menu allowing the download of approximately 600,000 records. The file included the full legal name, date of birth, home address, age and, if specified, the race and ethnicity of at least 242,727 individual applicants. At least 140 of those applicants are current or former judges.

Butte County Sheriff Cory Honia, president of the California State Sheriff’s Association, said he reached out to the California Department of Justice after being notified of the release of the data. He said a department official assured him that the release of personal information was “not intentional” and that the department was “taking steps to minimize the damage caused.”

But Chuck Mitchell, president of the California Rifle and Pistol Association, the state chapter of the National Rifle Association, said there could be legal consequences for the state.

“Judge disclosures are illegal,” he said, referring to a state law that prohibits the state from publishing the home address of an elected or appointed official without his permission.

He added that even for general license holders, the disclosure could raise security concerns.

“You basically advertise to criminals: ‘Have a gun; here, get it,'” he said.

assembly republican leader Yuba City’s James Gallagher demanded That the lawyer immediately corrected “this grave error”, which he called “absolutely infuriating”.

“Over time, our state government has proved irresponsible with the most sensitive information,” Gallagher said in a statement. “Why should we rely on them for any sort of accountability, let alone keeping an up-to-date, secure database of gun owners’ information?”

Nathan Hochman, Bonta’s Republican opponent in the November election, slammed this morning, Tweeted that Bonta “Judges, reserve officers and domestic violence victims such as statewide firearms permit holders were at risk.”

World Nation News Desk
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