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Months ago, the California Rifle & Pistol Association heard from a member that Contra Costa County Sheriff David Livingston has some rather unique restrictions on the guns that his office will qualify for carry by residents in the county.

If you’re unfamiliar with California’s byzantine carry laws, applicants for a license must qualify with each specific firearm they intend to carry. Each handgun’s serial number appears on your carry license. Most counties will allow up to three firearms, but some limit you to only one. Sheriffs have wide latitude in what they will and won’t qualify for carry.

We were told that Sheriff Livingston won’t approve applicants if they attempt to qualify with a handgun that has a laser, red dot sight, or a pistol light attached (night sights are allowed), and found the page at the bottom of this post on the county’s web site. We wrote to ask the Sheriff for his rationale for these restrictions and this week we heard back from him.

Contra Costa County Sheriff David Livingston
Contra Costa County Sheriff David Livingston

Unfortunately, Sheriff Livingston won’t budge on this policy. He writes that he has a “Firearms Committee” he consults on these questions. He tells us the committee is made up of employees with a wide range of backgrounds, all of whom are firearms instructors. The committee recommended against changing the policy.

The reasons for excluding these accessories are (I summarize here, these aren’t quotes) . . .

1. Permittees could use inferior accessories that aren’t subject to vetting and could hinder the performance of the firearm.

2. Without proper training, the attachments can make a smooth weapon draw difficult, endangering the individual in a deadly force encounter.

3. The attachments make carried handguns harder to conceal.

Suffice it to say, this reasoning is meritless. These attachments aren’t an issue in the rest of California, or the rest of the country for that matter. If anyone has had a negative outcome in a defensive gun use situation due to an attachment, it certainly isn’t a common occurrence.

As to concealability, plenty of lights and lasers don’t even add to the length of the pistol and don’t affect the draw noticeably. There are scores of holsters available that are specifically made with lights, lasers, and red dots in mind to ensure solid retention and a good draw.

California concealed carry license
California carry license holders must qualify with the specific guns they intent to carry.

Plus, the banned attachments actually tend to enhance safety by helping to make sure the individual hits their attacker and only their attacker, particularly in dark environments.

The Contra Costa department also doesn’t allow single-action firearms to be carried, such as the very popular 1911 platform and its smaller variants.

This may be something we have to return to (legally speaking) in the future, after some other priorities are in the rearview mirror.

Here’s the page from the Contra Costa County Sheriff’s web site . . .


Konstadinos Moros is an Associate Attorney with Michel & Associates, a law firm in Long Beach that regularly represents the California Rifle & Pistol Association (CRPA) in its litigation efforts to restore the Second Amendment in California. You can find him on his Twitter handle @MorosKostas. To donate to CRPA or become a member, visit

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  1. All this is true but shaming the Sheriff for not allowing certain accessories is misguided. Even prior to recent court rulings Sheriff Livingston has been issuing CCWs. He’s one of the good guys. Go beat up on Sheriffs that are anti CCW.

  2. “He tells us the committee is made up of employees with a wide range of backgrounds, all of whom are firearms instructors.”

    By “employees” he means good, old fashioned, Soviet-style apparatchiks.
    Such a F’d up state. Not just the gun tyranny, but everything else. Weather is nice on the southern end, I’ll give you that.

    • I noticed that statement as well, but scrolled down here to mention that it’s weak sauce for the Sheriff to say he relies on a committee for guidance. In layman’s terms, that’s simply his way of partially deflecting blame for imposing such restrictions on applicants. Similar to how it’s difficult to sue LEOs for their actions because of their ability to blame their “training”.

      If the Sheriff received a dumb recommendation, he simply gets to play his Ace card if cornered and fire that committee for publicity’s sake. Fire them, tell his constituents he’s reconsidering his policy, and move on. Smoke and mirrors, people. Smoke and mirrors.

      Here in L.A. County, it was 8 months before I was even contacted by LASD for my CCW interview, and 12 months before receiving the permit. One of my friends waited 12 months just for interview, and another waited a whopping 17 months for just the first contact email to even schedule the interview…and he’s still waiting for it!

      Same as it ever was.

      • Are there any lawsuits in the pipeline to deal with such bullshit?

