My friends and colleagues over at Gun Owners Radio and San Diego County Gun Owners (SDCGO) have been doing tremendous work in removing infringements on the Second Amendment over there on the left coast. They went from a Peruta San Diego, where carry permits were hardly issued to anyone and the SCOTUS bound lawsuit getting shot down, to present date in 2022, where obtaining a carry permit is a reality for most law abiding applicants (if not all). It was SDCGO’s work against and with the former Sheriff that made the change possible. That Sheriff has retired and they need a new one in town. Of all the applicants, there’s one that they’re endorsing, and that’s Kelly Martinez, the current Undersheriff.
I formerly covered a candidate that’s getting the GOP nod, city attorney John Hemmerling. Hemmerling, while grabbing the support of the San Diego County Republicans, is what I’d consider a rabid anti-gunner. Perhaps that’s not a fair assessment, but he’s a fan of red flag gun seizure orders (gun violence restraining orders per CA law), and further he travels the state of California teaching other departments how to execute these unconstitutional mechanisms. To me, and many others, support of gun violence restraining orders or anything that involves an ex parte stripping of one’s rights, is a show stopper. Read my full reporting on him to get up to speed on why you may not want to vote for him if you love your Second Amendment rights.
Martinez, a Democrat, is not looking to tip the applecart. She’d be inheriting a system that’s used to issue concealed carry permits that works, but also would seek to improve where able. In fact, Martinez has already improved on the system in her capacity as Undersheriff.
Michael Schwartz, the Executive Director of SDCGO, and host of Gun Owners Radio recently had Martinez on the show to discuss the Second Amendment and related topics. A number of questions that I wanted answered actually got addressed during the interview. Martinez pledges continued support of the carry program, and to be fair, Hemmerling alleges that he too supports carry, but where does Martinez, a Democrat, stand on red flag laws? Schwartz did not lob easy to hit softball pitches at Martinez, and did get her stance on many things, including the gun violence restraining orders that John Hemmerling adores so much.
Schwartz and his team over at Gun Owners Radio did the heavy lifting on this topic, so be sure to check them out over at their homepage, and like and subscribe to their Youtube page. The transcripts below have only been altered where necessary for clarity, and some of the questions are put in a different order for ease of following. Schwartz introduces Martinez:
The most important vote you can cast this June is for San Diego County Sheriff. We have essentially an open seat. Sheriff Gore stepped down, retired. Everyday’s Saturday for him. And so we have I think we have up to seven candidates that are running for sheriff and it’s an extremely important position….Kelly Martinez who’s the current Undersheriff, is by far the best candidate for the job. So she is currently the Undersheriff. She’s been with the department for over 30 years. We invite her on the air to talk more but as not as the UnderSheriff as the candidate to be the next Sheriff for San Diego County. Kelly, are you there? I’m here. Welcome to the show. Thank you so much for joining us.
The first question asked was the obvious. What makes Martinez the best candidate? In her own words, she summarized her standing:
So I’ve been on the Sheriff’s department for 37 years. I’ve worked my way through the ranks and I’m currently the Undersheriff. I run the day to day operations of the department and the sheriff’s department is responsible for public safety services for over 4200 square miles within unincorporated San Diego County, we have nine contract cities, 18 Indian reservations, we manage the jails and security as courthouses. It’s over a $1.1 billion budget was 4700 staff positions. And I’ve worked in every part of this county and every part of our department, there’s no one with my experience or my qualifications to be sheriff. I have the endorsement of our rank and file deputies as well as the chiefs and sheriffs association of this county and endorsed by law enforcement throughout the state and it’s just really imperative that the next Sheriff can work with and have the trust and respect of law enforcement.
Schwartz and Martinez bantered back and forth a bit and then got to the Second Amendment related questions.
Schwartz: So okay, so according to the when I asked people, “Hey, I’m going to interview Kelly Martinez, what do you want to know about?” I think, you know, 99.9% of the responses were of course, CCW related. When you took over as Undersheriff, you and I met, and you committed in our first meeting, to improving the CCW process, which you did, I was very, very impressed with, with what you did and how you did it. And you said, “hey, you know what, I don’t have solutions yet.” But then you found solutions, you implemented them. And it really made it a true difference in the process, which I very much appreciate. But why was that important to you?
Martinez: Well, it’s important to understand really how broken our system was. The wait time for a first appointment with our licensing staff was two years in some cases. And that was really unacceptable. I care about people’s right to protect themselves. And it simply wasn’t fair that someone who qualified under the law for a concealed carry permit, had to wait two years to start that process. I had our staff look at every aspect of our process, because we had, you know, a set number of staff that couldn’t increase staff and couldn’t increase the size of the offices they worked in. So we wanted to look at our process and what we were doing, and one of the fixes that we made was to allow renewals to occur in the mail, that simple change opened up in person appointments, and we could fill those with first time applicants. And I understand now the wait time is a matter of weeks. And I’ve gotten a couple of phone calls from individuals that got in for their first appointment within a couple of days.
