OCRegister: People are applying for concealed-weapon permits in droves in Orange County, after a federal court ruled Californians don’t have to justify their need for the permit.
In less than two weeks, the Orange County Sheriff’s Department has received more than 500 applications for concealed-weapon permits – about the same number of applications received in all of 2013.
“They’ve been absolutely inundated,” said Lt. Jeff Hallock about the personnel assigned to process the applications.
The deluge of applications came after a Feb. 13 federal appeals court ruling that said applicants wanting a concealed-weapon permit in California no longer have to justify their need for one.
The decision was praised by gun-rights groups as a landmark decision, and sheriff’s officials said the applications quickly came in.
However, the large number of applications has not meant an immediate increase in approvals, officials said. Because of the surge of applications, known as CCWs, for Carry Concealed Weapon, the process for approval has been significantly slowed down.
Before the court decision, applications were typically approved in less than a month, Hallock said. Those applying for a CCW today can expect to wait until August or September until the application is processed, he said.
That’s because the number of applications submitted immediately after the ruling has created a backlog for required interviews, Hallock said.
Last year, the Sheriff’s Department approved a total of 438 concealed-weapon permits and denied 101. In comparison, more than 500 applications were received since Feb. 13, Hallock said.
Because of the backlog, the county’s Board of Supervisors on Tuesday discussed the possibility of increasing funding for the Sheriff’s Department to provide the staffing that would review the applications.
Supervisor Todd Spitzer suggested adding temporary staff to hurry the process along. “That suggestion is great,” Supervisor John Moorlach said.
Concealed-weapon permits are typically attained through sheriff’s departments in California. Until now, applicants were required to show “good cause” to be approved.
Critics claimed the requirement was applied unequally throughout the state. The federal court ruling stated applicants did not have to explain why they needed a permit.
Sheriff’s officials are keeping a close eye on the decision, in case it is overturned or challenged in the Supreme Court, Hallock said.
Sheriff Sandra Hutchens said in the board meeting applicants are still being asked for a “good cause statement” in case the court ruling is overturned, but officials are reviewing applications according to the new ruling.
“She’s committed to following the law,” Hallock said.
As of Tuesday, all of the applications filed after the court ruling are still under review, Hallock said.
There were a total of 906 active concealed-weapon permits issued in Orange County as of last week.