Requests to Carry Hidden Guns Skyrocket in Santa Clara County

Just south of Spartan Stadium, a concrete shoebox sits near a parking lot full of vehicles festooned with Ron Paul and NRA bumper stickers. The sound of gunfire snaps loud and crisp, ricocheting off of cinder blocks and out the door to a couple of shaded picnic tables. Walking up, it’s difficult to avoid blinking every time a round cracks. Welcome to the Santa Clara Valley Rifle Club.

Inside, baseball-hatted and bespectacled old white men look down on the range. These are the "lifetime members" of the local rifle club, immortalized in pictures yellowed with age, high on the wall. But they aren’t the brand of gun enthusiasts who currently occupy the Club, notwithstanding their shared preference for libertarian adhesive strips on their tailgates. The shots fired come from the Pink Pistols, an informal LGBTQ meet-up group that leases out the rifle club once a month for target practice.

“If you’re tolerant and respectful, I keep my group open,” says Nicole “Nikki” Stallard, a middle-aged transgender woman and founder of the Pink Pistols. She invited me to talk a little Second Amendment and shoot some guns. I accept a Glock out of an assortment of pistols, take aim and fire, poorly. It’s not the first time I’ve shot a gun, but the pistol’s heft is always surprising. It requires a firm grip, and in return it delivers satisfaction.

Nikki Stallard shoots a handgun during target practice at the Santa Clara Valley Rifle Club.

Nikki Stallard shoots a handgun during target practice at the Santa Clara Valley Rifle Club.

Sitting on picnic tables outside the club, Stallard gives me a history lesson on concealed weapon permits that starts with slavery and Dred Scott. She has the spiel on guns rights memorized like the Pledge of Allegiance. When asked how many guns she owns, she pauses thoughtfully. “Good question,” she says, “I’d have to count them.” Brushing aside her long silver hair, Nikki talks about “people out there whose hearts are full of hate." She talks about the people who should really be afraid: Women; black men; gays, lesbians, bisexual and transgender. Stallard does not worry so much about the dope fiend, gang banger or burglar who sneaks through the window in the dead of night, so much as “dealing with predators.” She founded the Pistols in the early 2000s, naming the group after a Salon.com article that urged the LGBTQ community to arm itself against hate crimes and people who “view the LGBT community as easy targets.”

No group is targeted at a higher rate for physical hate crimes—as opposed to property hate crimes—than LGBTQ, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. Data on violence against trans people, specifically, is difficult to come by, but most experts assume incidents go widely underreported. One of the few large studies focusing on transgender discrimination, conducted by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, reported in 2011 that 61 percent of trans people surveyed were victims of physical assault, and 64 percent had been subjected to sexual assault. A survey two years later by the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs found that 13 of the 18 homicides associated with LGBTQ hate crimes that year were trans women; 14 were black.

But people from these populations are not the activists interested in expanding gun rights.

“By and large, if you think about contemporary modern [gun rights] movements, those have all been overwhelmingly white, male and conservative," says Pratheepan Gulasekaram, a Santa Clara University professor who specializes in the Second Amendment as it applies to non-citizens.

The current face of the fight for greater access to guns in California fits the description. Edward Peruta is a white man in his mid-sixties who bears a startling resemblance to the men immortalized in the rifle club. He’s a serial litigant in multiple states, the type to sue the city of Hartford, Connecticut, because parking meters “infringed on his freedom to travel,” according to one article. He would blend in seamlessly at an NRA press conference or Tea Party rally, and there’s a chance he could become their champion if a lawsuit he filed survives the appeals process. A successful Peruta challenge would cause a stark shift in how concealed weapon permits are granted in California. Estimates state the total number of people secretly armed would increase to nearly 600,000 within a year. The current number is estimated at around 70,000.

Nowhere is the clamor for greater gun access more apparent than in Silicon Valley. Extensive records requests San Jose Inside filed with law enforcement agencies across the Bay Area show that the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office has become ground zero for concealed weapon permit requests. The sheriff’s office experienced a 9,000 percent jump in the number of requests in 2014, leading it to put a moratorium on issuing permits. Lawsuits, similar to Peruta’s, have since been filed against the county.

While the cases focus on the constitutional right to carry concealed weapons, perhaps more substantive questions need to be asked: What will the future hold if everyone is armed? Do more guns make us safer? And why are people in Silicon Valley so afraid?

The office of Sheriff Laurie Smith received nearly 300 requests for concealed weapon permits in 2014, after receiving just three the prior year. (Photo via Santa Clara County)

The office of Sheriff Laurie Smith received nearly 300 requests for concealed weapon permits in 2014, after receiving just three the prior year. (Photo via Santa Clara County)

GROUND ZERO

The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals plans to rehear Edward Peruta v. County of San Diego in June, after a decision early last year.

Upholding the original decision would bring state concealed weapon law closer in line with much of the rest of the country. California is a “may issue” state, meaning that even if a citizen meets the letter of the law—passes a psych evaluation, background check and training course—the sheriff of their county, or city police chief in some cases, can decide whether the applicant has “good cause” for a concealed weapon permit, or CCW. In “shall issue” states, of which there are 37, a permit must be issued if the letter of the law is met, no matter the prerogative of law enforcement. Plaintiffs in the Peruta case take issue with the county’s “good cause” requirement, claiming it unduly restricts their Second Amendment rights.

Last February, a three-judge panel ruled in favor of Peruta, who was denied a CCW permit in San Diego County. Sheriff William Gore declined to appeal the case, prompting both Attorney General Kamala Harris—eager for a cause as she runs for U.S. Senate—and the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence to take up the fight. The Ninth Circuit is slated to rehear the case this summer with a full eleven-judge panel.

The gun lobby and its supporters aren’t waiting around for a decision, though. Since the Peruta case was filed, concealed weapon permit applications in California have skyrocketed. Numbers vary across different sheriff offices. Last year there were more than 450 CCW applications across seven Bay Area counties. That’s at least 300 more requests than 2013, and even more than the previous four years combined.

