Los Angeles County Sheriff Releases Inmates While Warning Against Gun Buying

Governmental responses to the COVID-19 outbreak have varied across the country, but Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva is taking a new approach: release incarcerated criminals and discourage law-abiding citizens from purchasing firearms.

In a press conference on Monday, Villanueva told reporters that his department is doing everything it can to protect the incarcerated population while also discouraging LA County residents from purchasing firearms.

“We’ve been doing quite a bit to minimize the impact of our custody population,” he said. “Our population within our jail is a vulnerable population just by virtue of who they are and where they’re located. So, we’re protecting that population from potential exposure.”

“Buying guns is a bad idea,” he continued, later in the press conference. “You have a lot of people now who are at home, normally they’re not, cabin fever sets in, you got a crowded environment, weapons are not a good mix.”

SEE ALSO: ‘Seems like the World Has Gone Mad’: Ammo Shortages Rise Amid Coronavirus Outbreak

The county has so far reduced the incarcerated population by over 600 from 17,076 people in custody on February 28 to 16,459 on March 16.

They’ve done so using a variety of strategies, Villanueva said. They’ve released inmates who have less than 30 days left on their sentence, and they’ve kept the population from rising by directing officers to “cite and release everybody they can.”

They’ve reduced the number of arrests in the county from 300 per day to 60 per day, and they’ve raised the aggregate bail amount to book from $25,000 to $50,000.

“Anything under that amount we can cite and release, even warrants,” Villanueva said.

Crimes that come with a bail of less than $50,000 include, according to the 2020 LA County Bail Schedule:

  • Concealed weapon on person or in vehicle;
  • Possession of a loaded firearm;
  • Concealable firearms, ownership or possession by felon, addict; outstanding warrant
  • Unlawful possession of ammunition;
  • Assault with deadly weapon, other than firearm;
  • Assault with force likely to produce great bodily injury;
  • Theft of automobile;
  • Pimping;
  • Indecent exposure
  • Involuntary manslaughter;

SEE ALSO: Mayor of New Orleans’ Declaration of Emergency Allows Her to Ban Sale and Transport of Firearms

Crimes at the $50,000 mark include:

  • Looting;
  • Assault with a firearm;
  • Second degree robbery;
  • Vehicular manslaughter;
  • Battery with serious bodily injury;
  • Arson, other property;

Villanueva’s comments haven’t had the desired effect. According to the Los Angeles Times, residents are purchasing guns and ammunition in record numbers, many of whom cite fear of social unrest as a reason for their purchases.

The news that the LA County sheriff’s office is doing everything it can to keep criminals on the streets is unlikely to calm those fears.

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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 jordan@gunsamerica.com.

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  • Bob Bacon March 22, 2020, 1:55 am

    Semitism is anti White. Coronahoax is an attack on white nations.

    • Ruff rider March 22, 2020, 7:14 pm

      Lol ok david duke

  • Andrew N. March 21, 2020, 2:14 pm

    LA has already proven their inability to deal with riots ( Rodney King and Watts riots come to mind) and have no interest in protecting or serving anyone but themselves if things go south. They have already shown their inability to protect “The People”, but don’t want “The People” to be able to protect themselves, Sounds like California, New York, New Orleans, and other Libtard run places already have their plans in place: Run and hide until it all blows over, Screw the citizens!

    • Ruff rider March 22, 2020, 7:15 pm

      Spoken like a true coward

  • Rdw March 21, 2020, 9:05 am

    It’s a sad thing when one lib tard has taken it upon themselves to protect criminals and put law abiding citizens in harm’s way.

    Spending many years in the mission field I’ve seen the middle class rubbed out of every city. I mean whats the use of being rich when you can’t look down on the poor? Right?

    Switzerland has gun policies perfected. Like it or not. Proven statistic. More guns in the right hands reduces crime.

    Most, and I say most not all. Most criminals are cowards and do not want shot committing a crime

  • Beachhawk March 21, 2020, 4:01 am

    I wonder when the Los Angeles County Sheriff got his degree in clinical psychology and if he discarded his common sense at the same time? If I understand him correctly he wants to dump his jailed thugs out on the street and then forbid the law abiding public from buying weapons to protect themselves. The next step will be a covid-19 emergency order to shutter all of the gun stores and then never let them reopen.