        And no lights seems double-stupid, since knowing what you are aiming at is literal ‘common-sense gun control’… 🙁

        • I believe so, but I would need to check to ensure I’m giving the right info (Peruta v San Diego?).

          Basically, CA doesn’t allow open carry, and claims heavy discretion against approving concealed. Plus the ridiculously high wait times and fees…it’s all blatant infringement, but I’m not sure how/why it hasn’t been knocked down in the same vein that our other more famous battles have been going (mag bans, AWB bans, ammo BGCs, et al).

          You see, if CA is forced to reinstate OC, then you would be able to carry any sidearm you own without CADOJ knowing about it. But with the CCW process, you must declare your sidearm so you can be tracked. Stupid.

      • Similar to how it’s difficult to sue LEOs for their actions because of their ability to blame their “training”.

        That didn’t work out for Derek Chauvin using the move he was trained to use by the department. That might be a special exception. We all knew he was going to hang, no matter what. The evil Regime hid the part of the story (until the revolution was underway) that showed Floyd in the patrol car, and saying he ate too many drugs, and that he couldn’t breathe before anyone’s knee was on him. It was an election year after all. Priorities.

        • That didn’t work out for Derek Chauvin using the move he was trained to use by the department.

          That might not be over…

      • Thanks, I can’t imagine the frustration living there.

        I’m in Texas and was in Southern Calif. last week for almost a week, no firearm with me. I wasn’t paranoid but was sure glad to get back home!

  3. Ask him why his deputies carry guns with red dots (some use lasers) on them and why the swat team uses lasers and red dots on their firearms.

  4. Gives cause to ponder where his stance on grip lasers offered by Crimson Trace® would be? A Crimson Trace® grip laser would not hinder a clean draw in any way whatsoever. If the sheriff has an issue with those, I’d have to tell him and his team of “professionals” what they are full of.

      • Since california doesn’t want people to carry, why is this sheriff concerned about anything hindering the draw etc? Seems they would rather a person not draw/carry.
        This is strictly a discouragement to carrying.

    • My G29 has a Lasermax guide rod laser… Wouldn’t even know it’s there til I push the switch, no interference, can’t turn on accidentally… Grip laser on the P90 and the 1911, neither one affects draw, grip or firing…

    • 1. Remove all intentions for agents of the government to Infringe upon your constitutional rights!!!

      • Walker, Apparently you think of Police as second class citizens. Resepectfully, I have to disagree, Everyone including police officers have rights. As to Qualified immunity, a police officer has this “coverage” as long as he is acting LAWFULLY in the performace of his duties, MOST jurisdictuins also indemnify the officers as long as they are acting according to policy and procedure in the performance of his duties, Sorry to burts your bubble.
        It seeems you would like to make police second hand citizens?

  5. Mmmmkaaay: Well, the 2nd amendment doesn’t say anything about red dots, lasers, lights, scopes, night sights… WTF you gonna do? SCOTUS will probably not mess that stuff…

  6. First, if you’re concealed, how would they know?
    Second, what makes him think he gets to decide how a person carries?

    So, older people with bad eyes don’t get to carry a firearm how they choose.

  7. It’s always funny how they just have to restrict something. Anything. No matter how nonsensical or pointless. They just have to.

  8. He is right about hanging crap on your gunms.
    Oh sure you can get special holsteins, it’s still harder to conceal.
    And I have more faith in iron sights remaining useful if a person were to drop the gunm, or rain, oil, ran over by an F150 leaking oil or during a nuclear strike.
    The iron sights are just better.
    Perhaps the good sheriff would Okay the 1911 if it had a safety trigger like a Gluck?

    • “Oh sure you can get special holsteins,…”

      Nice double-entendre, ‘Marsupial One’, you need to open a store, “Glucks & Holsteins -R US”… 😉

        • “Just don’t holster your gluk in a heifer Holstein…”

          Some like their mates on the ‘ample’ side… 😉

          “The bigger the cushion, the sweeter the push’in…”

  9. It’s all about controlling the peons. Don’t you all know he’s the sheriff, the master, the all-knowing, along with his tyrant minions. And the populace are HIS servants.

  10. I just looked up the specific location of Contra Costa County, California: it is part of the greater San Francisco Bay area. Such silliness is entirely predictable (for reasons that I am unable to articulate) coming from that area.

