Déjà vu: California May-Issue Gun Licensing Results in Bribery Scandal

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No rest for the wicked: California Lawmakers are back to their old, anti-gun tricks again.

U.S.A. -(AmmoLand.com)- Stop us if you’ve heard this one before: Anti-gun jurisdiction maintains a restrictive may-issue firearm licensing scheme. Scheme results in alleged bribes for licenses scandal.

On November 23, the Santa Clara County, Calif. District Attorney announced that a grand jury had indicted a county undersheriff and sheriff’s captain for “requesting bribes for concealed firearms (CCW) licenses.” A pair of individuals were also indicted for offering bribes to receive licenses to carry. The story received worldwide attention when one of those accused with offering a bribe was revealed to be Apple’s chief security officer.

Santa Clara District Attorney Jeff Rosen noted that the two law enforcement officials “treated CCW licenses as commodities and found willing buyers.”

Under California Penal Code §§ 26150 and 26155, local law enforcement officials are tasked with reviewing applications for licenses to carry concealed weapons. This includes determining that there is proof “[g]ood cause exists for issuance of the license.”

The “good cause” standard is subjective and in practice grants the chief law enforcement officer the authority to deny any application. In the more anti-gun jurisdictions of California, this means that licenses to carry are may-issue and difficult to obtain. In more Second Amendment-friendly portions of the state, sheriffs have adopted the position that the right to self-defense is “good cause.” In these jurisdictions, the licensing regime is more akin to shall-issue.

California’s license to carry regime has been the subject of intense Second Amendment litigation, most notably in the NRA-backed case of Peruta v. County of San Diego. In 2016, an en banc panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit upheld the “good cause” requirement. The court concluded,

the Second Amendment does not protect the right of a member of the general public to carry concealed firearms in public… Because the Second Amendment does not protect in any degree the right to carry concealed firearms in public, any prohibition or restriction a state may choose to impose on concealed carry—including a requirement of “good cause,” however defined—is necessarily allowed by the Amendment.

As one might expect, it is near impossible to obtain a license to carry in Santa Clara County. Those interested in a fuller picture of the onerous application process are encouraged to read a lengthy 2019 account of the ordeal posted to Medium.com by an intrepid applicant.

According to the indictments and the DA’s press release, the undersheriff extracted a promise of $6,000 worth of “luxury suite tickets to a San Jose Sharks hockey game” from a local businessman in exchange for a carry license. In regards to Apple, it is alleged that the undersheriff and sheriff’s captain extracted a promise of $70,000 worth of iPads for the sheriff’s office from Apple’s chief security officer in exchange for four licenses to carry for Apple employees.

The unfolding events in Santa Clara County are strikingly similar to a 2016 corruption scandal in the New York Police Department’s License Division.

On April 18, 2016, federal authorities filed a complaint with the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York describing an alleged firearm license-purchasing scheme carried out by Alex “Shaya” Lichtenstein for several years with the help of members of the NYPD License Division. According to the complaint, Lichtenstein would charge individuals seeking a handgun license up to $18,000 for his assistance in shepherding their application through the NYPD bureaucracy. Allegedly, Lichtenstein would then provide the License Division supervisor and another division official with cash bribes for their assistance. On March 16, 2017, Lichtenstein was sentenced to 32 months in prison for his part in the scheme.

New York City has an incredibly onerous handgun licensing scheme. Under their may-issue regime, law enforcement is granted wide discretion to grant or deny a license. Applicants can be denied for something as simple as “a poor driving history,” or as vague as any “other good cause.”

This isn’t even the first time the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office has faced allegations of impropriety in the issuance of licenses to carry. In 2011, the Mercury News investigated the sheriff’s office’s licensing practices. A December 10, 2011, Mercury News article stated,

The list of 49 civilian” permit holders released to this newspaper includes 13 people who donated to [the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s] campaigns over the years, either personally or through companies connected to them. Also on the list are people whose permits have continually been renewed, even though the original reason for getting the permit appears to no longer apply.

Official corruption in the issuance of gun licenses is detestable, but merely a symptom of the underlying problem. Until state legislatures abandon the outmoded practice of discretionary firearms licensing, or the federal courts provide more robust recognition of the Second Amendment right, the corruption will continue.


About NRA-ILA:

Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the “lobbying” arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess, and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Visit: www.nra.org

National Rifle Association Institute For Legislative Action (NRA-ILA)

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Tionico
Tionico
2 months ago

quote: “Until state legislatures abandon the outmoded practice of discretionary firearms licensing, or the federal courts provide more robust recognition of the Second Amendment right, the corruption will continue.”

I have a better cure: how’s about we do away with ALL licenses, permits, prior approval, preconditinos, etc. If a lawful permanent resident of any jurisdiction is NOT under prohibition to his God-given right to arms, govenment MUST simply butt out. ALL such hoops, dances, fees, permits, papers, preconditioins, etc, are INFRINGEMENTS, the Thing That Must Not Be.

American Patriot
American Patriot
2 months ago

Blah, Blah, Blah…..Same crap, same liberal sh*thole. Nothing will change unless there is a M A J O R uprising by the Patriots & not the criminals!

Wass
Wass
2 months ago

This kind of crap will endure as long as authorities, i.e., police, military and the politically connected, who have their guns and want to keep it that way, look down on us hoi polloi. We are a nation of laws, and gun laws (which, sorry, we’ll always have), must focus where they belong; on punishing criminal gun misuse, irresponsible gun handling and negligent gun storage, in presence of immature minors. Any other gun regulation, ipso facto impinges on the mature law-abiding.

JSNMGC
JSNMGC
2 months ago
Reply to  Wass

Gun laws have never been about preventing crime or accidents.

