California is a “may issue” state when it comes to concealed carry, which means that the county sheriff has broad discretion in decided whether to issue or revoke a concealed carry permit. The problem with such a “may issue” concealed carry permit system is that the sheriff can abuse their power and arbitrarily deny law abiding citizens the right to carry a gun for self defense. That is exactly what is happening in Orange County, CA, under Sheriff Sandra Hutchens:
After Sandra Hutchens became Orange County Sheriff, she promptly announced that she was reviewing all the existing concealed carry permits, and would revoke the permits of those who could not show “good cause” to keep their permits. Her definition of “good cause” is rather hard to meet, and showing that one is generally concerned about armed robbery, rape, murder, or the other violent crime that plagues society is not enough. Instead, Hutchens insists that those wishing to have a concealed carry permit must be able to show a particular danger to themselves before Hutchens is willing to even consider issuing them a permit. Sheriff Hutchens, of course, is able to carry her handgun while off duty – even if she can’t point to a particular threat to her safety.
It has also been revealed though the release of public records that Hutchens’ department has contempt for law abiding citizens who peacefully and respectfully voiced their concerns at a Board of Supervisors meeting. Hutchens’ staff referred to these citizens as “idiots,” stated that the “temperature of their coffee” is more important than the citizens’ viewpoints, and otherwise mocked the discussion.
This is a sad and shameful situation. Taking away the concealed carry rights of law abiding people bears no relationship to crime prevention, as concealed carry permit holders tend to be the most law abiding members of society. Instead, Hutchens’ action only makes those law abiding people vulnerable to criminals who will carry a gun despite the law saying that they can’t. Making matters worse, when these gun owners attempted to exercise their constitutional right to petition the government for redress of this grievance, they were ignored and ridiculed. To me, this is the epitome of ineffective government, and an abuse of discretion.
My thanks to Anders for pointing out the situation with CCW in Orange County, CA