  11. Hmm. Combine all those restrictions with the 10rnd mag limit, and you’re guaranteed to be out gunned by the usual suspects who carry switched Glocks with extendo’s at a minimum.

    • And will require years long court battles to settle. All the while still in place. Which is exactly what tyrants like this plan on. Hoping that by the time it reaches the Supreme Court, the balance of power has shifted to support their ideology.

      • That is their best gambit yes. 5th circuit is making that increasingly uncomfortable and several others are getting dangerously close for all involved.

        • It’s been their strategy for the last 50. Using the courts and the Federal bureaucracy to invoke their ideology on society. In many cases without even passing legislation.

  12. Maybe he’s seen some of his “trained” officers shoot.

    I’ve seen police practicing fast draw with red dot miss the target at three yards.

  13. Qualify without the accessories, get permit, add accessories after the fact. Don’t brag about it on social media and move on with life.

    • Then you would have to remove said accessories after a DGU and before the police arrive, otherwise you would be carrying an unpermitted firearm, and subjected to the same penalties as carrying a firearm not listed on your permit.

      *The restrictions apply only if you are carrying where a permit is required, meaning it does not apply to home or carry at your own business or with permission of the owner.

        • “You’d only be “violating” something unconstitutionally made-up by someone with zero legislative authority.”

          Are you personally volunteering to be a test case?

          The state firearm orgs really need to get moving on this stuff…

        • I don’t think I could hire an attorney to defend that case without a second mortgage on my house. Fortunately I do not live in CoCoCounty, and they cannot enforce their limitations on CCWs issued by other counties. A holder is required to comply only with the limitations of the issuing agency, not any other agency.

        • P.S. But it may not make a whole lot of difference because SB2, our new carry law similar to NY’s, goes into effect on January 1, 2024 unless enjoined. Under the new law, it is practically impossible to carry anywhere in any urban area except in your car or walking down a sidewalk. At that point, having a CCW is essentially pointless.

        • Geoff,
          If by “test case” you mean “Willing to comply with state law, save my life, and explain that I didn’t care whether some guy thinks I should have a flashlight,” then sure.

          Mark N.,
          You probably hear this depressingly often, but there’s always the prospect of escaping to the US.

        • “If by “test case” you mean “Willing to comply with state law, save my life, and explain that I didn’t care whether some guy thinks I should have a flashlight,” then sure.”

          No, I meant are you willing to get arrested, convicted, and sentenced to prove a point?

        • I understand the question, and as a general rule no. I comply with federal law, and even put up with the CSSR’s laws the whole time I was stationed there.

          OTOH how, in your estimation, would one get “convicted” of violating the whim of a non-legislator? I don’t think even CA has “Disobeying an Uppity Servant” on its books. Not to mention the fact that no one even knows, until and unless it succeeds in saving your life.

        • Florida has nice weather too.

          just sayin’

          And before anyone says ‘muh family or muh job” there are many of who already moved from Blue Holes (like Chicago in my case) and left everything, friends/family/job behind.

          Florida is not perfect and our Governor is a RINO PO5 but it sure as heck is better than Kali or anywhere in North Yankeestan.

        • “OTOH how, in your estimation, would one get “convicted” of violating the whim of a non-legislator?”

          I must not be communicating something clearly –

          This thread started when Mark N. commented that one would have to remove the laser from one’s carry piece after they had a DGU, as it is apparently illegal to have a laser on your carry piece.

          So, that implies a criminal charge with potentially a prison sentence if caught with one on your piece after a DGU.

          So, it’s not “OTOH how, in your estimation, would one get “convicted” of violating the whim of a non-legislator?”, it’s the real prospect of a prison sentence.

          I ask again, would you like to be the test case for getting busted with one on you?

          The fact that it will likely be determined not constitutional later is irrelevant, if your ass is sitting in prison.

          Would you, *personally* like to ‘Take one for the team’ and rot in jail to prove a point?

        • To answer your final question succinctly, no; again, I proved MY point by GTFO that accursed place the moment I was not under orders to be there.

          But, the thread started with an article about what a sheriff “won’t allow” – the only thing in the whole discussion that could make it “apparently illegal”.

