Longtime readers know this is an issue near and dear to my heart, but California’s laws on Concealed Carry licenses are about as shady and corrupt as it gets. The majority of US states have laws akin to drivers licenses in that a person must meet a defined set of guidelines (such as required training, background checks, etc) before they can be issued a license to carry a weapon. CA’s laws are a little different in that they place the decision not on a set of specific requirements but on the personal whim of the Chief of Police or Sheriff. This practice breeds inequality and abuse by giving people who live in some parts of the state more state-wide rights than others and placing an insane amount of power in a single person’s hands. And since individuals have different motives, the policy from one county to another is vastly different. Is it any shock that people who have contributed to the campaigns for many of these people have a much higher chance of receiving one of these permits?
Luckily CA Assembly Member Knight is aware of this abuse and wants to stop it. He’s introduced a bill called AB 357 [PDF link to the bill] which removes the authority of the individual Sheriffs & Police Chiefs in favor of a clear set of statewide guidelines. That’s right, if this bill passes it will be a major step towards ending the good old boy, friends-only system currently on the books. The last 20 years have seen nation wide reform towards more liberal policies that have had clear effects on reducing crime and I’m excited at the prospect of CA finally giving this some serious attention. If you are too, then you can help out – follow this link to find your representatives and let them know you are sick of elitism and want these cronies thrown out and that you support AB 357. And tell your friends to do the same.