With 42 states and the District of Columbia now recognizing the Right-to-Carry, California’s retrograde may-issue Carry Concealed Weapon licensing regime is atypical. However, a recent state audit of three of California’s CCW license issuing authorities shows that Los Angeles County does operate much like another large jurisdiction, New York City, when it comes to granting licenses. That is, licenses are reserved for the well-connected and officials don’t bother to follow the rules when issuing them.
Under California law, a sheriff of a county may issue a CCW license to an applicant upon receiving proof,
(1) The applicant is of good moral character.
(2) Good cause exists for issuance of the license.
(3) The applicant is a resident of the county or a city within the county, or the applicant’s principal place of employment or business is in the county or a city within the county and the applicant spends a substantial period of time in that place of employment or business.
(4) The applicant has completed a course of training as described in Section 26165.
Statute does not further define “good moral character” or “good case,” which gives a local sheriff’s department significant discretion to determine the criteria necessary to acquire a permit in their jurisdiction.
Los Angeles County has a written Concealed Weapons Licensing Policy that elaborates on what the sheriff’s department considers sufficient “good cause” to merit a license. The policy states,
good cause shall exist only if there is convincing evidence of a clear and present danger to life, or of great bodily harm to the applicant, his spouse, or dependent child, which cannot be adequately dealt with by existing law enforcement resources, and which danger cannot be reasonably avoided by alternative measures, and which danger would be significantly mitigated by the applicant’s carrying of a concealed firearm.
Moreover, the policy makes clear that “No position or job classification in itself shall constitute good cause for the issuance, or for the denial, of a CCW license.”