BTW, you can’t legislate good parenting. Laws requiring certain types of gun storage are not for the purpose you think.

JSNMGC
JSNMGC
2 months ago
Reply to  Wass

Many well-meaning people who advocate for gun storage laws believe Moms Demand Action when they lead people to believe that all the children dying from gunshot wounds are suburban 3 year-olds who find daddy’s revolver in the nightstand. Dig deeper and you will find out that many of those “children” dying from gunshot wounds are 14 to 17 year-old gang members who are intentionally shooting each other. There are also many 6 to 13 year-olds playing in urban parks with no adult supervision late at night. One of them gets ahold of a firearm that a gang member stole and… Read more »

Tionico
Tionico
2 months ago
Reply to  JSNMGC

and I have personally worked to train children as yuong as six years old how to safely, accurately, and quickly handle firearms. I’ve also read a number os stories, many of them right here, of “children” as young as eight, using firearms defensively and, by all appearances, saving lives. My Dad tols of he and his siblings and friends brining their .22 rifles to school on a regular basis, they’d lean them up against the back wall of the classroom during class time, then take them out behid the school and practice their shooting skills. Of COURSE< contests were had..… Read more »

JSNMGC
JSNMGC
2 months ago
Reply to  Tionico

That is the question.

Biden wants a federal law stating that a 17 year-old may not have access to a firearm while that person’s parents go out for the evening.

It has nothing to do with the safety – it’s just one more way to jam-up a person who disagrees with the Democrat platform.

JSNMGC
JSNMGC
2 months ago
Reply to  Wass

More reasons why there should be laws mandating non-government employee oversight of firearm storage by government employees:

https://www.1011now.com/2020/12/11/group-of-teens-break-into-game-parks-employees-car-steal-firearms/

Take care of your own instead of telling us what to do.

KDude
KDude
2 months ago

License to exercise my right to keep and bear arms? Preposterous! Governments exist solely to protect our rights. Never to violate them. The good people of California, these United States have been hoodwinked.Stand up like men and take our Republic back from thugs and crooks who hijacked it.

JSNMGC
JSNMGC
2 months ago
Reply to  KDude

Or, the LEOs could just not enforce BS laws.

nrringlee
nrringlee
2 months ago

Los Angeles County, Ornge County, Contra Costa County. All have been busted with these schemes to “sell” your rights back to you. Progressive ideology is Jim Crow. The only question is who gets to play the part of the vilified class.

JSNMGC
JSNMGC
2 months ago
Reply to  nrringlee

I spoke with someone in CA yesterday and they said this corruption has been going on in virtually every county in CA and there are efforts underway to bring lawsuits against everyone involved in the mess.

LEOs have unique power and when they abuse it they should lose everything and go to jail. Maybe if there were a few dozen high profile examples of them actually going to jail, others would be less likely to abuse their power.

Tionico
Tionico
2 months ago
Reply to  JSNMGC

I know of several counties in Californa that are SHALL ISSUE by greement and order of the sheriff. Tulare COuntyb las I heard, with a population of maybe 250K, had close to five thousand active permits. Crimes of violence against persons, and housebreakings, are rare. Propety crimes, however, where the perp runs little risk of being confronted by an armed putative victim, are rampant. One guy I know of had to rebuild his pumphouse to make it near impossible to break into, as thieves reguarly brok in and stole the copper wiring for the pumps. HE walks his property with… Read more »

JSNMGC
JSNMGC
2 months ago
Reply to  Tionico

Sorry, I should have written virtually every “may issue” county.

SEMPAI
SEMPAI
2 months ago

The Sooner Ru Paul Johnson is dragged (see what I did there) down the street by his or her ankles the better.

JSNMGC
JSNMGC
2 months ago

LEOs should not be in the business of granting permits (even in the states that require permits).

They can’t be trusted with this responsibility.

They can’t be trusted with exemptions from firearm laws (like being able to purchase off roster handguns).

Tionico
Tionico
2 months ago
Reply to  JSNMGC

Florida have also proven that the Secretary of agricutlure is not to be trusted either.

JSNMGC
JSNMGC
2 months ago
Reply to  Tionico

Permitting concealed carry is bound to result in corruption. Let’s just leave the government out of it. They should focus on investigating, arresting, convicting, and incarcerating violent criminals (and not letting them out early).

musicman44mag
musicman44mag
2 months ago

Constitutional carry for all America, enforced by the federal government. When law enforcement or governor’s don’t comply, they will be fined and thrown in jail. 500,000.00 dollars and 25 years. That should make a statement.

Stay armed for a safer America.

JSNMGC
JSNMGC
2 months ago
Reply to  musicman44mag

Enforced by federal LEOs?

Do you think federal LEOs are better than the local LEOs who are being charged with corruption?

KDude
KDude
2 months ago
Reply to  JSNMGC

Find me a “federal leo” in the Constitution…..

JSNMGC
JSNMGC
2 months ago
Reply to  KDude

The founding fathers were dead set against federal law enforcement. They believed law enforcement should be local.

It wasn’t until the 1900s that Federal LEOs were given the authority to carry firearms. Now almost all federal agencies have their own armed enforcement officers.

JSNMGC
JSNMGC
2 months ago
Reply to  JSNMGC

Always – in every case.

And in every case, it was “the law” that was enforced.

Last edited 2 months ago by JSNMGC
JSNMGC
JSNMGC
2 months ago
Reply to  JSNMGC

Fortunately, there are still no laws stating:

  • Women have to invite the wives of LEOs to social functions or attend the functions hosted by the wives of LEOs; and
  • Young, fit, good-looking, financial successful men have to date female LEOs.