RIVERSIDE (CNS) - Riverside County Sheriff Chad Bianco announced today he is situating the department's Concealed Carry Weapons Unit at the Ben Clark Public Safety Training Center in Riverside to ensure adequate space for personnel to process CCW applications and ensure applicants have access to free parking.
Bianco said his goal is to reduce the backlog of gun permit applications that piled up under his predecessor, Stan Sniff.
The issue came up in the sheriff's race last year, with Bianco arguing that Sniff was disregarding the public interest by not expediting applications, and Sniff countering that he was following the letter of the law.
Sniff told City News Service in 2014 that he generally approved 98 percent of the CCW applications received by the sheriff's office.
According to Bianco, under the new CCW program he implemented on taking office in January, four additional training facilities have been designated specifically for gun permit applicants' training.
``This now brings the total approved training facilities to nine to further expedite the application process and reduce the previous backlog,'' according to a sheriff's statement.
Bianco said the department has established an online system to further accelerate CCW reviews. The e-system allows users to fill out all required paperwork -- after paying a small fee via credit or debit card -- to initiate the background screening formalities.
More information about the CCW program is available at www.riversidesheriff.org/ccw/ .
California operates under the ``may issue'' principal, which affords top law enforcement officials in cities and counties the discretion to authorize or deny concealed carry permits. Forty-one states have ``shall issue'' or no-permit-required laws, giving residents with no serious criminal history the ability to carry guns, according to the National Rifle Association.
California Penal Code section 26150 specifies the minimum requirements to qualify for a CCW permit. Applicants are required to undergo background checks, receive a minimum eight hours of firearms certification training and submit information showing ``good cause'' to possess a concealed pistol before their request will be considered.
The good cause criterion became the subject of a federal civil rights case, Peruta v. County of San Diego, seven years ago. The plaintiffs challenged the county's alleged arbitrary handling of permit applications, some of which were denied because they cited self-defense as the only reason for wishing to possess a concealed handgun.
The plaintiffs initially prevailed on Second Amendment grounds in a hearing before a three-judge panel of the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. However, the full court in 2016 overturned the previous ruling in an appeal filed by then-California Attorney General Kamala Harris.
The U.S. Supreme Court in 2017 declined to review the matter, leaving the current good cause standard in place for California.