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Me and my best-metal-friend

It’s that time again. Time to renew my CCW permit. I have to retake a four-hour class and re-qualify with the exact firearm I wish to conceal. I can qualify with up to three guns. No more. Why? Because California. This biennial renewal is a hassle. It’s expensive and time-consuming. But it’s not as bad as it could be. Our Sheriff is a good man who believes in the right to carry a gun. Good for him. Still not so good for me. It still bothers me that . . .

I have to pay $50 to get the government’s permission to exercise the “bear” part of my right to “keep and bear arms.”

At the risk of stating the obvious, criminals don’t subject themselves to this kind of government scrutiny. Why should I? A criminal won’t give the State of California a palm print to keep on file along with every single finger print from all ten digits. But I do.

Every two years, I question whether or not I’ll renew my permit. But I don’t debate this long. I always renew.

It has something to do with self-defense, defense of my children and defense against tyranny. But truth be told, I’ve internalized those arguments. I simply cannot stand not to have a gun on me. It’s a part of me now. I would no more leave the house without my gun than I’d leave the house without my wallet and keys.


Luckily, Lassen County has very few “gun-free” zones. My daughter goes to a private pre-school. The only place I would have to disarm would be the Post Office and county government buildings. I use FedEx and I try not to darken door of the county on official business.

So, I picked up my paperwork from the Sheriff’s office (not a “gun-free” zone) and filled out the 10-page questionnaire/information sheet and scheduled my class. I will remain armed. I will get a fresh and new small piece of paper (no picture, not laminated) that I can put in my wallet listing the three guns the state will allow me to conceal.

But the paper rankles as much as it reassures. It’s a reminder that I am not a free citizen, able to exercise a right guaranteed me by the U.S. Constitution. Now that I’m a writer for The Truth About Guns, exploring the issue confronting The People of the Gun in The Golden State, I’m not sure how I’ll feel about the class this time around. Watch this space.

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    • And it was interesting for those of us who care. I suppose it gives me a bit of an appreciation for my state, where my permit lasts for 5 years and requires no classes, but I still feel the same about the lack of freedom.

    • You posted a comment, so you contributed to TTAG’s click count, made it worth your time to express your opinion and got us a post closer to the 2 million post gun giveaway! Thanks for that last one at least.

    • As a former resident of the Golden State, I found the story interesting. I didn’t know about the three named-gun limitation, nor the biannual renewal. On that level alone it was worthy and informative. Especially given the perception that folks such as you – legally carrying gun owners in California – are the snipe of the gun world!

      (as in snipe-hunting, aka mythical beasts)

      • Actually there is no three gun limit, you can list as many as you want. You have to qualify with a course of fire on each.

        • No there IS a gun limit in CA. …. You Are Wrong!!! (I hate people typing BS and not knowing their ass from a hole in the ground).

          Though some counties will do 4 most often but some do 3. … But don’t be an fooled into thinking ANYWHERE in CA. will let you have as many guns on a permit as you want. (face-palm)

        • I asked the sheriff bout this when I renewed (I’m also a california resident).

          There is no state rule that it be 3 guns. Its a county i.e. sheriff call.

          My county uses the 3 gun limit. Others do not.

          amusingly, the reason many counties have a 3 gun limit is because there is only 3 lines at the bottom of the license. Other counties just put them other firearms on the back of license or on separate paper.

          Chris is incorrect.

        • Chris, you are wrong and Kyle is right. There is no STATE LAW limit. However, you cannot carry a firearm not listed on your license, and the front of the license has only enough room to list three guns. Consequently, MOST sheriffs will limit you to no more than three, while others will list additional weapons on the reverse.

        • The gun limit is by issuing authority, different counties have different limits. Most counties limit you to three listed guns that are factory stock (grips and sights are often allowed to be changed but in particular, trigger modifications are what are frowned upon). The guns are listed by type and serial number, you can only carry the listed gun(s).

        • My county allows up to ten. You do have to qualify, but you do not have to qualify with the guns on your permit. I live in Kern county.

    • @Anner – – I disagree. I found it interesting. But thank you for taking the time to provide thoughtful, constructive feedback.

      @ Sara – thanks for sharing. I look forward to reading more about your CCW journey.

    • I found the article informative as to what is going on in California. CA seems to be a testing ground for terrible ideas and legislation. It is good see what may be coming our way.

