Friday, January 2, 2009

Califonia CCW reform - Don't Hold Your Breath

This is a new subject for me because since my last post I have been developing an interest in the Second Amendment and the right to keep and bear arms.

In many states the laws regarding carrying of concealed weapons have been liberalized, but not in mine: California. California has a "may issue" concealed weapon permit law where the sheriff or police department of your jurisdiction may exercise discretion on permit issuance.

The new effect is that permits are often issued in rural counties, and hardly ever issued in urban areas, like San Francisco or my county, Santa Clara county. Now, while I do not think I would ever want a CCW permit, I do not fear my fellow law-abiding citizens being armed in public. Also, things may change in the future, I may feel threatened, and then I might want to get a permit so I could carry a weapon in my vehicle legally. I want the option of changing my mind in the future.

But the fact of the matter is in Santa Clara county a CCW permit is impossible for an ordinary citizen to obtain, a fact often bemoaned on several blogs like California Concealed Carry , or documented on Concealed Firearm Carry Permit in California: Information Database. It is often speculated that reform of the CCW permit law will soon come, and then California will have "shall-issue" like most other states.

I just don't see that happening.

An illustration of the attitudes of my fellow Californians about guns was published in the San Jose Mercury News recently, in Gary Richards column "Roadshow". In a story about the 24 worst traffic backups in the Bay Area, Mr. Richards was shown holding a pistol in a spoof on the TV show "24". It is the reaction to this picture that is revealing to me about attitudes about guns in California, particularly in the Bay Area. My favorite quote:

"Your muckraking and rabble-rousing about fuel prices is bad enough, but brandishing a weapon on the front page of Monday's Mercury News for a story on the worst and most improved roads was truly offensive. We're not in Texas!"

Now imagine how this person might vote on a "shall-issue" CCW law, especially considering the turn-out in the recent election of Senator Obama. From a political standpoint, "shall-issue" CCW is as dead as a fence post.

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