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Preview – CCW Permit in California

The Tough Road to a CCW Permit in California

California is the state most of the others love to hate — the land of a million laws and regulations. It’s really a shame that many other states see us as a lost cause since so many here believe in the same Constitution, rights, and freedoms as the “free states” do. It’s just that the heaviest concentrations of population here are liberal-heavy, and as such we sometimes have to put up a fight for the rights commonly enjoyed in other areas of the country. This article is both a cautionary tale and a call to never give up the fight — if you treasure your liberty then do everything possible to make sure your state doesn’t go down the road that California has.

One of these constant battles involves the Second Amendment, specifically the right to bear arms. While most other states see California as one large extension of über-liberal San Francisco, the truth is the state is divided into 58 counties with wildly varying levels of firearm freedom. As a state, California doesn’t recognize the fundamental right of its citizens to carry firearms for self-defense. So for concealed carry, your ability to protect yourself varies depending on where you live, ranging from nearly impossible (San Francisco and Los Angeles counties) to relatively easy (San Bernardino and Kern counties). The problem was that the most populous counties are the toughest to secure a License To Carry (LTC), so most of us were out of luck. But then things got shaken up a bit.

That shake came in the form of Edward Peruta, who lived in San Diego County. Mr. Peruta applied for an LTC, but was denied for not having a good enough reason — beyond self-defense — to carry. In short, a lawsuit was filed in 2009 and surprisingly, in February of 2014, he won. The judgment stipulated that the good-cause requirements were too stringent as applied in San Diego County. But being California, restrictive counties like San Francisco, San Diego, and Los Angeles refused to alter their policies since they felt an appeal would be forthcoming.

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However, other counties, such as Orange County, did respect the ruling and started to accept “self-defense” as a valid reason for an LTC. That was when many of us who live in Orange County started to hope that we would be able to exercise the right of self-protection. Of course, there was still a lot of paperwork, training, expense, and yet more paperwork to complete, but at least we had a reasonable chance. There was a ton of pent-up demand in Orange County, and the Orange County Sheriff’s Department (OCSD) was flooded with Concealed Carry Weapon (CCW) permit requests. I finally got around to requesting an appointment in May 2014, and due to the flood of applications, my first appointment was set for November 13, 2017. That’s right, over three years. But, to the credit of the OCSD, they hired extra help and the appointment dates kept ratcheting downward. Soon the appointment moved to April 2015 (a year out) and ultimately late July 2014. I eventually received my LTC on December 13, 2014, which meant my process spanned about seven months.

Again, every county in California is a bit different, with times ranging from as little as a month to as long as “when hell freezes over.” But, the good news is that all the counties in California must accept a LTC from another county. That means a LTC from Orange County is valid even in that freedom-free zone otherwise known as San Francisco.

Here’s the sad tale of the LTC permit process I experienced in Orange County:

Apply for Initial Appointment
The first appointment request began with a several-year wait, gradually decreasing to a couple of months. How long it takes depends on how many others are also applying and departmental resources. It could be a couple of weeks to a couple of months. This first step is critical, and there’s a lot to do before you show up for the interview. First, you must complete a lengthy Department of Justice (DOJ) standard application form — all the basic info from traffic citations in the last five years, brushes with the law, and what guns you would like on your permit.

In Orange County you can have up to three guns (all of which you must qualify with at the range) on your card; these are the only firearms you’re allowed to carry concealed. To remove or add guns, you need to qualify with the new guns and pay a $10.22 fee for a new card with the updated info. It’s the same for a change of address. You also need to provide an original birth certificate, U.S. Passport, or naturalization document. And, although you don’t need it to vote, you also have to show a valid California driver’s license or identification card.


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