The surge in requests here in Santa Clara County is even more striking. Sheriff Laurie Smith’s office provided documentation showing that 284 applications for CCWs were received in 2014. The year prior, the sheriff’s office received just three applications. In the four years preceding 2014, the Santa Clara County sheriff’s office received a total of 43 applications. (Totals do not include judges, prosecutors and other government employees whose gun possession is exempt from disclosure.)

Most Bay Area counties are notoriously tightfisted about granting permits and discussing how they are issued. San Francisco County, for example, has given out none since 2010. Santa Clara County has granted 26 in the last five years. Of the seven counties contacted for data, Alameda County came in third with 90, San Mateo County granted the second most with 95, and San Benito County issued 64 in 2013 to push its five-year total to 120. Sheriffs of low population rural counties have a reputation for granting more permits than urban areas like Los Angeles and San Francisco. One tactic people take is to make requests for CCWs in rural counties where they own property, despite not living there full time.

Sheriff Smith has placed a moratorium on all new permits until the Peruta case and two pending lawsuits filed against the county have been resolved. Her office declined to go on the record for this story, but conversations with county staff suggest the huge influx in requests last year has overwhelmed the sheriff’s office, which is required to do background checks. Just two CCW requests—made prior to the lawsuits—were processed in 2014.

In an unusual reversal of policy, San Jose Police Chief Larry Esquivel has gotten into the concealed carry business. From 2002 to 2013, SJPD’s previous top cops—William Lansdowne, Rob Davis and Chris Moore—approved just three out of 25 concealed carry applications. Since Esquivel took over in late 2013, the department has approved 29 out of 32 permit requests, and one of those three denials—for a request made by Jet Blue CEO David Neeleman—occurred only because the applicant said he was “no longer interested.”

A closer inspection of those who were approved for CCWs shows Esquivel is arming reserve officers—on-call volunteers who must work two days a month—with weapons in their free time. Twenty-three of the CCWs he has granted went to reserve officers.

Enrique Garcia, a public information officer for SJPD, told San Jose Inside that Esquivel instituted “a change in philosophy” on CCWs only for top-level reserve officers. Garcia cited “safety considerations,” such as protection from people reserves may encounter in the line of duty, as one justification.

Law enforcement agencies vary in how much they try to shield this information. Multiple agencies failed to comply with records requests in a timely manner, from non-responsive public information officers and “lost” emails to the repeated delivery of incorrect or incomplete data. Without knowing if this was intentional or not, the process of acquiring information over the last six months has shown that there is no consistency in CCW permit record keeping or data collection across Bay Area law enforcement agencies. And in some cases, the record keeping is rudimentary at best.

During an inspection of CCW requests at the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office, a deputy handed over a 10-page list of names—this, he said, was the office’s lone record for the history of CCW holders going back to 2009. Along with a stack of applications for active CCW holders, Metro was told, no other local records exist. A spokesman for Sheriff Smith said the office was advised not to comment for this story at the direction of county counsel, citing ongoing legal disputes. After communicating with agencies across the Bay Area, one thing is clear: None of these agencies have a clue how their neighbors handle CCW requests.

The Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office had no information on municipal police departments within the county granting CCWs, but a spokesman said he would be interested to find out. The same was true for SJPD. Not all police departments in Silicon Valley responded to requests for comment, but it appears the lone South Bay police department that has given out a CCW—outside of San Jose—is Campbell, which said it has renewed just “one or two” over the last 15 years.

The Black Panthers in Oakland scared the California legislature into passing laws restricting the open carry of loaded weapons. (Photo via ArtPractical.com)

The Black Panthers scared California's legislature into passing a law in 1967 to restrict the open carrying of loaded weapons. (Photo via ArtPractical.com)

PANTHER PARTY

One of the more ironic, if not disturbing, aspects about the CCW controversy in California is how the state even got to this point. The 1967 Mulford Act, which banned the open carry of loaded firearms in California, was brought to the legislature by Don Mulford, a Republican assemblyman from Alameda County. Like many white people at the time, Mulford was scared of the Black Panthers' purposeful, in-your-face armed police patrols. Before his bill was signed into law, it was completely legal to openly carry loaded weapons in the state, provided they weren’t pointed at anyone in a threatening way. The Panthers took advantage of this to protest police harassment in Oakland’s black community, armed to the teeth and shouting legal advice at those being arrested.

In response to the proposed ban, the Panthers marched onto the steps of the state capitol, carrying shotguns and pistols. As Adam Winkler wrote about the incident in The Atlantic, “The radicals walked straight into the state’s most important government building, loaded guns in hand. No metal detectors stood in their way.” Of course, the presence of armed black radicals terrified the older, white, male politicians. The passage of Mulford’s bill was expedited and “eagerly supported” by Gov. Ronald Reagan and fellow conservatives.

As seen in other states, looser concealed weapon restrictions have led to subsequent laws that almost encourage confrontation. In Florida, the state responsible for issuing the most concealed weapon permits in the country, legislation has allowed for the brandishing of weapons and firing of warning shots. "Stand your ground” laws, first passed in Florida and since expanded to two dozen states, enshrine the right to use of deadly force by those who feel their lives are being threatened. In the trial of Trayvon Martin’s killer, the judge specifically instructed the jury that George Zimmerman “had the right to stand his ground and meet force with force, including deadly force if he reasonably believed that it was necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or another.”

Mother Jones found that between 2005 and 2010, “justifiable homicides by civilians using firearms doubled in states with the [stand your ground] laws, while falling or remaining the same in states lacking them." The number of “justifiable homicides” by members of the public doubled in 2010 and nearly tripled by 2011, according to the report.

Combs, of the Calguns Foundation, says his group has no plans to push a similar style law here, because California has a "pretty strong castle doctrine,” a concept similar to stand your ground, though it only protects the right to use deadly force in one’s home, not in public.

But just as old, conservative and mostly white men were motivated to change the laws to protect themselves from the Panthers, they’re now attempting to facilitate greater access out of a similar fear. These laws are not designed for everyone in society, but a select few.

