Friday, March 23, 2007

ONLY In California...


By Bill Cavala
A veteran of over 30 years in Sacramento

"One of my critics inquires whether I support a “shall issue” policy on permits to carry loaded, concealed weapons – as opposed to the current law that permits “may” be issued by County Sheriffs to persons who demonstrate (to the Sheriff) both a need and the fact that they are of “sound moral character”.

I do support such a policy.

In the late 1980’s I staffed legislation that would have moved California to a “shall issue” state. The bill was authored by Speaker Pro Tem Frank Vicencia. It was late in the session, so Assemblyman Vicencia amended a bill in the Senate. It was heard by the Senate Judiciary Committee then Chaired by William Lockyer, subsequently chosen leader of the Senate, then Attorney General of California. Lockyer’s Committee supported the bill. Lockyer voted for it.

The bill’s standards were modeled after those of the Sheriff of San Diego County.

It required issuance of permits to any citizen unless denied for “cause”. The legal reasons for denial were written (no criminal record, history of drug or alcohol abuse, successful passage of gun safety and other tests, registration of all firearms owned by the permit holder, etc.). Failure to meet these stringent standards would lead to revocation of the permit. The permit holder had the right to appeal denial or revocation in a Court.

This system led to the issuance of a modest several thousand permits for the County’s population of 5 million. No permit holder has ever committed a crime or been involved in the misuse of their firearms.

The NRA supported the Vicencia bill.

But it was killed as a result of a lobbying effort by the State Sheriffs Association. The Sheriffs did not want to give up their power to decide who could carry concealed.
Some Sheriffs opposed any permits (LA issued 3 that year, SF issued 12). Other Sheriffs issued thousands – with a suspicious overlap between permits issued and contributions to the Sheriffs political campaign.

Republicans supported their local sheriff. Democrats supported the Second Amendment right of individuals – subject to a tough regulatory scheme that had successfully kept concealed firearms out of the hands of those who would threaten public safety."


After having lived in Iowa, another May-Issue state, I learned firsthand of how power hungry local sheriff's strove mightily to keep the right to issue a CCW unto themselves. One's political affiliation mattered not, as long as you supported the sitting sheriff. Who, after being turned down for a CCW I out-shot along with 17 of his 20 deputies at a local meet, but thats another story.

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