  1. Still better than up here in Canada, but still worse than down there on the rest of the states

    • Maybe one of these days someone in Ottawa will make ATCs shall issue. Maybe someday someone who isn’t rabidly anti-gun will be appointed CFO in my province. And perhaps, on the eve of such a day, the Civil Aviation office will issue an advisory to be wary of flying swine.

  2. I feel your pain-I’m from Illinois. Everything here is a pain. Hang in there-I wish my daughter-in-law was like you instead of pretending her non-armed husband(my son) was protecting her and my grandkids…she also thinks her marshal arts mean something without bullets…

    • Maybe you should work on your non-armed son instead of her. Husband’s gotta take the lead.

      • She gets it from him.Her dad lived on a farm,had guns and hunted. Lost cause in left-wing Maryland…+ he’s 40 and an ex-soldier who spies for DoD…

  3. I live in Santa Clara County and am not a member of the secretive, shadowy, Sheriff’s Advisory Board. This is an outfit that raises funding for the Sheriff’s pet projects and only few are known. It is believed that nobody but members of this fundraising group have access to CCW.

  4. It must be a pain dealing with all those hoops to jump through to renew. Having said that … at least you get to carry. Where I am located they don’t give them out unless you are “special”. Something is wrong when your location in the state determines whether or not you are allowed to carry.

    • Something is wrong when your location determines whether or not you are allowed to carry.

      Fixed it for you.

  5. Also from CA. Alameda county. You get frustrated every 2 years at renewal. I get frustrated every day because I will never have the chance to get or renew a ccw.

    • Here Here.

      Incorporated Sonoma County. Not going to get mine without Peruta. Finger crossed.

      I’m Just Cross.

    • +3. I too live in a coastal gun-free county. I literally have a better chance of winning the lottery than getting a CCW – my local Sheriff simply refuses to consider issuing them.

      • I am in Monterey county…you have to take a psych and a course….not cheap and then you get denied. …

        • Not anymore! I am in Monterey County as well. Started my process in February and picked up my CCW in November. New Sheriff got rid of the psych.

    • Just move you wankers!
      Surprised no one spouted that yet. Jk
      I’m here in beloved CA too

    • Move farther north. Sacramento has been shall issue for a number of years, but the counties surrounding it are not except to the south. Shasta and Butte are shall issue, Siskiyou is mostly shall issue (meaning they look at you a bit harder before clearing you), Humboldt is virtual shall issue as is Del Norte. Lassen is shall issue, and I think Modoc is as well, but I don’t know. Glenn probably is as well, but again I don’t know. Trinity is virtual shall issue as well, but hardly anyone lives there, and in most places you don’t need it (since it is mostly forested), so there aren’t too many issued. I don’t know about Tehama County, but since everything around it is, and since it has a gang infestation in Red Bluff, I suspect it is virtually shall issue as well.

      The real issues up here are the training requirements. The renewal is only a four hour class, but an original license is 16 hours, half classroom and half range time. The license runs around $150, another $100 if the county requires a psych eval (very common in the “no issue” counties), and the class is another $150-$200, plus a couple of boxes of ammo for each gun you want to qualify. I think there is a benefit to classroom time as to the state’s laws on carrying and proper self-defense, and of course California laws are ridiculously convoluted, but a renewal every two years is ridiculous.

      • Tehama County is very receptive to CCW. Previous Sheriff made it a point to ensure that county residents who were not prohibited were made aware that they should consider CCW. Current Sheriff has continued that practice.

        Red Bluff residents have to deal with RBPD’s revolving door of Chiefs. Don’t think any of them have been CCW friendly. Glad I’m out in the county.

  6. So when will we see the inevitable “Leave CA or you’re part of the problem” comment?

    Nice part of the country up there — “Merle Haggard’s California,” as my Bay Arean friend calls it.

    • If the sheeples in MD,CA or any other state where you don’t like the gun laws would get out ,exercise your other rights by getting out the vote thus changing the politicians to ones who believe in the constitution. Better yet start a petition to put the gun laws before the people to approve.

      • As a former resident of both CA and NY, I can report that is easier said than done. The blue urban population centers always trump the red rural areas and suburbs. Corruption is rife in LA, SF and NYC, too, so even if the “sheeple” thought to vote for liberty, their vote may not get counted properly. But that never happens because so many of them are dependent on the teat of public sevices for their sustenance. Look at Baltimore. Does anyone there ever think to try the other folks? No, and when the fires finally stop smoldering, it will be more of the same.

