CCW permits discussed at the OC BOS Meeting

As I entered the Board meeting room of the OC Board of Supervisors this morning I found a “standing room only” gathering. Every seat in the chamber was occupied with most wearing green badges reading OCCCWS. Forty-one of the approximately 200 citizens were in attendance to testify on Agenda Item #24 relating to CCW, Concealed Weapons Permits. Sheriff-Caroner Sandra Hutchens, dressed in a gray pants suit, sat up front where, following her remarks, she could watch and listen to the passionate presentations by the public speakers that lasted for nearly four hours.

Many of today’s speakers argued that by the issuance of letters relating to possible revocation of their CCW permits, without cause, is really our sheriff breaking a Contract. They felt that their permit, which carries both their signatures and their fingerprint, along with an expiration date, constitutes a binding Contract which should be upheld as long as they are law abiding citizens. Supervisor Norby stated that “an expiration date should have some meaning.”
One veteran stated that we lost 6 million Jews in Poland and Germany because we lost our gun rights to which the audience started clapping. Chair Bates chastised the crowd stating that there should not be any applause. Sorry Pat, but the crowd was not disruptive.
While there were a few speakers whose passion included a personal attack on the sheriff the vast majority avoided this type of conduct while being firm in their remarks. Several called for a vote of “no confidence.” Others suggested that the sheriff resign. In describing the new CCW Policy one speaker said “this is tyranny, not democracy. We had a contract and now we have changed from citizens to subjects.” Several questioned the legal interpretation of “good cause” by which the sheriff sent out letters of revocation with an option to accept an early termination date rather than have a mark on your record within the CA DOJ data base. One speaker called this “blackmail.”
Another stated that it is an issue of law versus ideology by sheriff Hutchens. He questioned what has caused the sense of urgency to have the CA DOJ revise their tracking system. I heard one speaker comment that “when a second counts, police are minutes away.”

At the conclusion of the public speaker testimony the sheriff was granted time to respond. She told us that she has not revoked and license to date with the exception where people move out of the county or commit a crime. With regard to “good cause” the policy has bullets. It is not intended to be all inclusive nor does it block gun ownership in our homes. She followed by stating I am required to enforce and abide by the law adding I have no control over CA law. It doesn’t matter if I agree with the law or not.

Supervisor Moorlach acknowledged having a discussion with the sheriff and openly stated telling her that “we have agreed to disagree on moving up expiration dates and good cause.
Supervisor Norby raised the issue of having a sizable contingent of undercover cops in the Board room at the last meeting pointing out that we, the Board, did not invite them. Sheriff Hutchens responded stating that “I would not use undercover staff in that capacity again.” He later commented that having two signatures and a date is a contract. These expiration dates have meaning. You do have a Contract with the County of Orange calling this change an “over restrictive policy.”

In her remarks relating to the sheriff ‘s offer to alter the current permit expiration date Supervisor Nguyen was very firm in pointing out that “there is nothing voluntary about this process.”
In closing the CCW discussion Chair Bates stated that “the Board has no authority on this policy.”  I respectfully disagree but it’s not my call.
Now let’s look at what top law enforcement officers from around the country have to say about CCW permits:

“I lobbied against the (concealed carry) law in 1993 and 1995 because I thought it would lead to wholesale armed conflict. That hasn’t happened. All the horror stories I thought would come to pass didn’t happen. No bogeyman. I think it has worked out well, and that says good things about the citizens who have permits. I’m a convert.”

Glenn White, president, Dallas Police Association

“From a law enforcement perspective, the licensing process has not resulted in problems in the community from people arming themselves with concealed weapons.”

Commissioner James T. Moore,
Florida Department of Law Enforcement

“Some of the public safety concerns (over right-to-carry) which we imagined or anticipated a couple of years ago, to our pleasant surprise, have been unfounded or mitigated.”

Police Major Bill Brown,
Fairfax County, Virginia

“None of our concerns have been borne out.”

Hazard police Chief Rod Maggard, president,
Kentucky Chiefs of Police Association

“Anyone who believes a self-protection firearm is not a deterrent to crime is simply being unrealistic…I’ve not seen any problems with concealed carry, either legal problems or inappropriate behavior, during the four years we’ve had a concealed carry law in our state.”

Lt. Bill Booth
Oklahoma City PD

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