Riverside, CA Wait Time Reveals Part Of The Stupidity Of 'May Issue' Laws

Few things are more stupid than a “may issue” permit law. Permits for protests–the closest possible parallel to gun permits, but not really–are pretty much “shall issue” without a compelling reason not to. That’s kind of like how “shall issue” states handle concealed carry permits, after all. They place the burden on the facts to determine if you can or can’t get a carry permit. Convicted felon? Nope. Clean background check? Then yep. Nice and easy.

However, a report about a two year wait for a permit in Riverside, CA reveals just how broken “may issue” laws really are.

Waiting over two years for a concealed carry permit is insane. But that’s the wait time residents of Riverside County, California should expect when they submit their application, according to a recent article in Desert Sun (DS).

Why does it take so long? There are two answers. The real answer. And then the answer the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department gave the DS.

The real answer is the county’s May-Issue system. It’s garbage. To obtain a permit, one needs to schedule an in-person interview with the concealed carry unit (which consists of two deputies, two part-time employees, and an assistant). If he or she passes the interview, the applicant will need to complete a safety course and qualify with each weapon he or she plans to carry.  Fingerprinting is also required.

Due to all this red tape, the number of applications keeps piling up. The obvious thing to do would be to switch to a Shall-Issue system. Ideally, it’d be a Constitutional-Carry system. But this is California we’re talking about. Baby steps.

Stan Sniff, the Riverside County Sheriff, told the DS that the reason for the backlog was due to the lack of manpower as a result of budget limits.  What a joke.

“I think it is important that we keep issuing CCWs, but the budget really limits my ability to throttle up and handle the increased workload,” Sniff said. “Just holding our own, at this point, is about the best we can do.”

Sniff is described as a “pro-gun Republican,” though some may argue that.

What’s not up for debate is that two years is a ridiculous wait for a permit to exercise a constitutional right. Further, “may issue” laws allow public officials latitude to turn down permits for whatever reason. This is a flat-out denial of a constitutionally protected right, and this is why comparing gun permitting laws with public gathering permits is ridiculous.

When a permit for a protest is applied for, the government isn’t allowed to block you from getting such a permit because some official doesn’t agree with you or thinks protesting is dumb. The permitting is usually more to make sure no one else will try to use a given public space at the same time or to make sure officials know to plan for the protest. That’s it.

Yet a gun permit is a different animal. In “may issue” jurisdictions, officials can deny someone their constitutionally protected right for any reason they want.

Further, as noted in Riverside, having to vet each and every person who applies for a permit creates an administrative backlog. California law requires those applying for a CCW to demonstrate “good cause” for needing a permit, which means Sniff and his department kind of have to conduct interviews to vet people. Now, if it’s up to him what constitutes good cause, then “just cuz” may qualify…but it may not.

And that creates the backlog Sniff is griping about, and I’m sure others are as well.

Meanwhile, the local Antifa group can plan a protest, get a permit, and know they’ll get it despite their group’s history of violence. They can throw rocks, burn buildings, and hit people with bicycle chains and never really have to worry about getting a permit for a protest.

But a gun? Nah. Those rights don’t really count in the People’s Republic of California.