        I’m sure Sara, Dr. Vino, JWM and all the other TTAGers “behind enemy lines” vote in every election, and I applaud that. I trust they evangelize to all their city mouse friends, but there’s a lot to overcome — culture, dependence, and the opprobrium you receive if you dare voice a conservative opinion. Still, you can’t win a battle you don’t fight.

      • On September 14th 2014, I visited the attorney generals website to find a polling place near me. I entered my zip code and was redirected to a page that told me “the california primary election for November 2014 has already taken place. polls are no longer open.” This also happened on October 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th 2014. This confirmed what I’ve known my entire life; YOUR VOTES DON’T MATTER. The politicians are gonna do what ever the f**k they want, including putting whoever they want into office, regardless of what the people say.

        • Try the SBE or the League of Women Voters next time rather than the person sworn to enforce the laws of the state.

        • Votes and voting absolutely do matter. That is why so much money is spent on deceiving the public at every election. And absolutely part of the strategy is to discourage people like us to not vote.

          That said, don’t expect to “win” every time or even part of the time. The politics in CT are so corrupted that it is we are in for worse times in all likely hood but I vote in every election if only to vote against the current corrupt politician. Even getting a new corrupt person in office will break the political connections. Right now in CT we have a second term Gov that spent the first term purging opposition loading in cronies into positions, and interestingly using a strategy of depleting opposition by placing one opponent to his party into a judge position thus securing congressional seat for his party.

          This last election cost a lot of money and caused them to extend corrupt strategies which opens the party up to risk. They will have to extend this risk even more in future elections and eventually they will slip up in a catastrophic way. I am sure the governor would be out of office already if they had not spent so much money buying people out, lying and got so many people to give up and not vote.

      • As a Maryland resident, I’m getting just a little tired of hearing “just move.” My family has been here since the 1700s and while I may eventually leave, it will not be until I have exhausted myself with efforts to restore our rights in this state. I am very active politically, have run several voter registration drives, worked countless hours supporting pro-2A candidates and volunteering with 2A rights organizations.

        Here in MD, we are facing the state’s politics being driven by the urban plantation of Baltimore City and the counties surrounding DC sucking at the federal teat. These densely populated areas are a cancer in a beautiful state. We need more people in the state who understand the importance of individual rights. How about YOU move here and spend some time and energy behind enemy lines in the fight for freedom?

        • Well said, John B. I’ve been here since 1993 when I received orders to report to Naval Air Station Patuxent River. I too am trying to fix the problem, but unless a lot of things change I will leave when I finally retire. It’s a shame, with ocean on one side and mountains on the other Maryland could be a great state to reside in. The high taxes, denial of my rights, and those idiots in Annapolis make the place toxic to me.

      • Two thirds of the voters in California are urban dwelling democrats who own the state house. The gun owners are simply outnumbered. Kind of hard to change the laws when faced with that reality. Right now, the only relief is in the courts, and that is a hard row to hoe.

  7. I live in the People’s Republic of Maryland, where “good and substantial” rules. Mere citizens here currently have no hope of obtaining a CCW, unless they can convince a kangaroo court of State officials that they carry large sums of money for business, have a personal threat, or, of course are related to, or are a politician. Since Gov. Hogan took over, there have been some encouraging moves, but until “good and substantial” is defined as lawful carry under the 2nd Amendment for personal defense, or some such, we’re pretty much screwed. I have a Utah CCW license, good in about 30 states; just not the one I live in.
    As for Sara’s woes, I wish I had your problems. And Mexican carry is unsafe. Buy a holster.

  8. Washington State’s CPL is good for 5 yrs. and no classes are required. I need to renew this year. It’ll be my sixth. You can renew up to 90 days before it expires. It’s about 3-5 day turn around while they run my name through the system

  9. Sara:

    You do what you have to do to protect yourself and family and Anner the person who did not like the post doesn’t have to read it. I live in Kentucky and don’t have to go through this process other than a renewal every five years but no limit on the weapons. Sorry you have to deal with it there.

  10. Glad I don’t have to limit myself to 3 guns to carry, I have carried about 7 different hand guns in the last 3-4 months (most a variety of M&P).

  11. Frankly, I’m surprised it’s BI-annual in California and not SEMI-annual.

  12. 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.

