Do California News Crews Have "Good Cause" To Carry A Gun?

(AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

Hopefully this time next year we’ll be writing about the influx of concealed carry applications in California after the Supreme Court’s decision in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association caused the eight “may issue” states to adopt “shall issue” laws for concealed carry licenses, but for now the status quo remains in effect, and that means that residents of the state’s most populous counties are still living with law enforcement that treats your right to bear arms in self-defense as a privilege.

In California, applicants for a concealed handgun permit must be able to demonstrate a good cause or justifiable need to carry a firearm. Plenty of county sheriffs view your right to bear arms as all the justification that you need, but in places like San Francisco, Oakland, and Los Angeles it’s darn near impossible to get a sheriff or police chief to sign off and approve permit requests.

But as my friend and colleague Ed Morrissey pointed out at sister site HotAir earlier today, there’s one group of Bay Area residents who could make a compelling case that they’re being targeted for attack and deserve the ability to fight back: news crews.

How bad has crime become in major American cities? Bad enough that media camera crews now randomly witness it — or experience it first-hand. An NBC Sports team got robbed at gunpoint this weekend in Oakland, less than a fortnight after a photographer for the San Francisco Chronicle got robbed across the bay. And that’s not all so far this month:

… Three news orgs in two weeks got robbed — one of whom died covering the flash-mob retail theft rings. And that’s just in one metropolitan area. The impunity of these criminals has clearly grown. It’s possible that the thieves didn’t know that the SF Chronicle photographer had a connection to a news outlet, but the other two incidents targeted people who record live events. They didn’t seem particularly concerned about facing any consequences, however.

It’s already bad enough in the Bay Area that news crews are going out to do live shots with armed guards in tow (one guard was shot and killed in a robbery attempt last month). At this point, how can anyone reasonably argue that, even under California’s draconian carry laws these television news crews and other reporters have demonstrated the need to exercise their Second Amendment rights while they exercise their First Amendment right to a free press?

Of course, I’m not one who believes that our constitutionally-protected rights should only be able to be exercised by a select few. It makes headlines when a TV news crew is robbed at gunpoint, but these crimes are happening every day to average, ordinary residents with little-to-no attention paid at all to those crimes. Only when a life is lost or there’s some compelling detail do we ever hear about those victims of violent crime, who have the same right to protect themselves with a firearm as any other American.

I absolutely believe that Bay Area photojournalists, engineers, and reporters should be approved for concealed handgun permits. I also believe that should be the case for the average citizen in California (and the other seven “may issue” states to boot); not because they’ve demonstrated a justifiable need but because it’s their right to do so. You shouldn’t have to grab a criminal’s gun in order to protect yourself with a firearm, but for millions of Californians personally disarming a bad guy is probably the easiest way for them to exercise their right of armed self-defense.