John Crawford, a 22-year-old black man in Ohio, picked up a BB gun in a Wal-Mart and was shot to death by police. Tamir Rice, just 12 years old, was shot by Cleveland police last summer just seconds after an officer arrived on the scene and saw him carrying an airsoft gun. Lavar Jones was shot during a traffic stop in South Carolina last fall as he attempted to hand the officer his wallet. These incidents are not happening in White America, which overestimates the amount of crimes committed by black people, according to a 2012 study by the University of Albany. Polling indicates that around half of white people think the rate of violent crime has gone up in the last 20 years, when, in fact, it has dropped by around 50 percent.

LaDoris Cordell, a retired judge and San Jose’s Independent Police Auditor, suggests the support for changing California’s rules on CCWs would be split if a certain demographic of people were requesting relaxed laws, rather than the NRA.

“If you had a million black men issued concealed weapon permits we’d have gun control tomorrow,” Cordell said.

Concealed carry would be a fraught situation for black men interacting with police, though, as recent shootings have shown that officers need only the suggestion or hint of a weapon—and many times not even that—for deadly interactions to occur. All people are not armed equally. Some get the benefit of the doubt. Some get shot.

The contemporary rallying cry for greater access to guns rarely comes from the nation’s most vulnerable citizens—young people of color or LGBTQ groups like the Pink Pistols—but from those with economic and social power.

San Jose Police Chief Larry Esquivel made a noticeable shift in department policy by granting far more CCWs than his predecessors. (Photo via Twitter)

San Jose Police Chief Larry Esquivel has made a noticeable change to department policy by granting far more CCWs than his predecessors. (Photo via Twitter)

THE NEW LAW

Nearly every one of the 45 active sheriff-issued CCWs in Santa Clara County cited a risk of robbery or assault to justify their CCW request. Some mentioned disputes with a co-worker or former employee. One man called himself a “high value terrorist target.”

Other CCW holders stated in their applications that they deal in precious metals, or arms dealing, or they own land under siege by “illegal marijuana gardens.” All of the 45 names provided by the sheriff are traditional male names. Neither gender nor race is listed in the redacted applications.

In reviewing the data, nine of the permit holders donated to Sheriff Smith's recent re-election campaign. Two men belonged to the Sheriff’s Advisory Board in 2011. Both Jim Rees—grandson of legendary personal injury attorney James Boccardo, for whom trails and business school buildings are now named—and private eye Gregg Dietz still hold their permits. Because these CCWs, which must be renewed every two years, are so rare, there is some cachet to being a concealed carrier. With the ability to transport a weapon comes recognition. Possession of a CCW can be used to signal officers during traffic stops that the holder is a background-checked friend of law enforcement. But this isn’t an argument used in the application process. Rees cited his real estate management company as the reason for needing a CCW, while Dietz runs an investigation firm.

Pro-gun special interests like the NRA have actively shopped the slogan, “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun,” as seen in NRA president Wayne LaPierre’s tasteless post-Newtown press conference. The man who picked up the torch from Charlton Heston’s cold, dead hands has also claimed that violent crime is lower “in jurisdictions that recognize the ‘right to carry.’”

A favorite citation of the “more guns, less crime” crowd is a 1997 study by John Lott and David Mustard, which analyzed data for U.S. counties over a 25-year period. It reported that easing restrictions on concealed carry deterred violent crime and produced no increase in accidental deaths. The report also noted that property crimes increased in states allowing concealed carry, leading the authors to conclude that criminals were “substituting” property crime for violent crime.

In a major follow-up study, Stanford professor John Donohue found that although the passage of relaxed concealed weapon laws did indeed accompany a drop in violent crime, the guns did not deserve credit. A major 2004 report by the National Research Council committee on Firearms and Violence reached the same conclusion, stating that the results were inconclusive. But in another report by Donahue, published last December, he cautiously suggested CCWs could lead to an increase in the number of aggravated assaults.

Brandon Combs, president of Cal Guns, a pro-gun lobbyist group, took a middle-ground tack in a phone interview. "I'm not arguing that more guns equals less crime, but there's no evidence that more guns equals more crime," he said.

Though the number of guns Americans own is increasing, the percentage of households containing a gun is decreasing, according to a CNN report. These people are almost certainly the type to request a CCW. In a search of Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office records, at least 65 percent of the requests made were for more than one gun.

Combs went on: “From our perspective the bigger issue here is restoring fundamental rights that we ought to have had the entire time.” And this might be the hinge upon which Peruta is decided. In the late 80s and early 90s, looser restrictions were placed on CCW laws across the country as a reaction to spikes in crime. It was hypothesized that they would do the public good: more guns, less crime. But if this hypothesis is false, what’s left to support expansion of concealed weapons permits is an argument for constitutional rights. For some, this is enough on its own. But whether this right is truly allowed to all populations in America, or even desirable, is not clear.

If Peruta is not overturned, the prevalence of guns in public could reach unprecedented levels—more than 85 percent of the U.S. population would then live in a “shall issue” state, according to the Washington Post. This is up from 10 percent of the population in 1986.

Mike McLively, of the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence in San Francisco, thinks the 9th Circuit Court review will likely reverse the Peruta decision in June. Even if the case is appealed to the Supreme Court, it is unlikely the justices will hear it. After two landmark Second Amendment cases in 2008 and 2010, the court has had 65 opportunities to consider another. It has taken none of them.

But if Peruta succeeds, McLively says, estimates of more than half a million new CCW permits in California within a year are reasonable. And the effects won’t be positive. “I don’t want to paint this as some kind of doomsday scenario,” he says, “but I would expect an increase in gun deaths.”

The fight over concealed weapon permits is not limited to gun control, constitutional rights or upticks and reductions in crime. These are debates for public consumption. The argument for greater access to CCWs will always go back to the gun itself, and the mindset of those who appreciate the control and power it provides.

Josh Koehn contributed to this report.

59 Comments

  1. > perhaps more substantive questions need to be asked: What will the future hold if everyone is armed? Do more guns make us safer? And why are people in Silicon Valley so afraid?