          However, even in the CSSR, “illegal” still means “against the law“, i.e. something passed by the Legislature and signed by the Governor. Thus, what would one even be charged with if the only thing he violated was some guy’s whim? With no state preemption, it is not outside the realm of possibility that a city or county actually passed an ordnance, but that is not stated (or even implied) in the article.

        • Administrators like to lord over people because they can. Local planning departments are often anti-development which means they’re against expanding the tax base. That is, unless you’re a VIP, in which case they’ll roll out the red carpet for you.

        • Dude,
          I grew up with this exact sort of petty tyrant syndrome. That’s why laws need to draw clear, black-and-white lines with zero discretion delegated to tempt petty tyrants.

  14. Livingston was Never one of the good ones, period. Being a resident of Contra Costa County, Pittsburg from 1997-2008, Brentwood 2008-2022, getting a concealed carry permit was available to only a select few. Livingston made that quite clear. Unless of course you’re a bad guy, then GTG. The CCC is a war zone, and sheep are easier to corral when scared. So glad I left for greener pastures out south and east.

  15. I’m a long-time CCC resident. Contra Costa County did not issue CCWs until they were forced by the SCOTUS decision. Other county sheriffs were already issuing permits for “self-defense”. The process to get my permit took almost a year. It cost almost $500.

    Sheriff Livingston is not one of the “good guys”.

    • “The process to get my permit took almost a year. It cost almost $500.”

      A lawsuit is needed, as it’s unconstitutional to charge a fee for a constitutional right…

  16. Assuming the firearm its self is legal in California and has not been modified in such a manner as to make it not legal in California:

    This is an ‘opinion’ of this sheriff. Under California law he doesn’t actually have the authority to ‘ban’ the use of such items. His authority under California law only extends to granting a permit or not for carry of the gun its self in terms of ‘qualification as a prohibited person or not a prohibited person’, it does not allow him the latitude to ‘invent’ what ‘qualifying or disqualifying’ factors should be applied outside of that for the firearm its self and none of these ‘banned items’ are a ‘disqualifying factor’ for firearms use or carry under California law (and they do not modify the firearm its self).

    For example, laser sights for firearms are not prohibited for firearms in California, nor are red dot sights or weapon lights. In effect this sheriff is creating ‘defacto law’.

    • IMHO … if the firearm its self is legal and not modified (these items do not modify the firearms its self), and given that the sheriff prohibited items (lasers, lights, dot sight type optics) are legal under California law for use on a firearm … This sheriff has in effect, intentionally or not, created a ‘subjective opinion may issue’ regime and such is prohibited under Bruen.

      • I’m not saying the sheriff is necessarily intentionally doing this as a means to deter carry and ownership or to not issue permits… but his ‘council’ of UN-elected “Firearms Committee” people may be pressuring him and purposely mis-advising to deter carry and ownership or to not issue permits.

        This seems to be something that California is doing to put forth all its ‘policies’ – installing ‘advisory committees’ of unelected people behind the scenes to be the ones actually making the decisions to pressure elected officials who don’t toe their line.

      • “This sheriff has in effect, intentionally or not, created a ‘subjective opinion may issue’ regime and such is prohibited under Bruen.”

        The only thing Bruen accomplished was to give gun owners a pathway to prove restrictions are unconstitutional; the actual laws were not repealed.

    • “In effect this sheriff is creating ‘defacto law’.”

      Indeed. However….

      The punishment will be the same, which is likely the intended outcome; owner will have to prove innocence.

  17. This would seem to amount to discrimination against farsighted individuals who are unable to focus on the front sight and use lasers as an aiming aid.

    • “This would seem to amount to discrimination against farsighted individuals who are unable to focus on the front sight and use lasers as an aiming aid.”

      I like where you’re going on that, disability and all, they could counter with if you can’t see the target clearly it’s not responsible fire the gun in public.

      The counter to that would be, the disabled have civil rights as well. And, we could use the vast powers of the Americans with Disability Act (ADA) against them.

      I kinda like that angle, use the Leftist Scum’s own legislation to be the rope to hang them… 🙂

  18. Some people are saying this guy is the best that california has. As a person who was born and raised in california I’m glad I left. For a real free state.


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