California Sheriff Under Investigation for Pay-to-Play Concealed Carry Permits

Sheriff Laurie Smith has won every election since her first campaign in 1998. (Photo: County of Santa Clara)

A high-profile sheriff in California is being investigated by Santa Clara County law enforcement for what appears to be a pay-to-play system in which concealed carry permits were issued to those who contributed to the sheriff’s campaign.

The Santa Clara County district attorney’s office last month raided the San Jose headquarters of Sheriff Laurie Smith, California’s first female sheriff who was first elected in 1998. According to a recent report from the San Francisco Chronicle, investigators also served search warrants on two of the sheriff’s higher-ranking supervisors.

“I know people do approach her for favors, for special privileges, especially during campaigns,” a veteran county law enforcement official told San Jose Inside, whose reporters first broke the story. “But she always had a protector. You know what I mean? She’d have someone else do these things for her.”

That protection appears to be falling apart as law enforcement and the media zero in on the firms and individuals who may have received coveted California concealed-carry permits in exchange for campaign contributions.

At the top of the list is security company AS Solution. The firm protects high-level executives from Silicon Valley giants like Facebook and Google, and public records show that a company manager made a $45,000 donation to Smith’s campaign in 2018. The manager has no prior history of campaign donations in the county. The Chronicle reports that the company has been contacted by investigators.

SEE ALSO: Federal Judge Dismisses Challenge to California’s AWB, Says Second Amendment Does Not Protect ‘Assault Weapons’

The Chronicle also cross-referenced campaign contribution records with an older list of Santa Clara County gun-permit holders. The newspaper found the names of more than two dozen people who have supported Smith’s personal campaign committees or the Public Safety Alliance committee with donations between $100 and $8,000 over the past decade.

Smith has not responded to media requests for comment, but her personal attorney, Rich Robinson, called the accusations “absurd” considering the “stinginess in which the sheriff gives out” the permits.

AS Solution told the Chronicle that it is “cooperating fully with the Santa Clara County district attorney’s office, and we have launched our own internal investigation into this matter.”

“AS Solution employees are required to obey the laws, rules and regulations of all countries where we conduct business, and any allegations of improper conduct by employees are treated very seriously,” the statement said. “We will take appropriate action based on the outcome of our investigation.”

SEE ALSO: Don’t Plan On Buying Ammo In California – New Law Is Total SNAFU

Santa Clara County has refused to provide information on applicants for concealed carry licenses, so it is impossible to know how many AS Solution employees, if any, received them in that county.

California’s “good cause” requirement makes obtaining a concealed carry permit almost impossible in some counties. Local law enforcement has broad discretion on what constitutes a “good cause,” so some sheriffs issue thousands of permits while others issue virtually none. For a private security company to operate in Smith’s county, it would need to ensure the smooth issuance of permits from Smith’s office.

***Buy and Sell on GunsAmerica! All Local Sales are FREE!***

About the author: Jordan Michaels has been reviewing firearm-related products for over six years and enjoying them for much longer. With family in Canada, he’s seen first hand how quickly the right to self-defense can be stripped from law-abiding citizens. He escaped that statist paradise at a young age, married a sixth-generation Texan, and currently lives in Tyler. Got a hot tip? Send him an email at

{ 15 comments… add one }
  • codenamedave September 21, 2019, 7:14 pm

    “For a private security company to operate in Smith’s county, it would need to ensure the smooth issuance of permits from Smith’s office.”

    Not exactly, they can operate unarmed or openly armed in uniform whilst in public, or they can conceal carry on private property with the consent of the property/business owner. Also, if they have a business presence in another location where they could get permits, those permits would be good in any county in the P.R.K.

  • Brian September 21, 2019, 3:41 pm

    Not a surprise, one must remember that all sheriffs are also politicians first and therefore liars and thieves. The “law enforcement” part of the job is just a sideline/fantasy job for them.

  • Gouchybear September 20, 2019, 6:01 pm

    There was a sheriff of Contra Costa County who did the same thing, and it was no secret.