    These substantive questions have already been asked and answered. Many times. It’s just that those asking the questions don’t like the answers.

    > What will the future hold if everyone is armed?

    “An armed society is a polite society.”

    > Do more guns make us safer?

    “More guns. Less crime.”

    > And why are people in Silicon Valley so afraid?

    Dianne Feinstein. Barbara Boxer. Dave Roberti. Don Perata. Leland Yee. Barack Obama. Etc. etc. etc.

  2. “While the cases focus on the constitutional right to carry concealed weapons…” And therein lies the problem with every concealed carry lawsuit which argued that there is a right to carry a concealed weapon in public. There is no such right to concealed carry which the US Supreme Court has made perfectly clear in three separate decisions and in which state courts have upheld prohibitions on concealed carry going back 200 years.

    Concealed carry is of no use to me, I don’t carry a purse. Besides, Open Carry is the right guaranteed by the Constitution, concealed carry can be banned.

    http://CaliforniaRightToCarry.org

    “[A] right to carry arms openly: “This is the right guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States, and which is calculated to incite men to a manly and noble defence of themselves, if necessary, and of their country, without any tendency to secret advantages and unmanly assassinations.”” District of Columbia v. Heller, 128 S. Ct. 2783 (2008) at 2809

    “[T]he right of the people to keep and bear arms (art. 2) is not infringed by laws prohibiting the carrying of concealed weapons…” Robertson v. Baldwin, 165 US 275 – Supreme Court (1897) at 282.

    “In Nunn v. State, 1 Ga. 243, 251 (1846), the Georgia Supreme Court construed the Second Amendment as protecting the “natural right of self-defence” and therefore struck down a ban on carrying pistols openly. Its opinion perfectly captured the way in which the operative clause of the Second Amendment furthers the purpose announced in the prefatory clause, in continuity with the English right…Likewise, in State v. Chandler, 5 La. Ann. 489, 490 (1850), the Louisiana Supreme Court held that citizens had a right to carry arms openly: “This is the right guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States, and which is calculated to incite men to a manly and noble defence of themselves, if necessary, and of their country, without any tendency to secret advantages and unmanly assassinations.”” District of Columbia v. Heller, 128 S. Ct. 2783 (2008) at 2809

    “Like most rights, the right secured by the Second Amendment is not unlimited. From Blackstone through the 19th-century cases, commentators and courts routinely explained that the right was not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose. See, e.g., Sheldon, in 5 Blume 346; Rawle 123; Pomeroy 152-153; Abbott 333. For example, the majority of the 19th-century courts to consider the question held that prohibitions on carrying concealed weapons were lawful under the Second Amendment or state analogues. See, e.g., State v. Chandler, 5 La. Ann., at 489-490; Nunn v. State, 1 Ga., at 251…” District of Columbia v. Heller, 128 S. Ct. 2783 (2008) at 2816

    • > Concealed carry is of no use to me, I don’t carry a purse. Besides, Open Carry is the right guaranteed by the Constitution, concealed carry can be banned.

      Pretty darn confusing.

      I don’t know if it’s you that is confused, or the courts that are confused.

      • The legal citations I provided are all written in plain English understandable by anyone with a 7th grade vocabulary.

        Your confusion does not mean that others are confused. That is something you should have learned before kindergarten.

        • > Your confusion does not mean that others are confused. That is something you should have learned before kindergarten.

          You’re smarter than me, aren’t you.

        • This was a pretty well balanced article, which I appreciate. Gun control is a very emotional issue, so kudos to the authors for trying to be objective, and generally succeeding.

          Responding to Charles Nichols, who says above:

          “The legal citations I provided are all written in plain English understandable by anyone with a 7th grade vocabulary.”

          Here is some English that is even easier to understand:

          “…shall not be infringed.”

          I don’t see anything about ‘concealed’ in the Constitution. That argument is called a ‘red herring’; it needlessly distracts from the central issue.

          I can think of good reasons why open carry is undesirable: it gives far too much information to the very people that society wants protection from. With a weapon in plain view, the first thing bad guys will think is, “How do I handle this?”

          They can come up behind you and hit you on the head with a brick. Then the gun becomes their weapon. Is that what you want? Or, they can just move on to an unarmed victim. And being criminals, they don’t follow the law anyway. They can just pull their own concealed weapon out and take away your openly carried weapon. Guns are very valuable, and desirable to criminals. A weapon in plain sight is no different from having several $100 bills sticking out of your shirt pocket.

          Concealed carry is very effective because if even one out of a hundred people has a firearm, potential felons do not know who they are. Everyone becomes more law abiding and polite as a result.

          Next, the unequivocal statement “Shall not be infringed” is a high bar to overcome. If the excuse to limit a citizen’s right to Constitutional protection can be dismissed with a specious argument like ‘open carry versus concealed carry’, or by limiting magazine capacity to 10 rounds when another magazine can be inserted in less than two seconds, then honest citizens are right to be concerned about the motivations of gun control advocates who are always chipping away at our rights.

          Finally, there is far too little discussion over firearm safety. Although I think that every law abiding citizen has the right to carry a weapon for protection, firearm proficiency should be demonstrated. That would require firing maybe one hundred rounds per year at a local range, along with safety classes, and with instruction is the various legalities of use. In addition, those choosing to carry a concealed weapon should be required to have at least $1 million in accident insurance. I have an umbrella policy on my car for $3 million, which costs only a few hundred dollars. The legal use of firearms is actually very rare, much rarer than auto accidents, so insurance coverage would be inexpensive.

          California is one of only two states remaining that makes it extremely difficult for citizens to obtain a concealed carry permit. Other states have not had any of the predicted problems with gun violence by legal holders. A few states are even considering not having any laws barring concealed firearms, instead following the Constitution’s plain language. I look forward to Californians proposing an initiative that would give our citizens the same rights as the rest of the country. By all statistical accounts, it would be a net benefit to society.

          • > Here is some English that is even easier to understand:
            “…shall not be infringed.”