  • SteveO March 20, 2020, 7:09 pm

    Yea. I’m sure that they will listen to him about not buying a gun. They’ll have one 60 moms. After getting out

  • Ej harbet March 20, 2020, 6:35 pm

    At what point do you decide that your government is more dangerous than most violent criminals? Im honestly rooting for the virus to feast on this nation! Lets hear from the true judge! I think we will all get a dose and im certain ill die from it but let me live long enough to watch these unamerican scum enjoy the wrath.

  • A. Martinez March 20, 2020, 1:10 pm

    There’s your next politician running for office.

  • Eric Bragg March 20, 2020, 12:40 pm

    Yes, this guy is very wise.
    In fact most people who smoke crack and do the devil’s bidding are very wise.
    Wise, indeed!
    Let’s all lay our firearms on the front porch and let the bad guys have them.
    Then they’ll feel better, leave us alone, and we can all live in peace.
    This kind of thinking is what makes the liberals happy, which is what I live for.

  • Peter Brown March 20, 2020, 12:22 pm

    It is clear and it has been clear for a long time that anything out of the people’s republic of kalifornica is nuts.
    I bailed many years ago and Only regret leaving Conservative loved ones who could not escape over the border.

  • wampuscat March 20, 2020, 12:12 pm

    In times of civil unrest I self-identify as a Rooftop Korean.

    • a11four1 May 3, 2021, 11:12 am

      wampuscat March 20, 2020, 12:12 pm

      “In times of civil unrest I self-identify as a Rooftop Korean.”

      Great idea, and how will they prove otherwise?
      1) Seems no end to how many potential ‘identifies as’ we can expect materialize.
      2) It’s no trick googling photos aplenty with genuine ‘rooftop Korean’, I submit exhibit “A”.
      3) Compare that to little more than cosplay of made-up identities.

      Sense absolute silence in the courtroom; prosecutor, judge, the audience, especially the jury. All but the media………

      Liberals hate it, turning their very own tables [aka agenda] on them.

  • Keith March 20, 2020, 11:51 am

    Maybe he should leave his gun at the station and follow the recommendations he is giving to the people in his district.

  • Jim March 20, 2020, 11:13 am

    Are you kidding me? They are ‘worried’ that overcrowding the inmates can lead them to be more violent and then use the same excuse for the general public of law abiding citizens to ban the sale and possession of firearms! No way Jose! If they are going to release those who rightfully belong in jail because they are bad folks, then I am going to use my 2nd Amendment Rights to keep my family and myself safe from these bad guys!

    • Alman67 December 4, 2020, 9:47 am

      Overcrowding is not the issue, they are worried about the criminals, who do not care about our rights to live in peace, or live at all, getting covid-19. Criminals are in jail because they infringed upon other’s rights. They have no rights other than an absence of cruel and unusual punishment. What about the cruel and unusual punishment some of these criminals cause others that put them in jail to begin with? The politicians are too worried about criminals rights and lawsuits when they should be worried about the tax paying citizens that pay their salaries. I do not believe in defunding the police, but I do believe the police need to do their jobs or lose their jobs.

  • Steve March 20, 2020, 10:56 am

    Every Sheriff since Sherman Block, and his equally great predecessor, Pete Pitchess, have been anti-freedom, anti-2A tools of the Left. Lee Baca and now Villanueva are freedom’s bad nightmare. I’m ashamed of what these unAmerican tools have done to the legacy of my bosses Pitchess and Block. LASD was once a crown jewel of great law enforcement. Now it, like LAPD, is a leftist wet dream.

  • Mauser6863 March 20, 2020, 10:21 am

    Sure, California is ALL Good and the Sheriff and LAPD have a stellar reputation during emergencies, like the Rodney King Riots, the Watts Riots and the East LA Riots.

    If citizens don’t need firearms, the Sheriff should set an example and disarm himself and his family. After-all, despite the uniform, he is an elected politician, not a street cop. Maybe he should give up his county provided limo and driver/body guard too.

    So glad I moved away from this S-hole State 8 years ago. Best thing I have ever done for myself and my family.

  • kb31416 March 20, 2020, 9:19 am

    Sounds like a target rich environment coming to a town near you, at least if you live in CA or some similar jurisdiction.
    And pity the fools that were anti-gun before, but now want a firearm. I expect that they will be disappointed by the reality check that is coming their way when they find out that their propaganda about ease of purchasing guns is found to be BS. They can stew in their own stench as far as I am concerned.

