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OC Sheriff Sandra Hutchens wrestles with major policy change on concealed-carry weapons permitting

by AirTalk®

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Susan Kushlin poses with a concealed-carry handbag that her company, Gun Girls, Inc., created for women that enjoy guns on October 21, 2013 in Boca Raton, Florida. Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The backlog of applications for concealed weapons permits in Orange County has surged to nearly 4,000 since the county eased its requirements to obtain such permits following a February 13 federal appeals court ruling that California’s urban communities were too strict in issuing them.

Orange County Sherriff Sandra Hutchens says her office has had to hire more staff to process all the new applications, but some applicants report they’ve been told it may take years for their applications to be processed—with some permit interview appointments set for mid-2016.

Since the February ruling, the Sherriff’s Department has received more than four times the concealed carry permit applications it typically receives in a whole year, reports the Los Angeles Times. Earlier this month, Hutchens said she’d eliminate the in-person gun inspection from the application process to speed things up. Applicants would still be required to pass background checks and take firearm safety training classes before obtaining a permit.

The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals decision challenged San Diego County’s concealed carry permitting policy—which determined that an applicant had to face some danger greater than that faced by an average member of the public to have “good cause” for carrying a hidden gun in public.

When the defendant in the case—San Diego County Sheriff Bill Gore—announced he wouldn’t appeal the decision, California Attorney General Kamala Harris intervened—calling on the court to review and reverse the decision.

The controversial court decision is stirring debate among those on either side of California’s gun debate—particularly in Orange and Ventura Counties—which have loosened their restrictions to comply with the ruling.

What do you think concealed carry laws should look like in places like Orange County, San Diego or Los Angeles? What should be required of those seeking permits? How can Orange County make its permitting process more efficient?


Sandra Hutchens, Orange County Sheriff

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