Last February, the Ninth Circuit Court Of Appeals, which has jurisdiction over most of the Western United States, ruled that California’s concealed carry law was unconstitutional. The provision in the law stating that one must give “good cause” for a concealed carry permit was deemed too burdensome–and they’re right!
After the ruling, Orange County saw a spike in concealed carry permits. It got to the point where the county had to spend an additional $1.6 million–and hire 14 part-time staffers–to process all the applications.
At the time, Orange County Sheriff Sandra Hutchens said she wasn’t going to add more scrutiny to the concealed carry permit process. If you’re a law-abiding citizen and apply, you’ll get your permit. She was quoted in the New York Times saying, “We’re not going to try to tell them there’s a low crime rate or it’s safe on the streets…if they feel that under the current guidelines that they need it for personal safety and they pass the background of moral character, then we are going to issue it to them.”
Now, the trend in applications has continued with the number of permits doubling in the county (via LA Times):
That number will continue to rise as county officials process the stack of pending applications, which had grown to more than 2,800 by the end of August. Thousands more have requested appointments to apply for permits, officials said. In all, more than 7,000 people have filled out applications or requested appointments, sheriff's officials said.
Orange County Sheriff Sandra Hutchens is one of the only sheriffs in California to relax the standards after the ruling, even as a final decision remains pending before the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.
If the ruling is upheld, counties throughout California could soon be following her lead and dealing with similar demand.
Those with a permit can take loaded guns to the mall, their workplace and other public places as long as the firearms are not visible and are not prohibited by private property rules. They are restricted from carrying in bars, airports and some schools and government buildings.
Not everyone is happy about this development. Charlie Blek, of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence's Orange County, has an irrational fear that law-abiding citizens carrying firearms are putting people at risk, including police officers. “The bottom line is that we are putting more people at greater risk with this policy including her own officers," he told the LA Times.