    “[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

    • Shut up, Charles. You’ve posted this exact same screed before, and you are still wrong. The Supreme Court HAS NOT held that the Second Amendment guarantees a right to OPEN carry, in fact it has not ruled on carry outside the home AT ALL. The discussion you cite is in the context of whether it is permissible to limit the exercise of the right, and cites STATE LAW (not federal law) cases that hold that concealed carry can be prohibited where open carry is allowed. At that point in history, honest men carried openly, and only evil men carried concealed. Times have changed. Today California soccer moms call 911 whenever they see a MAN WITH GUN!!!, such that the only socially acceptable way to carry is concealed.

      And as an aside, is concealed carry no use to you because you “don’t carry a purse” (a specious argument if I’ve ever heard one), or because you live in a county that will not issue you a CCW?

  13. Sara,

    County buildings are not off limits unless it is written as a restriction on the license.

    Also, you can put as many guns on your license as you want. Calguns made sure every sheriff does this. If Lassen Co won’t, contact Gene or Brandon at Calguns to get his fixed.

    I know people who have 7+ handguns on their CA license.

  14. This is the first time I have wanted to be the barrel of a gun, all aside good job on the CCW

  15. Ho Lee Shoot! Sara Tipton lives in my neck of the woods!

    Shout out from Lassen County, where we all wish we could be annexed into Nevada… State of Jefferson maybe someday, not likely but heck, can’t hurt to dream a lil.

  16. Small point
    If you have to tell the State what guns you are going to to carry, you have to tell them at least some of the guns you have,
    therefore you are “REGISTERing” the guns you will carry.
    I thought there was that federal law that no gun registry is allowed.
    Illinois is like that too aren’t they?

    • Right, wrong or otherwise, it’s a felony to have an unregistered handgun in CA. Felony.

    • I think federal law prohibits federal registration, don’t think it restricts states.

      • I’ve been told by an FFL and a retired cop that California does not “register” firearms, but the fact is that every firearm transaction must be handled through an FFL, and the FFL files with the state a DROS. Up until a year ago, only handguns listed serial number, manufacturer, caliber, etc, on the DROS but now the law applies to all guns. So even if it is not “registration”, the DOJ has a list of all handguns purchased after 1/1/2000 and all long guns since 1/1/14. Further, if you move to California with guns, you are supposed to register your guns within 60 days on a form provided by the DOJ, paying a fee for the privilege ($19). The database of registered firearms is available to police in the field, and I suspect most cops think that if a gun isn’t registered, it is an illegal firearm.

        But by the same token, there are millions of legally unregistered firearms in this state, and indeed, many firearms that do not even have serial numbers.

    • KCK NO -Illinois is NOT like California. No gun registry here and I can conceal carry whatever I want. Also at least in my town south of Chicago I can own almost anything-including 30rd. mags. Shallissue CC-we do have a FOID card but it’s not a big deal to ME. But it still sucks and is dominated by dumbocrats…

  17. The article is semi-wrong (is that right? no pun intended).

    A CCW in CA allows you to carry in STATE government buildings, legally.

    No need to disarm in the County or State buildings (DMV, for example…)

    • Not true. Here in Kern County, I cannot carry into the courthouse, which is a State building.

      • Courthouses do what they want under the guise of contempt charges.

        All other state buildings (schools, DMV, city hall etc) are all ok unless it is specifically written as a restriction on your license, not on the application, not on the website, but actually on your license.

        The state Capitol building is restricted by state law with permission from the sgt. at arms

      • All California courthouses ban firearms by local rule. Notably, state statute exempts CCW carriers from this ban unless they are parties to an action pending in the court, as well as out of state LEOs there on public business. Nonetheless, this statute has not been effective in stopping the courts from barring entry through local rules, although there is no statute that authorizing them to enact their own rules in this regard. But so far no one has officially challenged the ban by way of lawsuit, which is what it will take.

        • Last time I had jury duty, we were asked individually if we had any issue with police. There was a guy there, that looked like the Dude from Big Lebosky, and he said that he didn’t trust police and that is why he carried a gun himself (quickly adding he had a permit). The judge just looked at him “are you carrying now?” His response was “Yes…um no” I was surprised that the judge didn’t bat an eye, though she later dismissed him from the jury (he really hated police it turned out later)… but the bailiff got all antsy around him.

          This was at a LA courthouse. There was a sign on the front door actually explaining that one needs permission of the pertinent justice to carry a weapon in the courtroom. I am guessing that is their “local rule” though I assume they meant the sign for police more than the rare CCW holder

  18. So glad I’m in Indiana!!! Lifetime permit, open or concealed, and no mandatory testing. The only thing lacking here is constitutional carry.