            Thanks, Smokey.

            A superb analysis.

            And thanks, also, for de-pantsing Nichols the loy-yah.

            It gave me enough schadenfreude to last until the next Hillary gaffe.

    • Thank you, Mr. Nichols. Very much appreciate the case law citations and perspective.

    • If only the advocacy for Open Carry in California weren’t coming from a nutjob like Charles Nichols, the cause would appear to be a worthy one.

  3. Good question bubble; why are people in SV so afraid? As you have pointed out time and time again, violent crime is falling like a rock! Is it just paranoia ?

    • > As you have pointed out time and time again, violent crime is falling like a rock!

      I don’t know what you are referring to.

      I don’t think I have ever claimed that ” violent crime is falling like a rock”.

      Quite the contrary. We live in a society where the ruling oligarchy is, in the words of Daniel Patrick Moynahan, “defining deviancy down.”

      I suspect that things that used to be called “violent crimes”, are now just called “insensitivity” or “misunderstanding”.

      Michael Brown didn’t try to strong arm a convenience store clerk; he was merely trying to claim some “social justice” for himself in an unfair society.

  4. What part of ‘keep and bear arms’ do you not get? It’s illegal to bear firearms openly in California, and it’s only legal to carry concealed if your local sheriff thinks you donated adequately to her re-election campaign. Why is it up to the discretion of an elected official if a person can exercise their fundamental civil rights? Can a sheriff exercise a similar authority over other civil rights, like the right of free speech? It’s only in respect to firearms that leftists think the Constitution is optional. They can find any number of ridiculous things not mentioned in the document (abortion) as Constitutional, but something explicitly iterated in the document (firearms) is treated like a suggestion.

    • Although the justices in the Heller decision were split on the meaning of the Second Amendment they were unanimous in their conclusion that carrying weapons concealed is not a right. The majority decision in Heller, a decision which said that Open Carry is the right guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States and a decision which also said that concealed carry can be banned was written by Justice Scalia. Is he a leftist?

      Most people do not seem to understand that just as there is a difference between speech and speech which is protected under the Second Amendment there is a difference between bearing arms and the manner of bearing arms which is protected by the Second Amendment.

      The First Amendment does not permit death threats, black mail or extortion. The Second Amendment does not permit the carrying of weapons concealed except for certain limited exceptions such as in the home and by travelers while actually on a journey.

      • Still misreading Heller, I see.

        Charles – neither the Heller nor the McDonald rulings say anything like what you wish they said.

        What you completely fail to recognize is that, as with the First Amendment, considerations about Time, Place, and Manner are legitimately subject to government regulation, so long as they don’t create an “Undue Burden” on the fundamental right.

        Telling you that you have to keep you gun, ahem, in your pants, is the very same thing.

  5. 10 million Californians live in shall issue counties. They carry everywhere the law allows.. without incident. Restrictive gun laws are throwbacks to the race laws of the 19th and early 20th century.

  6. Is this SJI’s submission to the Bulwer-Lytton Bad Fiction contest?

    Aside from the horribly tortured, flamboyantly descriptive sentences this POS is loaded with generalizations, hyperbole and blatant anti-white racism.

    Josh Koehn “contributed” to this piece? You should be ashamed as should SJI For publishing this.

    • Meyer Weed: BRAVO!
      Agree – this is among the worst hot mess journalism jumbles I’ve seen too. It’s sole purpose seems to incite controversy via meandering unfounded theories connected by factoids.

      Uptick in CCW permits = fear. Uh…what supports that claim: Some quotes & anecdotes? Brilliant research.

      But in lieu of supporting data, Layton / Koehn stir up FUD – Fear, Uncertainty, & Doubt
      * Gays are arming themselves – never mind that gay bashing has been designated a hate crime in many places, significantly declined, and virtually absent in SCC in many years. I recall a church sign defaced in Campbell a few years back (and subsequent straight outpouring condemning it) – but that’s all.

      * Militant blacks terrify white politicians and by implication Baltimore-style, armed rioters (‘thugs’ now seems to be racist) are at our doorstep.

      * Cordell claims that gun control would be swiftly passed were 1M blacks armed. Utter delusion (and racist IMO). Anyone (black, white, etc.) who wants one can get one – or make one like I did in shop class. Plans are now online for much better weapons. A background check is needed and 1 day class for those that want to legally possess one – but that’s hardly been a deterrent.

      * Skyrocketing increase in gun sales and ownership in SCC? Zooming firearm ‘self defense’ class attendance? Hoards of blood-thirsty gun owners queueing up at shooting ranges and gun shows? Nope.

      The only aspect I found newsworthy is that the Sheriff’s Department ‘s record keeping is so inept. Too bad that aspect wasn’t pursued to report on other instances, if any, of SCC SD negligence. Would be helpful for a Civil Grand Jury investigation.

      • “Cordell claims that gun control would be swiftly passed were 1M blacks armed.” Has she been living in a cave somewhere? There are already a million blacks armed, and about 7,000 of them across the USA shoot other blacks every year. Why don’t Jesse, Sharpton and the people of Ferguson, Baltimore, New York, and Detroit protest this on the streets of the hoods around the country?

  7. The author does a good job educating us on the evil nature of older white conservative males.
    We conservative white males are all in favor of issuing more CCWs as long as it proves favorable to white people and helps us to continue our exploitation and dominance over people of inferior race whom we naturally fear and despise.
    Excellent article.

    • Wow. You managed to parrot many of the false canards and stereotypes that leftists spew, all in one neat little paragraph.

      The problem is, I seriously doubt that you cannot even define what conservatism is, without resorting to the cute little buzzwords/phraseology that lefties have been conditioned to spout. Don’t feel bad, though. I have never met any leftist who can define conservatism, not even self styled “intellectuals” who pollute kids gray matter in so-called institutions of higher learning. Yet pinheads like yourself hate what you don’t have the ability to define. Sad, that.

      You statists really need to get some new material.

