First off, yes, I’m still alive, still actively reading a variety of gun and other blogs, and generally living life. Married life, two kids, a dog, etc. takes virtually all of my free time, but I’m still here.
Anyway, today was an interesting day, and involved something I never thought would occur in my lifetime: I was issued a California concealed weapons permit by the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office.
Few jurisdictions are as anti-gun as Alameda County which, to those not familiar with California counties, is in the Bay Area across the bay to the east of San Francisco. It is a heavily blue county, even though my particular city is a bit more politically balanced (albeit still leaning blue). Historically, Alameda County has only ever issued a few dozen CCW permits, and those typically to connected politicians, judges and prominent attorneys, and — based on several individuals in my shooting qualification session — ranchers in exceptionally remote areas of the county with documented issues with criminals. Issuance to ordinary, working people like myself was simply not a thing.
Then Bruen happened and everything changed. Within a few hours of the decision, the California attorney general gritted his teeth and issued a legal letter to permit-issuing authorities in the state saying they can no longer use the arbitrary “good reason” test to deny people, and they had to use objective criteria, thus making California a “shall issue” state.
I sent in an application the night of the Bruen decision, and there were already more than a hundred people ahead of me in the queue. In the days and months since, thousands of applicants have applied when previously there was maybe a dozen a year who did.
Needless to say, the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office and the one person who handled permit applications were instantly and completely overwhelmed. They needed to reassign staff to process the torrent of applicants, update procedures, and generally get things moving.
Of course, the sheriff at the time wasn’t a big fan of CCW and basically did nothing (except stop using the application-management service Permitium, which was designed specifically for this purpose, and go back to the “send stuff by email to one point of contact”) until he lost the election a few months later, after which time some letters from the CRPA and FPC lit some fires under the new sheriff (also not evidently a big fan of CCW, but also not wanting to get sued) and things started moving.
The process was needlessly tedious, lengthy, and expensive. The procedure seemed intentionally difficult and bureaucratic or, as one commenter on Reddit said, “The process is the prohibition.”: all in all, it’s taken over 10 months and cost nearly $800 (excluding the pistol and ammo, which I already had) for the permit and its various requirements, with renewals costing about $200 or so going forward (no psych exam required, and a much simpler process). But it’s done, and I find myself pleased to know that I now have a permit that was essentially impossible to get even a single year ago and that the number of permit holders in blue county has increased.
Of course, the state is really mad about Bruen, and is doing it’s best to declare the essentially the entire state as a “sensitive area”. The legislature’s attempt last year met with failure by only a single vote, and then only because they attempted to pass it as an “emergency” measure that’d take effect immediately and such measures need a 2/3rds supermajority. They have the >50% majority needed to pass it as a normal law in this session, though I’m hopefully that it’d be the subject of numerous lawsuits if it were ever to pass. Weirdly enough, the legislature seemed to have no issues whatsoever with California having relatively lax carry laws so long as only the red counties were the ones doing the issuing. Now that all counties are required to issue, restricting carry as much as possible is suddenly a major issue of the utmost importance. Go figure.
Even if they do pass their crazy law I’ll still keep renewing, if only out of spite. I’ve waited this long to carry, and I’ll be damned if I give up on my rights now.