      • Don’t get too orgasmic over that freedom, it would be ever so better if we were not required to give the government a list of our names and addresses, so that on SHTF day every door would have to be kicked in rather than only ours.

    • Indiana crap weather and flat topography is looking better all the time. No oceans, but we do have lakes. Oh well, we have been doing better than a lot of states in both weather and gun laws. The above article was interesting and does make me glad I am in Indiana.

  19. Just because the rules have changed and it is possible to list more than three sidearms on a permit in CA, it doesn’t mean the local sheriff is following the new rule.

    As an example, I give you the sheriff of San Diego county. He lost his “may issue” stance in court, multiple times, and still refuses to issue permits.

    • Blake, I join you in “giving” SD County Sheriff Bill “Shan’t Issue” Gore.

      Now if we could only get someone to take him.

      What’s even more unbelievable is that San Diego, despite having an urban core, is pretty solidly conservative, and still tolerates this egregious rights-denying sheriff. And the local Republican Party supports him.

      So, no permit for me.

      Sara, glad to have you representing California’s POTG here at TTAG. But everyone else, please know that California is vast and varied, both geographically and politically. If your county is rural and your sheriff upholds the Constitution, you typically can get a permit that’s good anywhere in the state.

      For the rest of us, we barely know what a permit looks like. I didn’t until today.

    • Actually, the rules have never changed–there is no rule, except by fiat of an individual sheriff based on that sheriff’s “interpretation” of the standard CCW state mandated form.

  20. CA, the trendsetter for the states, at least that’s the line we often hear. Highly regulated and restricted gun privileges, moving to force medical procedures on the public with the threat of losing basic rights such as education if individuals fail to comply….if CA really is the trendsetter, a lot of liberties are going to be lost.

  21. I look forward to your coverage of the Peruta en banc orals coming up in a couple weeks. Thanks Sara. Fellow CAian, Brett in OC

  22. Thanks for the article. I am coming up on renewal myself. I’ll be following your posts as well.

  23. I live in Florida and although I live in a shall issue state, its still a pain to get a CCW down here. Firstly I have to take a training course which is around 4-6 hours and about $80-$100, then if I pass I need to either mail, send via the website, or show up at a DMV in order to send in the required paperwork and permit forms, a photo and a check for $120 to the department of agriculture in Tallahassee. After which the wait can be at least 2-3 months to get an approval and the CCW. I believe this is a bit beyond ridiculous, it makes me pine for the days when I lived in PA where all you needed in most counties was to fill out a standard background check form, have your picture taken in the sheriif’s office, $20, and to wait about 3 minutes. Heck, when it when everything was said and done, the officer even warned me that my CCW card was still warm from the machine, sigh.

  24. $50 and a 4 hr. class every 2yrs? Why don’t progressives protest this because of the hardship it places on minorities, just like voter I.D.

    • Because they want ignorant minorities to vote for them, but not be armed when they wake up and realized they signed themselves into slavery.

  25. Be thankful you are in Lassen and not Los Angeles!

    There is one police chief I know of in LA county that does issue regular citizens, but I don’t live in that city. My city claims to have declared g (leaving it up entirely to the sheriff) but records show they have issued two to reserve officers (4 year permits) and one judicial CCW (3 year). So they are lying. Now that the MAIG mayor is gone, and in fact conservatives have swept the government again, maybe I could press the matter.

    But thankfully I am moving to Kentucky in a month and a half! So it is moot. Until then I take advantage of the non-restrictive knife laws (LA county ordinance doesn’t apply in my city, and in anycase only applies to openly carried knives)

  26. I’m glad you renewed Sara. So few Americans are allowed to protect themselves in public in California. I lived in a county where the Sheriff believed in Shall Not Issue. It is why I left the state. California is a mecca for criminals. So few are armed, and prison is a revolving door for them, that they are no longer afraid of punishment.

  27. Hi Sarah, I enjoy reading your posts, but recently I found that “Massachusetts Woman: Why I Carry” was not available on the TTAG website – I get the “This is embarrassing, but we can’t find the article…” error message, which happens a lot more often on the website than I’d care to elaborate.

    Is there any other place we can read your posts?

  28. I agree with Sara (and I think she has relocated since writing this) My Lassen County CA CCW requalification today. 4 hours of classroom instruction and 1 hour of range time, $40. 3 boxes of ammo, $60. Next stop, the Lassen County Sheriff’s Office, estimated cost, $60 to maintain my CA CCW for two years. Making friends and swapping stories with the instructor while doing this, priceless.

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