With restrictions lifted, Sheriff Villanueva says gun licenses will increase in LA County

Los Angeles County residents are no longer required to explain why they need to be armed when applying for permits to carry guns in public, Sheriff Alex Villanueva announced Wednesday.

The change in the licensing process comes in the wake of the US Supreme Court’s ruling last week that such restrictions are unconstitutional.

As state lawmakers scramble to rewrite California’s gun laws to comply with the High Court’s ruling while trying to keep in place some controls on the ability to be armed in public, Villanueva said the sheriff’s department is seeing an increase in the so-called concealed carry permit. apps. He speculated that eventually 50,000 people in LA County might be given permission to arm themselves in public.

“We’re revamping our operation to an issuance standard,” Villanueva said during a social media live stream on Wednesday, referring to a lenient standard under which law enforcement must issue a permit. weapon if the applicant has met certain minimum requirements.

Villanueva said his estimate of the number of people in LA County who could apply for permits was based on the county’s population and the number of permits that have been issued in other counties already using the lax standard.

That would be a dizzying increase. This week, there were 3,145 active permits issued by the sheriff’s department, Villanueva said.

California, with some of the strictest gun laws in the country, has long required gun owners to show a “good reason” for being armed in public. To meet this bar, a candidate had to prove that there was a credible threat to their safety, that their job required them to be armed, or that they showed another legitimate reason.

Atty from California. Gen. Rob Bonta said the “good cause” standard is likely unconstitutional under the Supreme Court’s decision in New York State Rifle & Pistol Assn. against Bruen.

The High Court ruling found that New York’s “good cause” restriction is unconstitutional because “it prevents law-abiding citizens with ordinary self-defense needs from exercising their right to own and bear arms.” “.

Long before the decision, Villanueva was already on a mission to dramatically increase the number of people in the county who were allowed to carry concealed weapons.

In mid-2020, when the department had only 155 active permits, it announced plans to increase by five. He said former sheriffs are holding the bar too high to receive them and that more people carrying concealed handguns would be an effective countermeasure to rising crime and efforts by the political left to cut funding for the police.

“Because we have fewer cops on the street, more crooks, fewer consequences – you know, what could go wrong with that combination, right?” Villanueva said last year. “We recognize that the threat to residents is increasing. So we react accordingly.

Until now, residents of Los Angeles and other municipalities in the county could bypass their cities’ more restrictive policies and apply directly to the sheriff’s department for a permit. With the recent Supreme Court decision and the easing of the application process, he said people should go to their local police departments.

A spokesperson for the Los Angeles Police Department said it was evaluating the Supreme Court’s decision and awaiting possible changes to California’s statutes.

In California, applicants will still need to pass a background check, complete a firearms safety course, and present proof of residency, employment, or business in an area.

Other agencies are also seeing an influx of applications. Riverside County Sheriff Chad Bianco said his agency removed the “good cause” question from its application the day of the Supreme Court ruling. He said the department has issued nearly 18,500 permits and received about 1,800 applications since the ruling.

“My politics and Riverside County politics were more of a ‘trouble’ anyway,” Bianco told The Times on Wednesday. “The ruling didn’t really change much about the way we do business.”

Los Angeles Times

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