By Matt Drange.
In California, a state with some of the strictest gun laws in the country, Sacramento County has become an oasis for gun owners wanting to carry their weapons in public. Thousands of residents have been issued concealed carry permits by the sheriff, Scott Jones, since he took office four years ago.
During his campaign, Jones promised to loosen restrictions on issuing permits to carry concealed weapons. And he followed through. Gun owners now boast on online message boards that he hands out permits “like candy.”
CALIFORNIA’S CONCEALED GUN PERMITS
As of Dec. 31, 2014, California had 70,593 residents with an active concealed carry permit. How many concealed gun permits are in your county?
The dramatic change in Sacramento after just one election illustrates the power of local sheriffs, using their own discretion and political views, to control the number of guns carried by residents on their streets. Now, that power is the subject of a potential landmark lawsuit that could redefine the boundaries of the Second Amendment – and the right to carry a gun in public.
When Jones was running for sheriff in 2010, few residents were allowed to carry concealed handguns in California’s capital. That changed when two gun rights groups and Deanna Sykes, a firearms instructor with the gay shooting club Pink Pistols, brought a lawsuitagainst the county. Armed with a powerful lawyer who won the last two guns cases heard by the Supreme Court, they argued that the sheriff’s permitting policy violated the Second Amendment.