      • Yes, it was my intention to parrot many of the false canards and stereotypes that leftists spew.
        Leftism, as exemplified by this article, is founded upon lies and deserves very much to be mocked.

  8. Stephen,
    What a hit piece! This sounds like you spent to many hours watching B westerns and Quick-Draw cartoons.
    Sounds ricochet off cinder block walls? Bullets ricochet, sounds echo! If there ricocheting out the door, RUN !

    Immortalized bespectacled old white men, that’s about as racist, bigoted,hetero-phobic as any ISIS terrorist could spew out about an American Jew. Shame on you.

    The First Amendment give you the right to to speak your opinion in this open forum. The Second Amendment is what give’s us all the power to keep it. There is nothing in it about white men only. It doesn’t discriminate against anyone’s
    gender “before or after”, their sex or what ever shade of color you happen to be even though it was written by a bunch of bespectacled dead white men. They were not old when they wrote it!

    So you shot a Glock! Your so lucky, If Nasty Nancy and DiFi had their way the Glock would be banned and cops would still be carrying 38 revolvers, the a Second Amendment would only be be for them, the ruling class. DiFi has one! White man put it in there for everyone.
    Remember the Glock was singled out for being invisible in airport X-ray machines, and it shot cop killer bullets to boot.
    According to N.O.W. the size of you pistol is just a substitute for your small manhood.

    Your source for info, The Southern Poverty Law Center, Hand Gun Control Inc. If your going to quote statistics on crime, please try the FBI they’re not nearly as biased as a bunch of lawyers with an agenda to fill.

    Shaking down the law abiding citizen for a donation to your campaign is a bit tacky, but if it includes a back ground check to make sure your not some gang- banger, illegal thug or taking psychotropic drugs to even out a personality flaw, fine, it gets us back to conforming to Constitutional Law and the rights of all us citizens.

    Last, what am I afraid of here in Silicone Valley? People driving old mustered colored Volvo station wagons and green Subaru Outbacks festooned with Save the Whales, Al Gore, I’m Vegan, Obama, and I’m ready for Hillary bumper stickers.
    “ON THEIR CELL PHONES!”
    The gang banger’s that stabbed a 13 year old 75 ft from my front porch 2 years ago.The Asian gang that has pulled of 3 home invasions with in two blocks of my house, one across the street, a drive by shooting 1 block away.
    I’ve lost all count of the murders surrounding Independence High the last few years.

    So when can I get a CCW?

  9. 41 States are “Shall Issue”. Six States do not require any permit to carry concealed and more states are trending in this direction.

  10. Well that includes 50% of your SJPD and they already have CCW cause there cops and the citizens of San Jose especially the mentally ill and down and out are already aware of their “Yell and Shoot” behavior.

  11. Oh, MY! “Hidden GUNS!”

    You mean, like the hidden guns plainclothes cops carry around every day?

    “But, they’re HIDDEN!”

    Okay, then should they have to carry them openly?

    “Oh, my GOD! NO! They shouldn’t be allowed to carry them AT ALL!”

    Please.

    You people are SO lame.

  12. “the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office … experienced a 9,000 percent jump in the number of requests in 2014, leading it to put a moratorium on issuing permits.”

    Did Sheriff Smith explain how “a moratorium” differed from “business as usual”?

    • So maybe she issued 1 or 2 last year? Time to catch up to the progressive parts of the country…………

      • How much did they “contribute” to her campaign? Maybe if I lived there I could afford one.

  13. “What will the future hold if everyone is armed?” It doesn’t have to be everyone — just enough people to ensure that violent criminals do not live long unless they change.

    “Do more guns make us safer?” They might not make people who submit to the demands of violent criminals safer, but guns greatly improve the safety of those who refuse violent criminals’ demands.

    “And why are people in Silicon Valley so afraid?” They’re not afraid. They’re carrying guns so that the criminals will be afraid.

    “`If you had a million black men issued concealed weapon permits we’d have gun control tomorrow,’ Cordell said.” Not if you issued them to a million black men with squeaky clean police records.

    Over the last twenty years many other states passed laws requiring issuance of concealed handgun permits to those with clean records who take training. The fears cited by opponents of the change were not realized.

  14. They (they the people in power) are not afraid. It is about controlling the masses. The corruption in Santa Clara county law enforcement runs so deep that the old white, Indian, yellow man, pinko, brown man, the few black men that live in the county and any other libtard inhabitant are controlling the ballot box have become blind. The masses don’t realize any corruption exists, because they have not been exposed to any corruption because they are apart of the problem. How many times can people keep voting for the same POS and SOB’s that run the low level offices to the top in California. Such as Boxer, Fienstien, Brown, Honda, Smith, ect. Or is the corruption so bad that we have become a Communist state and they have effectively been able to control the masses and everyone lives in fear and dose not dare to speak out about the gestapo. Yes the people in the bay area are afraid of who is in power as we did not elect you. “The out come was all ready decided before the first ballot was ever cast”. Joe Stalin

  15. > I suspect most everyone is but that isn’t going to stop you from posting about things you know nothing about, is it?

    It’s what we do here.

    Welcome to the blog.

  16. I can not even attempt to sort the wheat from the chaff in this article right now, but I do wonder where the “journalist” came up with this 9000 percent increase in ccw requests since 2014 in Santa Clara Co., and why he is still alive after target practice with the Pink Pistols in a small box building with all that riqochet action going on. Sounds like a mass canned suicide event. I long for journalists that write something based on facts that would be worthy of first amendment protection.

  17. I have some heartburn over the Pink Pistols content too.
    Stallard is described the founder of Pink Pistols. Wikipedia says it was Doug Krick. Other articles confirm Krick; no mention of Stallard – yet another indication of inept yellow journalism.

    I evidently missed the memo that says we LGBTs should be quaking in fear. How many SJ gay businesses have armed off duty cops at the door to protect patrons / escort them to their cars?

    Zero. And ditto for DeFrank and other LGBT centers in the County.

