In Santa Barbara County, 98 people are currently licensed to carry concealed weapons. Of those, four are judges. In the previous two years, 15 “concealed carry” licenses were issued: eight in 2021, and seven in 2020. Only one was issued this year. One was also revoked this year. Former private investigator Craig Case got in legal hot water for forging his expired permit to make it appear it was current.

Concealed weapons permits, it turns out, are a hot thing, a status symbol of sorts and an expression of political clout. To get one in California, one needs to apply with the county sheriff, who must in turn determine the applicant is of “good moral character” and has demonstrated a good cause for having one. In Santa Barbara County, Sheriff Bill Brown says he’s gotten political heat for being stingy with such permits.

In another county, the sheriff reportedly passes out application forms for such permits. In San Diego County, the local gun-owners political action committee strongly backed a candidate running for sheriff in this year’s June primary who promised to make the application process speedier than it currently is. That candidate, not coincidentally, won.

In Sacramento and Kern county, the permits — known as CCWs — are reportedly issued “like candy.” In Santa Clara County, the sheriff was recently accused by the grand jury of accepting bribes in exchange for them.

If the Supreme Court rules as anticipated sometime this month, local sheriffs will be denied the authority to require such permits.


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