Earlier this year Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said that he was going to approve more concealed carry licenses, though he did say that a general right of self-defense would still not be viewed by his office as a valid reason to apply. Apparently gun owners in the county are taking the sheriff at his word, because applications to receive a California Handgun Permit are soaring.
“We’re adding more people to it because all of a sudden it became very popular for people to solicit for a CCW permit. So we are increasing the amount of people so that should reduce the processing time,” Sheriff Alex Villanueva says.“We want to get it down to the point where it’s just a matter of a few weeks or within a month, we could do the whole thing. That would be ideal,” he said.The Sheriff’s Department has received at least 518 requests for CCW permit so far this year compared to 273 for all of last year.
In neighboring Orange County, for example, as of 2018 there were more than 12,000 concealed carry licenses for a population about a third the size of Los Angeles County. Kern County, to the north of Los Angeles County, had nearly 9,000 active concealed carry licenses with a population around 900,000.
In the counties surround Los Angeles that do view self-defense as a valid reason to carry a firearm, about 4 out of every 1,000 residents have a concealed carry license. If Los Angeles County had the same ratio, it would be home to about 40,000 concealed carry licensees, not the 400 or so reported in 2018. Sheriff Alex Villanueva’s announcement of a potential 400% increase doesn’t go nearly far enough, in other words. If the sheriff is serious about reforming the concealed carry licensing in his office, the answer is simple: drop the good cause requirement and move to a shall-issue system.
I stand by that statement. It’s nice to see more residents applying for their concealed carry licenses, but until Villanueva recognizes the right of self-defense and the Second Amendment right to bear arms, the county’s residents are still being being hamstrung by the policies of the sheriff’s office, and there will be far fewer concealed carry holders than there would be under a shall-issue system. That’s the issue, and Villanueva has yet to address the real problem.