San Francisco carry applicants still experiencing "obscenely long" wait times

While the city of San Francisco may have approved it’s first carry permit since the Supreme Court’s decision striking down California’s “may issue” carry laws, the San Francisco Sheriff’s Office is still moving at a glacial pace on the hundreds of other applications that have been submitted since SCOTUS issued its ruling last summer. As the Wall St. Journal detailed on Friday, many applicants are growing increasingly frustrated with the lengthy and needless delays. But they’re also concerned about being outed as gun owners in a city that’s extraordinarily hostile towards the Second Amendment.


A San Francisco electrician hides his gun case in a backpack and his ammunition in a toolbox when he loads up his van for a day at the shooting range some 20 miles outside the city.

Though he shares many of the liberal values of his neighbors—“I am an equality-loving pronoun-checking, hippie, San Francisco guy”—he conceals his status as a gun owner, worried that they would ostracize him if they knew.

The 42-year-old is one of 285 residents seeking a permit to carry concealed weapons in public in a city that has long had some of the tightest firearm restrictions in the country.

The San Franciscans who want to carry guns include software engineers, accountants, middle managers and firearms instructors. They fall along the entire political spectrum, but many have at least one thing in common: They don’t want to be identified because they are worried about judgment from their neighbors or employers.

Those concerns are well-founded, and not just because of San Francisco’s far-left politics. California law makes it pretty easy to identify these individuals, which may be  how the Wall St. Journal found them. As the Journal notes, the names of applicants are “discoverable under public records law with some exceptions, according to legal experts,” so it’s not crazy to think that some anti-gun nut is going to start doxxing many of those who’ve taken the steps to obtain a carry license in the hopes of naming and shaming them.


Even those gun owners who are willing to go on the record about their application for a concealed handgun permit aren’t happy with how the system is playing out, however.

Andrew Solow, a 68-year-old private investigator, applied for a permit seven months ago to protect himself when he ventures into dangerous neighborhoods. He is still waiting for approval.

“That’s an obscenely long amount of time—it’s ludicrous,” he said. “I’m a licensed investigator.”

Meanwhile, Mr. Solow said he walks with a 66-inch wooden staff for self-defense.

A San Francisco police spokeswoman said the department “has been carefully undertaking great and reasonable efforts to expeditiously administrate a legal procedure” to grant applications.

“We have to be very thorough in our vetting process,” said Tara Moriarty, a spokeswoman for the San Francisco Sheriff’s Office.

It doesn’t take seven months to “thoroughly” vet applicants, at least if San Francisco were truly conducting a “shall issue” system. Instead it looks like the department is slow-walking approvals as much as possible, and I’m interested to see if any applicants have been speaking with groups like the California Rifle & Pistol Association in addition to talking with reporters. CRPA acknowledge the sheriff’s office issuing its first permit in years when that momentous occasion took place back in January, but they noted at the time that they would “also remain diligent in its pursuit of continued CCW issuance in San Francisco County”, declaring that a symbolic victory wasn’t enough.


At the moment, that’s exactly what that issuance looks like. The WSJ reports that collectively, the San Francisco PD and the San Francisco Sheriff have still approved just that one CHL, even though it’s been well over a month since that approval was given. It sounds like it’s time for the CRPA to reach out to Sheriff Paul Miyamoto with a not-so-friendly suggestion to start moving or start prepping for a lawsuit over the pointless delays in processing applications.

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