Despite skyrocketing violent crime rates, Sheriff Alex Villanueva steadfastly refuses to allow his constituents to defend themselves.
By Lee Williams
Violent crime is skyrocketing in Los Angeles County, Sheriff Alex Villanueva announced yesterday on Instagram.
Homicides have increased more than 95% compared to the same timeframe last year. (Villanueva didn’t specify the timeframe.) What he called “forcible rape” is up 7%. Aggravated assaults are up 12%. Grand theft auto has increased more than 40% and arson is up 22%.
Overall, Villanueva said his department “ended all of 2020 with a 36% increase in violent crimes.”
“They’re all huge numbers – all very, very troublesome.” the sheriff admitted. “It’s our number-one existential threat, particularly for people who live where there is a large percentage of African-American and Latino residents. You’re the ones that are in the impact zone – that are mostly affected by this existential threat.”
View this post on Instagram
Rather than immediately segueing into how he planned to loosen restrictions on concealed-carry permits and make it easier for his constituents to protect themselves – especially the people who live in the impact zone – Sheriff Villanueva took a different path.
“We’re not going to go to ‘shall issue,’ where anyone who can fog a mirror can get a CCW permit,” he said. “That’s not responsible, but we do want to give people the opportunity – who are responsible, pass the training, that don’t have any convictions or legal limitations from being armed in public, and establish a ‘good cause’ reason why they should be armed, why we should trust them to be armed in public. That is the threshold.”
Sheriff Villanueva announced that he had increased the staffing of his firearms unit – the deputies who process the concealed-carry applications.
Since 2018, when he was sworn in as Los Angeles County’s 33rd sheriff, Villanueva said his department has issued 904 concealed-carry permits. In other words, about one permit per day since he took office – in a county with a population of more than 10 million souls.
By comparison, in 2019, Fresno County, California had 17,500 permits.
Quite frankly, getting a permit in Los Angeles County could not be more difficult. Just the “good cause” requirement alone would stop most applicants cold.
According to LASD policy . . .
No Carrying a Concealed Weapon License (CCW) should be granted merely for the personal convenience of the applicant. Each application shall be individually reviewed for good cause. Good cause shall exist only if the following prevails: Sufficient evidence of potential danger to life or of great bodily harm to the applicant, his or her spouse or dependent child, which cannot be adequately dealt with by existing law enforcement resources and which danger cannot be reasonably avoided by alternative measures, and which danger would be significantly mitigated by the applicant’s carrying of a concealed firearm.
The applicant must provide proof of this “potential danger,” either through police report or restraining orders. They must also have a handgun registered in their name that is, of course, California compliant, and only use California-compliant ammunition.
They must also complete a 14-page application, which contains a long list of prohibiting crimes, including many misdemeanors.
If the good sheriff truly cared about the safety of his constituents, especially those who are most at risk, he would open the floodgates and remove as many barriers as possible for concealed-carry applicants.
While it’s true California is a may-issue state, sheriffs and chiefs of police are authorized by state law to use their discretion when granting concealed-carry permits. Many of the state’s top cops have become de facto shall-issue grantors. Sheriff Villanueva could too, if he were so inclined, if he realized it would help deter crime.
His comment about trust – that an applicant must prove why the LASD should trust them to bear arms – is an affront to the constitution, which the Sheriff took an oath to support and defend. Maybe he should give it another read. He’d learn that no American citizen should be forced to prove their trustworthiness before exercising a constitutional right, nor should they be required to document “good cause” for exercising their rights.
Besides, it’s in his own best interests. Crime rates plummet every single time concealed-carry restrictions are loosened. It could happen in Los Angeles County, too. All that’s required is a new mindset. Or perhaps a new sheriff.
The Second Amendment Foundation’s Investigative Journalism Project wouldn’t be possible without you. Click here to make a tax deductible donation to support more pro-gun stories like this.
This story is part of the Second Amendment Foundation’s Investigative Journalism Project and is published here with permission.