After the city of La Verne’s recent decision to charge residents more than $1,000 in costs and fees in order to apply for a concealed carry license, the southern California city received a lot of criticism from those seeking a license, as well as the threat of a lawsuit from the California Rifle & Pistol Association. So far the city hasn’t backed away from its excessive fees, however, and now another Los Angeles County locale is actually set to do the same.
Santa Monica hasn’t issued carry permits for several years, choosing instead to outsource that duty to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. But with the LASD dealing with a backlog of permit applications, the Santa Monica police will soon start accepting applications of their own… at least for those who can afford it.
Following that Supreme Court ruling, California Attorney General Rob Bonta has stated that the state’s “good cause” requirement is also likely unconstitutional as well and should not be enforced. The resulting flood of applications has caused the LASD to cease processing CCW applications for independent municipalities, like Santa Monica, that are within the LASD’s jurisdiction.
According to the City, LASD currently has approximately 150 applications in various phases of the process for Santa Monica applicants: 83 in queue, 46 approved, 9 denied and 11 inactive.
SMPD is recommending the use of a third party service to streamline the process with a proposed fee of $617 for new applicants. Of that, $398 for new applications and $348 for renewals would go to the vendor. These costs do not include other fees for fingerprinting, psychological evaluation, and a range safety course. The additional $219 would cover mounting administrative and processing costs.
Add in the cost of training and the required psychological evaluation (a provision in California’s carry law that needs to be challenged as soon as possible, frankly) and all told Santa Monica residents will have to fork over more than $1,000 to various companies and individuals before they can obtain a carry license; an amount that will undoubtably place the right to bear arms beyond the means of some residents. In fact, the fees that Santa Monica PD wants to impose appear to be slightly higher than La Verne’s controversial fee schedule.
And all for the low price of… $1,081 for the initial permit and $647 every two years after that! https://t.co/uHhBRSDx8Z pic.twitter.com/7L3KMAugTJ
— Rob Romano (@2Aupdates) February 28, 2023
La Verne is charging the same $398 initial application fee, but its administrative costs are “only” $150 compared to the $219 proposed by the Santa Monica police. Maybe applicants can find a firearms instructor charging less than $250 for training, but I haven’t run across any, at least in Los Angeles County. The closest I could find was a $200 course, but it doesn’t appear that the class is recognized in Los Angeles County (though its accepted in neighboring Orange County).
Even if Santa Monica residents can find an instructor willing to accept less than the going market rate for firearms training, the hundreds of dollars in mandated fees and administrative costs is far beyond what the vast majority of “shall issue” jurisdictions charge across the country for a carry license. My CCW in Virginia cost me $50 for a five-year permit, and you can get a lifetime carry license in Indiana for about $100. Forcing Santa Monica residents to pay more than $1,000 for an initial permit is an egregious attempt to once again treat a fundamental civil right as a privilege to be doled out by the state and its political subdivisions, and I hope that CRPA attorneys are already drafting a letter to Santa Monica city council members warning them that this fee schedule is inviting a lawsuit as part of it’s CCW Reckoning Project, as they’ve done with La Verne.
What’s going on in these southern California cities isn’t happening in isolation, and the excessive fees aren’t the only issue that gun owners are experiencing. According to attorney Kostas Moros, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department is currently taking more than twelve months to process carry applications.
LASD's response to our letter on behalf of @CRPAnews regarding their excessive processing times.
1. The measures they discuss are nice to hear and may improve the situation, but LASD is currently taking over a year to process permits. We'll need to see some very… https://t.co/nsXL9N7uv6 pic.twitter.com/K2EwGQiMbi
— Kostas Moros (@MorosKostas) March 14, 2023
Between the outrageous fees and the snail-like pace of approving applications, it’s pretty clear that it’s not just Democrats in Sacramento who are willfully disregarding the Bruen decision and its implication for responsible California gun owners. There are plenty of local politicians and anti-gun chiefs in the state who are doing the same, and while groups like the CRPA have been patient in giving former “may issue” jurisdictions time to adjust to the “shall issue” reality, it’s been more than six months since the Bruen decision was delivered; plenty of time for these locales to come up with new policies that are in line with the Court’s guidance. I’m glad to see Moros hint that a lawsuit is coming unless the LASD quickly delivers some “serious progress” on the lengthy delays, and I hope the same is true for cities like La Verne and Santa Monica when it comes to their seriously overpriced carry permits.