  • Rangemaster11B September 20, 2019, 5:31 pm

    That’s the way it has been in the Democratic People’s Republic of Kalifornia for some time, more in the coastal counties than inland.

  • Patrick September 20, 2019, 3:13 pm

    If politicians had nothing to sell, people wouldn’t have to buy them. This sort of thing used to happen in Kansas City (Wyandotte County) Kansas. The State did not issue concealed carry permits. Sheriffs in Wyandotte, Johnson, Sedgwick and Shawnee Counties all handed out “Special Deputy” cards to cronies, contributors and other prominent individuals who supported them.

    Kansas now has Constitutional Carry, which closed off at least that opportunity for corruption.

  • Mauser6863 September 20, 2019, 1:22 pm

    BUT, BUT, Facebook, Goggle and Microsoft Executives’ lives really matter more than the rest of us great unwashed masses. Perhaps we can teach school children to throw themselves in front of these executives in case of any danger, so these important people will always be safe from harm. GOD Save the Kings.


  • russ September 20, 2019, 12:13 pm

    This is nothing new….she has been doing this since 2011, they all know about it, and nobody stopped her

  • Peter Brown September 20, 2019, 12:04 pm

    Say it isn’t so! This, in the people’s republic of kalif??
    Ol laurie is innocent until proven guilty but if this is a smear campaign, it appears to be a very good one.

  • Kole September 20, 2019, 11:10 am

    It’s no different in Santa Barbara county. Sheriff Bill Brown is a dirt bag. He only gives them to his buddies and most likely the highest bidder. There was an investigation about 4 years ago from a local news paper guy. Needless to say they ruined his career after the article was posted. It really sucks that the left has completely ruined California for anyone who just wants to be American. There are tons of great people here, but we are completely out numbered by the border Invaders and the left wing nut jobs.

  • SuperG September 20, 2019, 10:20 am

    If this is true, it is a slap on the face to the remaining law enforcement officers who still have integrity. It must be hard for them to uphold the law while they look around and see their state deteriorate into madness and mayhem.

  • Quig September 20, 2019, 9:51 am

    She’s listed on her website as a Republican.

    • T1zymrgst September 21, 2019, 12:09 pm

      Corruption is corruption. It matters not what political party a corrupt official is affiliated with.
      IF Kalifornia were to honor and respect the U.S. Bill of Rights, the state would not infringe on the right of the individual to keep and bear arms. That is what Patrick, above, is getting at. Constitutional Carry.
      No law shall be made to infringe upon the right of the people to keep and bear arms. To me, that automatically gives the people the right to – at minimum – openly carry firearms and other weapons. Perhaps an argument may be made about carrying concealed weapons, but then a state begins to wander into the territory of infringement of the people’s right. Once distinctions are made, some entity will begin to latch on to the power or authority to deem who can carry concealed or not. THAT is when unscrupulous authorities wield their power with corrupt avarice.

  • Mike Wilson September 20, 2019, 8:39 am

    CCW in any Leftist/Liberal Democrat controlled area is never done fairly. Maryland also has a long history of jerking people around for years trying to get CCW permits. They will regect them if you forget to put a period at the end of a sentence, keep your filing fees, make you refile and pay again. I knew 3 people who moved to Pennsylvania because they got tired of Maryland’s B.S. All 3 were able to get CCW in PA almost immediately. CCW needs to be made 50 State wide for First Responders/Fire/Military/Police/Teachers/Veterans who are willing to go thru the training. All of these different rules for different States makes no sense.

    • codenamedave September 21, 2019, 7:04 pm

      “First Responders/Fire/Military/Police/Teachers/Veterans” – Because some are more equal than others.

  • perlcat September 20, 2019, 7:51 am

    This is what the Left is all about. If they control the society with multiple contradicting laws, they can easily monetize their office. The more restrictive the laws, the more profitable selling exceptions is.

Leave a Comment

Send this to a friend