    Offhand I can’t think of any vandalism in SJ: no DIE FAGS graffiti defacing clubs, no bricks through windows of gay establishments, and no Westboro congregation demonstrators telling me I’m going to burn in hell. Nor do I see announcements for gay self-defense classes.

    I do volunteer work at places one might expect to be hostile to LGBTs. Often am the only one without tattoos and with pale skin. No homophobic attitudes or comments that I’ve encountered.

    I mention these because it’s helpful to triangulate assertions. Is there other evidence to support the claim of gays arming to prevent bashing? Haven’t found any. There may be some, but it doesn’t rise to the level of a prevailing view.

    The only gay bashing I’m aware of are several gay men and women that practice various martial arts. They get kicked, punched, thrown, taken down…and vice versa to straight opponents. They do so because they enjoy honing physical skills- not out of fear.

    If Laurie Smith is handing out CCWs to those that cite fear of gay bashing, then I just might apply for the bragging rights of having one – but leave my Glock at home.

    I happen to shoot with a “straight” group because I enjoy the men and women in it. Haven’t participated in any Pink Pistol events yet. But I’d be quite surprised if the members’ motivation is different from any other group of shooting enthusiasts: it’s fun, supportive, and competitive.

  18. “The sheriff’s office experienced a 9,000 percent jump in the number of requests in 2014, leading it to put a moratorium on issuing permits. Lawsuits, similar to Peruta’s, have since been filed against the county.”

    So my question to you, Mr. Layton, is do you do any of your own verification and research or do you just print whatever is hand fed to you or, lastly, are you actually assisting that crooked fool in the Sheriff’s Office in rewriting the history on this? The sheriff put a moratorium on permits in 2011 when she was sued by Mr. Scocca for handing out permits unfairly, potentially with a political bias.

    http://www.mercurynews.com/bay-area-news/ci_19521214

    Honestly, I can’t even stomach reading the rest of the article if you’re getting facts this blatantly wrong. You’re either the latest shill for this biased rag or incredibly naive and easy to take advantage of if you believe that statement you made for a New York minute.

  19. As the gentleman above states, “But I’d be quite surprised if the members’ motivation is different from any other group of shooting enthusiasts: it’s fun, supportive, and competitive.” Absolutely on target! (Pun intended) I also think one million armed black men (who passed the standard background check) would be a great thing. They are the most victimized segment of society.

    The article was poorly written and researched (and biased). Responsible gun owners are not a problem.

    I am the 60’ish white conservative and welcome all responsible persons to our shooting sports.

  20. Can someone please tell me who Mr. Layton is, his expertise/qualifications, or is he just another blogger?

    • LinkedIn Profile:
      “Freelance writer & bartender
      Demographic info
      San Francisco Bay Area | Writing and Editing

      Current
      Bartender at Elephant Bar Restaurant, Contributing Writer at Metro Newspapers
      Past
      Assistant Editor at Boulevards New Media Inc., Server at Elephant Bar Restaurant, Lead Outdoors Instructor at Galileo Learning, Arts and Nightlife Intern at Metro Newspapers, Editor-in-Chief at The Santa Clara Review, Lead Outdoors Instructor at Galileo Learning, Team Leader at Galileo Learning
      Education
      Santa Clara University, Jesuit High School Sacramento”
      ###
      Galileo Learning is a children’s summer camp.

      Without picking sides on the CCW matter, Mr. Layton’s article reflects poorly on Metro. It’s abundantly clear there was little to no fact-checking and the entire premise (rise in CCW applications reflects rise in fear) is unsupported, but invalid.

      • Thanks, Taxpayer.
        Now, since I am severely challenged in math, can someone please explain to me how 285 is 9000% greater than 3? Thanks.

        • I trust Mr. Layton used Percent Change: ((EndValue – InitialValue) / InitialValue) * 100
          EndValue = 284; InitialValue = 3; Percent Change = 9366.66%

          • Thanks for the tutorial, Taxpayer. It shows why I never did well in math after grade school. To my non-math mind, if a thing is 9,000% greater than something, the number is much bigger; e.g., if I had three dollars, 9,000% of that three dollars is $27,000.00, not $284.00. The distinction between “times” a given number and a percentage increase from a given number is totally lost on me. Oh well. So, what Sheriff Laurie seems to be doing here is putting out a big number like 9,000% increase for its scare factor. A 9,000% increase in conceal carry permit requests sounds much more ominous than saying last year 285 people in a county with a population of about 1.8 million folks requested the permit, versus just 3 people the prior year. Put that way, it just doesn’t sound like much to worry about, does it? But cops and I-know-what’s-best-for- everyone-liberals just don’t want anyone to have guns. What they fail to understand is: it’s the bad guys who have guns who are the problem. Cops and liberals just can’t seem to differentiate between bad guys with guns and ordinary citizens with guns; just as I can’t differentiate between “times” a base number (initial value) and a percentage increase in a base number.

        • That’s easy, you just multiply by 31.57 the number of non facts in the story!

      • I think to anyone who has been following the issue for more than a minute knows that if there is any significant increase in applications it’s because of the potential change in issuing standards based on the Peruta decision. The sheriff must love this though, it gave her the opportunity to rewrite a little history regarding the real reason she’s stopped issuing completely (allegedly) — because she was sued based on the blatant appearance that she has been using CCWs as a political bribe.

  21. I just adore the Author, Stephen’s idiotic conflation of egregious police training (hyperdefensiveness exhibited as offense, aka ‘shoot-first’) with the “threat” posed by an armed law-abiding citizenry.

    I also like the smudging of the lines between “Stand Your Ground” and the Castle Doctrine and basic Self Defense. Here’s a hint to the author, or the now-misinformed reader, “Stand Your Ground” is a legal defense that may be used to initiate a Summary Judgment hearing — nothing more. It doesn’t give lawfully-armed citizens any more rights than they already have; it just reduces the chance that they’d have to spend $500k (or go bankrupt) defending themselves in a lengthy trial about lawful self defense.

