Anyone wanna buy a badge and a gun?

One of the things that got me interested in the whole issue of CCW laws in CA was this bit written by Jim March:

In California, a “CCW” (“Carry Concealed Weapons”) permit allows
you to legally defend your life with a gun outside of your home or
business. To get one, you need to pass a background check and get trained. No problem there.

The problem, and the reason there’s only about 39,000 permits in the
whole state, is that you also have to get the personal permission of
your police chief or sheriff, who decides on your “good cause for
issuance”.

For some reason, wealthy major campaign contributors tend to have
more “good cause” than others. And minorities consistently have none.

I knew that a growing number states were passing “shall issue” laws, which basically say if you meet a certain set of requirements (training, etc) and you apply for a CCW the state “shall” issue you the permit. In CA the law says if you meet the requirements they “may” issue you the permit, which means even if you meet all the requirements someone has to look at your application and decide if you are worthy or not. I think of this like a drivers license, can you imagine if after going through all the training and learning how to drive someone got to look you over and say “nah, I don’t think you really need this, get a ride with someone else.” What makes one person get the permit while another is denied? That is why this bit that only campaign contributors were getting permits sparked my interest. Something I’ve heard more than once since then is that to make this less obvious campaign contributors who want to carry guns are made Deputies so there’s no question about their need for a CCW. So much so that a fairly common flippant reply to the question “how can I get a CCW in CA” is “Depends on how much you can contribute to your Sheriff’s reelection campaign.” That bugs me.

Today the Full Disclosure Network posted a video blog debate between the LA and OC Sheriff’s about their policies on accepting campaign donations from Deputies and once again it’s a pretty interesting difference. Specifically that paid employees in LA are in fact allowed to make campaign donations to their boss. This isn’t covered in the debate, but it would be very interesting to see what % of those employees were making campaign donations before they were hired. And here’s an interesting footnote.