I ran across this story about the San Diego County Sheriff’s Office and their concealed carry licensing system from 10 News in San Diego and was immediately struck by the language used by the auditor for the state of California, who told the sheriff’s office to jack up the fees for being able to lawfully carry a concealed firearm.
The 2017 audit also recommended, “To ensure that it maximizes allowable revenue from its CCW program, San Diego should immediately pursue increasing its initial, renewal, and amendment fees to the maximum amounts allowable under state law.”
According to the Auditor’s newly released report, the estimated date of completion of those recommendations is unknown.
The purpose of a CCW program is not to generate revenue for the state or the county, or at least it’s not supposed to be. It’s supposedly to ensure that only law-abiding county residents exercise their right to bear arms. For years in San Diego County, that meant that the average person couldn’t obtain a concealed carry license, because “it’s my right” and “I want to carry a firearm for self-defense”didn’t meet the sheriff’s standard of justifiable need.
Things may be changing at the sheriff’s office, however. 10 News says the number of concealed carry licenses granted by the office have jumped from just 171 in 2017 to 707 in 2018. The department was also on pace to authorize more than 1,000 licenses in 2019, though the stated policy of the office is still that “self-defense” is not evidence of a justifiable need.
In a statement, the sheriff’s spokesperson also says the sheriff made a conscious decision to reject the auditor’s suggestion to raise the fees for applying for and receiving a concealed carry license.
The Sheriff’s Department did not agree on placing a high fee that would otherwise prevent the issuance of a CCW for a qualified and genuine necessity solely because of financial hardship. The adjustment of those fees is now mandated by the state with the passage and implementation of Assembly Bill 1297 this year. Sheriff’s Financial Services is currently looking at our business practice for reviewing the fees collected. That fee will ultimately need to be approved by the Board of Supervisors.”
Under previous California law, counties could charge up to $100 for applying for and receiving a concealed carry license. San Diego County charges about $65 to apply, and $93 for a two year permit.
The legislation that the sheriff mention, Ab 1297, removes that $100 cap on fees, which means counties can now charge as much as they want to permit someone to exercise a constitutionally protected right.
The more it costs to exercise a right, the more folks on the lower end of the income scale will be able to do so. That might be fine for billionaires like Michael Bloomberg and the coastal elites in California’s anti-gun enclaves, but it’s an absolute infringement on the right of the average Californian to be able to both keep and bear arms. In California, the right to carry a concealed firearm doesn’t exist, and neither does the right to openly carry a firearm.
The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals declared a few years ago in the Peruta case that there was no right to carry a concealed firearm. Given that the Second Amendment explicitly protects the right to bear arms, that must mean that open carry is a protected right, if concealed carry is not. That’s what a panel of the 9th Circuit determined in a case called Young v Hawaii, but the 9th Circuit decided it would re-hear the case en banc in February of 2019. Since then, however, it’s kept the case on ice as it awaits a Supreme Court decision in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association (or, anti-gun justices on the court just want to delay the case as long as possible, since Judge Diarmuid O’Scannlain wrote such a masterful opinion that I think opponents have an impossible task in trying to effectively rebut it.
In the meantime, California residents in many anti-gun enclaves will soon have another insult to be added to the injury of their rights; a hike on fees that will preclude many good people in bad neighborhoods from even applying for their permit. The fees are non-refundable, after all. You don’t get your money back if you’re denied. Meanwhile Hollywood’s celebrities are protected by their armed guards, Silicon Valley tech CEO’s have their corporate security teams, and the politically connected can even allegedly grease the wheels of the concealed carry process with a few campaign donations. For a state that prides itself on being so democratic (in every sense of the word), it’s a shame the state is so elitist in how it treats a right of the People.