On Wednesday we reported on the outlandish fees that may soon be imposed on gun owners in Santa Monica, California who are trying to obtain a concealed carry license. The Santa Monica PD is recommending the city council adopt a fee schedule forcing applicants to shell out more than $600 simply to apply for a CHL. Add in the cost of training and the mandatory psychological evaluation the city’s imposing on all applicants, and it’s likely to cost residents $1,000 or more before they receive permission to exercise a constitutionally-protected right.
After our original story was posted, California Second Amendment attorney Kostas Moros highlighted one comment from a city council member that’s very revealing. While defenders of the costly fees proposed in Santa Monica (and already in place in other SoCal cities like La Verne) say they’re just passing on the cost of conducting background checks to the applicants themselves, one council member said the quiet part out loud and seemingly admitted that they’re trying to price people out of their Second Amendment rights.
At yesterday's Santa Monica City Council hearing, one of the council members said "I'm just trying to think, you know, should we recover more than just our cost, especially if we are not trying to incentivize everyone to go out there and get a CCW". https://t.co/2YOGTn6b6I… https://t.co/iYlYKOQsd2
— Kostas Moros (@MorosKostas) March 16, 2023
I encourage you to check out the link that Moros shared, because it’s a great look at the anti-gun mindset that permeates California politics. The councilwoman in question is posing some questions about the fees that applicants have to pay, including who exactly pays for the psychological evaluation that applicants must undergo before they can be approved. She seems happy to learn that applicants themselves are forced to pay that fee, but that led into another series of questions about how much the city can charge an applicant. Council staff (it might have been the city attorney, but they weren’t identified) informed her that the fees must be “reasonable” in nature, which led to her comment about trying to disincentivize residents from applying.
To my surprise, the staffer responded that there would be “some risk to doing that,” which did shut down the council woman’s line of inquiry. Rather than drop the subject completely, however, she turned to other avenues to inhibit the right to bear arms. “I would also just say that I support future items similar to what they did in L.A. County to prohibit carrying guns on public property, etc. and to prohibit selling large scale, like, magazines in the city of Santa Monica if we haven’t done that yet.”
Despite the Supreme Court’s crystal-clear ruling that the Second Amendment protects the fundamental right to bear arms in public in self-defense, scenes like Tuesday’s city council meeting in Santa Monica are still all too common in many anti-gun strongholds, and the intent behind them is unmistakable. Anti-2A officials are trying to erect as many roadblocks as possible between responsible citizens and their 2A rights; not only preventing as many applicants as possible from obtaining a license, but working to make the application process so burdensome and unaffordable that many gun owners won’t even try to get a CHL. And for those that run the bureaucratic gauntlet, these same prohibitionists want to make it impossible to lawfully carry in as many places as possible, with the threat of fines and jail time for anyone who sets foot in a “gun-free zone”, even by accident.
Santa Monica council members still have time to do the right thing here, but if they continue to pursue these sky-high fees they’re likely to end up facing a lawsuit, and the council member’s comments will come in handy for the plaintiffs hoping to show that it’s anti-gun animosity that’s fueling the outrageous administrative fees imposed. City officials seem intent on charging as much as they think they can get away with knowing full well that the high cost to carry will exclude some responsible gun owners from exercising their constitutionally-protected right. The Supreme Court said in Bruen that excessive fees can call even “shall issue” regimes into question, and California may very well provide SCOTUS with multiple opportunities to prove it meant what it said in the not-too-distant future.