Sacramento County has seen a surge in the number of both concealed carry weapon permits in recent years, and with new changes to the CCW process, that number could rise.
According to the department, there are 8,493 active CCWs in Sacramento County, a stark difference when compared to the 887 permits registered in 2011. The number of permits approved in 2016 were not immediately available.
Sheriff Scott Jones introduced new rules Tuesday to the carry concealed weapons system that will speed up the permitting process. According to Jones, the new web-based system will work synchronously with the state Department of Justice, which should effectively expedite the approval process.
“This is going to be portrayed as it’s easier to get CCWs, and I guess that’s true, mechanically, but the standards for the issuance has not changed," Jones told ABC10.
After being elected sheriff in 2010, Jones made it his mission to make it easier for citizens to get weapons permits if they felt the need to have them. Soon after, he reversed a department policy that controlled the number of permits approved.
Jones and the department have, over the years, insisted that there is a vetting process for permit approval. According to the department, there have been 263 permits revoked since June 2011 compared to the nearly 8,500 currently active permits.
The number of permits denied was not immediately made available by the department.
Applicants are currently required to pay $220 in application fees, pass a state criminal background check, take a 16-hour training course and have approval of the the sheriff's department by having "good moral character" and a good reason to have CCW.
As simple as it might sound, Jones said the current system could take months to approve an applicant—even at its fastest.
"What was happening is, we were getting more requests than we could facilitate in a month just because of the timing involved in it," Jones explained. "So, as you can see, you can only maintain that for so long and you get more and more behind. ... it will allow us to facilitate exactly as many applications that we get each month to stay on top of the demand."
The new process is the same, but, rather than turning in an application in person, an applicant would submit all paperwork online. The shortcut would not only eliminate thousands of in-person appointments per year, Jones said, it would also save the department and county money.
Jones said the growing trend of permits will likely persist with the new system, but would likely taper off in time.
"My guess is that people are still applying as fast as they can, as fast as they want to," Jones said. "I think, my sense is that we’ll probably see it slow down a little bit as everybody that’s had this burning urge to get one, they’ve had six years to get one."
Jones said the department will assess the number of approved, denied and revoked permits "probably mid-year.
In addition to the new system, permit holders will be able to have up to five firearms listed instead of the previous limit of three and will receive new identification cards.