  22. So JMO didn’t do well in math but he and his grand jury know all about Public Employee pensions and other materms of Govt finance…. Start with a biased conclusion and cherry pick facts to substantiate it…

    • Weedboy: The 2013-2014 Civil Grand Jury of which I was a member issued no reports about public employee pensions. You must be a very optimistic guy to be wrong so often, yet keep posting to SJI.

  23. Thanks, JMO and others. Your questions prompted me to dig a bit deeper.

    That CCW applications increased from 3 to 284 in 12 months does seem interesting (assuming it’s accurate. Given Mr. Layton’s other errors, it’s not certain). The reason for requesting a CCW is on page 10 of the form at http://www.sccgov.org/sites/sheriff/Documents/BOF_4012_CCWapplication_112012.pdf .

    Presumably the public records requests by Metro could have reviewed the basis for CCW applications, but this was not mentioned.

    The increase could simply be due to publicity as a result of the 9th Circuit decision, security employers wanting concealed carry guards, or any number of other reasons contrary to the article’s premise.

    Mr. Layton says the Sheriff has “put a moratorium on issuing permits”; the Sheriff’s website says “Currently, we are accepting and processing applications. However, due to a large number of applications we have received, there is a tremendous backlog. Please be patient as we work our way through the backlog.” see http://www.sccgov.org/sites/sheriff/Pages/ccw.aspx

    Mr. Layton evidently subscribes to the ‘never let the facts get in the way of a good story’ school of journalism.

    The application is instructive. Does SCC SD require a [up to] $150 psych evaluation? Why does the form ask about any prior mental health treatment when the criteria for a CCW is different? (Any person who is found by a court to be a danger to himself, herself, or others because of a mental illness). Presumably treatment for say, postpartum depression or divorce counseling or other temporary condition should be disclosed.

    Is failure to disclose grounds for denial or prosecution? Are these disclosures now part of the public record for anyone to obtain, covered under HIPPA privacy regulations, or something else?

    These and other aspects ripe for investigation. Unfortunately, Metro appears to favor FUD and stylized Eric Berne “Ain’t It Awful” articles.

  24. Interesting Federal District Court ruling on May 18 that prevents Washington, DC from enforcing its “good reason” requirement for those seeking a CCW. Our 9th Circuit Peruta case is scheduled for rehearing by an 11-judge “en banc” panel of the 9th Circuit on June 16, at 3:30 pm in San Francisco, California.

    See http://us5.campaign-archive2.com/?u=10f1b2be1fbee7acd9ac7bb79&id=f4666cec1e&e=bcf8135a40

    More at https://www.nraila.org/articles/20150326/california-the-battle-for-shall-issue-is-on

  25. Actually, it is easy to get a permit, even by non-residents, from Sheriff Laurie Smith. All it requires is a LARGE contribution to her reelection campaign fund coffers. I have received CCW permits in ever state in which I have lived and still carry a non-resident permit from one of those states that is valid in 40 other states…but not in CA.

    First request for a permit here in CA, the Sheriff Deputy manning the desk laughed out loud. Thinking he though me just some yahoo, I laid out my DL, my firearm instructors card, my permit from the state I just left in my move to CA…and he said,”You certainly appear to be competent and qualified, but you cannot get a permit in this county unless you contribute $10,000 to the sheriff’s reelection campaign!” I thought he was kidding! He wasn’t!

    Later research indicated that there were questions as to Sheriff Laurie’s issuance of CCW permits with thwarted and stonewalled requests for issuing records and other data.

  26. A few facts and comments:

    1. The number of applications is artificially and EXTREMELY low because it is a known fact that Santa Clara will not issue to regular, lawful citizens, neither will San Jose.

    2. It is estimated the “good guy with a gun” stops 300,000 to 2.5 million crimes per year.

    3. The mention of race, especially regarding the Black Panthers is obviously anti-white. Shame on you. Don’t you think anyone in their right mind would be scared of angry people with loaded guns raised?!? No matter what the race?

    4. California now has a defacto gun ban in place. Virtually all new semiautomatics will no longer be eligible for sale as of 1/1/17 due to the idiotic, impossible and unlawful microstramping requirement. Not to mention California’s extremely burdensome requirements to have a semiautomatic approved for sale in CA. There are only 3 S&W and 1 Ruger new semiautomatics currently eligible for sale in CA.

    5. Chicago has strict gun laws, but it didn’t stop the 2,986 victims shot in 2015. The number of lawful Conceal Carry holders participating crimes in Chicago was probably extremely low…..

    6. San Jose has been so poorly run that police staffing is so low, properly crimes are prevalent and early criminal releases are not helping. Thanks to the restrictions of CA gun laws, it is illegal in CA to walk into your own home armed. Criminals don’t abide by these laws.

    7. If you check outlying counties, you’ll find CCW permits are issued much more frequently.

  27. Perhaps Stephen Layton should have visited Reeds or Milpitas Shooting Range if he really wanted an accurate portrayal of the different ethnic groups that participate in gun ownership, target shooting and exercising the 2nd Amendment Rights.

    Regarding my item 6, the San Jose Burglary Investigation unit is essentially non-existent due to democrats running the city, and low priority on proper staffing and salary of police officers. My wife works at home, if we’re the victim of ANOTHER (yes, a second) burglary, she has the right to defend her life. A firearm is her best defense. Why do liberals find this so problematic is beyond me.

  28. Rob,
    My understanding is that the 2nd Amendment allows in-home carry. San Francisco requires that firearms be housed in a safe unless on your person. CA does criminalize allowing a firearm to be seen from a public place such as a sidewalk or street.

    SCVRC offers a free (no hidden costs, donations appreciated) 22 caliber firearms experience on the 2nd Sat of each month at 2PM. The range is at 1580 S. 10th, San Jose. The group supports youth sports shooting programs for girl and boy scouts, 4H, and ROTC. See http://www.scvrc.com/10th_street.htm for more information.

  29. “baseball-hatted and bespectacled old white men look down on the range” would it make you feel better if they self identified as African american female liberals that drive a Prius?

    • Well at least it would be more realistic of the diversity at the range.Maybe he went during working hours and all he saw was retirees?