  • Big Al 45 March 20, 2020, 9:11 am

    What an asinine statement about the mix thing. So, are we to believe that this man is now a mental professional???
    And if this buffoon is going to talk about mixes, what about the mix of just released criminals and people stuck at home, where many criminals will be able to do them harm?
    This Sheriff is a complete moron!

  • Mark A Gutsmiedl March 20, 2020, 8:03 am

    California says that they have to crack down on unlawful firearm possession but they are going to let felons with firearms go?! What the hell? Assault with deadly weapon other than firearm. They don’t think these people are dangerous and should be off the streets, especially at a time when essentials are getting hard to get ahold of? How about putting the message that with this virus going on, if you don’t want to be put in tight quarters with others, DON’T BREAK THE LAW!

  • Michael J March 20, 2020, 7:24 am

    So that’s their plan: Releasing criminals and disarming society. What could possibly go wrong?

  • Brick March 20, 2020, 7:10 am

    The attampt to make the pandemic worse by flooding the areas with illegal criminals and local, seems to be an engineered way to use martial law when the criminals begin assaulting people again and citizens defend themselves with firearms. I’m on to you liberal judges and city councils. Got my eye on you when this all goes south.

  • Blasted Cap March 20, 2020, 7:03 am

    The way I read that is there are on average 250 unnecessary arrests per day then. If they can be cited and released now why not before? Oh that’s right, quotas and they paid by Government for every arrest and subsidized for every person in custody.

    • Jim March 20, 2020, 11:21 am

      Even though I think the LA Sheriff is making a terrible mistake by releasing prisoners and disarming the law-a-biding public I HAVE to stick up for the Law Enforcement Officers making arrests. There is NO SUCH THING AS A QUOTA! We make no money by arresting more people, it actually costs us more to record them and incarcerate and feed them and keep them safe from each other than we could possibly make in fines etc. Same goes for traffic tickets. I am a retired LEO myself so I know this to be true.

  • RayJN March 20, 2020, 5:18 am

    He his worried about guns and “cabin fever” but not releasing criminals on the unarmed public. And how is releasing criminals reducing the spread of COVID-19 ?

    • a11four1 May 3, 2021, 11:18 am

      Not to mention, despite long after the fact datewise; is there logic in release of criminals no matter how soon eventual scheduled release was set to occur………..wait for it…….


  • Bobs your uncle March 18, 2020, 5:16 pm

    Calif. has some of the strictest gun laws anywhere, what could go wrong? The gun laws make everyone a criminal simplifying prosecution and future confiscation, if you voted for these commies I hope it works out for ya.

  • Walleye March 18, 2020, 2:05 pm

    “Buying guns is a bad idea,” says the sherrif, who carries one all day…

    • Mark N. March 20, 2020, 2:24 am

      Both the Sheriff (from several iterations past to the current one) and the Chief of the LAPD (same story) are anti-gun zealots who believe that more guns on the streets mean more gun crimes. Funny thing, a State Assemblyman from Sacramento who is pissed that the Sacramento County sheriff is “essentially shall issue” for CCWs ordered a state audit of the CCWs issued by Sacramento, LA and San Diego. Guess what? The audit found that LA has one of the lowest rate if issuance in the whole state (San Francisco with 2 issued to reserve deputies is first), and the only people getting them were police officers and movie stars. The audit also found that the LA authorities were requiring applicants do more than is required by state law, which is illegal. That was two years ago. Nothing has changed.

      • Tim W February 21, 2021, 7:25 pm

        They must not count the CCW that Harris got over a weekend last year with the Glock 19 she didn’t have to endure a waiting period for.

    • eg March 20, 2020, 6:04 am

      The demographic in the city of L.A. and other surrounding cities need no convincing or prodding. They’re good little serfs and willingly go along with socialist forms of governments. Most come from socialist countries where only LE and criminals have guns. The people don’t even resist this injustice and perversion of justice in their countries of origin. They are the perfect group for democrats. The more of them, the better. Many or most don’t care about freedom and much less self defense. Big daddy gubment is very reliable for everything including self defense. That is the mindset there and has been at least since the mid 60s.

      • Mauser6863 March 20, 2020, 10:27 am

        Good Point. The future of California is Rio de Janeiro, Brazil today, mega wealthy in gated communities, armed guard protected residences and armored vehicles to drive through Starbucks and to the Spa. Then there are the ultra poor, scavenging through trash to find food and other needed items.

        Socialism is really the modern version of the Middle Ages.

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