Schwartz: What’s your opinion on ghost guns? And what’s your opinion on crime statistics involving guns in general?
Martinez: I think everyone’s recognizing that we do have an increase in violence in our country. Right now, we have some of that increase involves gun violence. It’s important to focus on the individuals that are committing those crimes, not the actions. So you know that individuals are what’s important, and where we can prevent those crimes. So, you know, that really begins with taking guns away from criminals. I’m not going after law-abiding citizens, I’m going after criminals who have guns. And that’s where we need to focus. It’s necessary to take those guns away from the criminals to stop the gun violence.
Schwartz: What’s your view on gun violence restraining orders?
Martinez: I think what’s important to understand is why the gun violence restraining orders, or the red flag laws exist. So you know, we had two really horrible incidents reported today. One was in Buffalo, New York, and another one in Laguna Hills, where there were numerous people shot and killed. And I’ve responded to two of those mass shootings during my career as well. One was the Santana high school and one was the Habad shooting in Poway. I think it’s three years ago now. And it’s really terrible what the families go through, and my heart goes out to all of them, the victims. And I understand that fear and the chaos those situations create, and the desire to prevent gun violence through legislation. But that, you know, we need to stop the gun violence, and I don’t think GVROs should be standard operating procedure. There are a lot of tools that law enforcement can use to take guns away from criminals, prohibited persons should not have guns, people with controlled substances, illegal controlled substances, certain incidences with mental illness, domestic violence and felons, you know, they should not have guns, and that will help us prevent violence if we if we follow those prohibited persons laws and other things. And I’m really, as I said before, it is focused on criminals and criminal acts to lessen violent crime increases that we’re seeing right now.
Schwartz: So have you ever had any problem with the law? Or in any way taking guns from dangerous criminals?
Martinez: Oh, absolutely not. You know, I’ve spent, as you said, you know, almost four decades in this trap, seen a lot of crime, and I’m dedicated to protecting victims and just taking guns away from criminals. You know, and that’s necessary to protect people. We can prevent a lot of crime if we get in front of that stuff.
Schwartz: When you’re elected? What’s your plan for CCWs in San Diego?
Martinez: I’m really proud of our CCW program Um, as it is right now. It’s efficient, it works the way that it should. And I stand by it, you know. We’ve, as I said, have an efficient system where applicants are screened. They attend training on safe handling on firearms. And I think the background check we do and everything ensures that people who are issued CCW cert are qualified to have them. And I’ll continue to support and defend our current process.
Schwartz asked a great question about the partisan nature of the election:
Schwartz: Okay, so your values and the issues that you talk about as far as, as priorities, they’re not, they’re not partisan. You know, you talk about like safety and efficiency. If we were just talking about what CCW is and transparency and following law, you chose to run as a Democrat. There are people who are going to vote for you based entirely on the fact that you’re running as a Democrat. But there are also people that will not vote for you based entirely on the fact that you’re running as a Democrat. What do you think about that?
Martinez: Well, like you said, the sheriff’s are nonpartisan. And the most important thing to understand about the sheriff is the responsibility of that role to protect everyone in our county, regardless of party affiliation. So I’m a career law enforcement professional. Politics don’t enter into my job, I believe in protecting victims, and making communities safe and providing the highest quality public safety service possible. I’m also strongly supportive of our deputies, and I’ll provide them the support, the training, and the tools that they need to do their job. At the same time, you know, law enforcement must be transparent in our process and accountable to the public we serve. And that’s got nothing to do with party affiliation. I think everyone expects that law enforcement.
Schwartz: That sounds great, but what would you tell somebody who only votes Republican but they’re thinking about voting for you?
Martinez: Well, I do understand that there are differences between Democrats and Republicans Of course, I know that we all share the same thoughts about public safety that we all want to feel safe. And I know that if I’m given the opportunity that I’ll earn your trust, and you will like the job that I’m going to do for you,
There’s a whole lot more to Martinez’s conversation with the gang at Gun Owners Radio, but these are the key issues I thought were worth bringing up to focus on. Martinez sems very much so to be a law and order candidate, respects the Second Amendment, seeks to continue/grow the CCW program, and sees no value in so-called red flag laws. From a Second Amendment perspective, this candidate is willing to put herself on the record on these topics, and I’d say she’s a 2A friendly.
Do give Martinez and Gun Owners Radio a fair shake by taking in the full interview. There you’ll get the full rundown, everything I left out, and a good feel by hearing Martinez speak/her inflection. The episode is embedded below or you can check it out HERE. The primary election for this race is June 7th and the runoff, should there be one, will be held in November. For more information on the candidates, the San Diego County Deputy Sheriffs’ Association has a page about the candidates, along with their questionnaires HERE. Citizens of San Diego, get out and vote June 7th, this is an important one and could be for all the marbles!