A right delayed is a right denied.
Waiting over two years for a concealed carry permit is insane. But that’s the wait time residents of Riverside County, California should expect when they submit their application, according to a recent article in Desert Sun (DS).
Why does it take so long? There are two answers. The real answer. And then the answer the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department gave the DS.
The real answer is the county’s May-Issue system. It’s garbage. To obtain a permit, one needs to schedule an in-person interview with the concealed carry unit (which consists of two deputies, two part-time employees, and an assistant). If he or she passes the interview, the applicant will need to complete a safety course and qualify with each weapon he or she plans to carry. Fingerprinting is also required.
Due to all this red tape, the number of applications keeps piling up. The obvious thing to do would be to switch to a Shall-Issue system. Ideally, it’d be a Constitutional-Carry system. But this is California we’re talking about. Baby steps.
Stan Sniff, the Riverside County Sheriff, told the DS that the reason for the backlog was due to the lack of manpower as a result of budget limits. What a joke.
“I think it is important that we keep issuing CCWs, but the budget really limits my ability to throttle up and handle the increased workload,” Sniff said. “Just holding our own, at this point, is about the best we can do.”
The paper described him as a “pro-gun rights Republican.” Not sure that “pro-gun” shoe fits.
Riverside County has 2 million residents. Only 3,000 have permits. Now that’s almost double the number from two years ago, when there were 1,700 active permits, but that’s still pathetic.
The current backlog is around 500 to 600 applications. Sniff reiterated that processing those in a more timely manner is contingent upon an increase in funding.
“Only when these budget issues lighten up for us, a lot of that two-year backlog will end up vaporizing,” Sniff said. It’s almost as if he’s ransoming one’s right to bear arms for more taxpayer dollars.
There is one way for residents to shorten the wait. That is if they can prove that they are in danger. Ana Sofia Miramontes, a Jurupa Valley resident, was able to skip ahead because she has been harassed by a stalker.
“Waiting two years was a scary thought,” Miramontes said. “I really need that firearm today.”
Unless you can provide documents showing you have a stalker or similar threat, you’re going to end up like 56-year-old Steve Perkio. He’s 20 months into his wait.
“If something happens in the meantime, this is a Second Amendment opportunity to protect myself that I simply don’t have,” said Perkio.
Frustrated, Perkio contacted the sheriff for answers. Sniff gave him the same line about budget constraints.
“I appreciated his response,” Perkio said. “But it’s still very frustrating when criminals are carrying illegally and law abiding citizens have their hands tied.”
The situation in Riverside Country is completely unacceptable. Citizens should demand that the county switch to a more streamlined issuing system. And, if sheriff Sniff is as pro-gun as he claims to be, he ought to be the one leading the charge to change it.
Sniff’s job is to protect and serve the public. There’s no doubt that includes ensuring that responsible citizens have the ability to defend themselves.