Gun Owners of America (GOA), Gun Owners Foundation (GOF), Gun Owners of California (GOC), the Second Amendment Foundation (SAF), and the California Pistol Rifle Association (CPRA) have teamed up to sue the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department (LASD), the Verne Police Department (VPD), and California Attorney General Robert Bonta over permitting requirements found in Senate Bill 2 (SB2).
SB2 was passed in response to the landmark Supreme Court case, New York Pistol Rifle Association v. Bruen. Since California could no longer block the issuance of concealed carry permits, places like L.A. County and Verne made the process cost-prohibited, long, and cumbersome, discouraging law-abiding citizens from getting concealed carry permits. Also, since California doesn’t recognize concealed carry permits from other states and will not issue permits to non-state residents, it makes it impossible for out-of-state residents to carry a firearm in public.
The outrageousness of the law brought together a multitude of gun rights organizations to file suit challenging the constitutionality of the law. The case CRPA v. LASD challenges several aspects of the permitting law.
The first challenge is the waiting period. One of the plaintiffs has been waiting 17 months for his permit to be processed. He submitted his permit application in July of 2022, and the application was not entered into the system until April 2023, meaning it could not be processed. This situation is not a one-off but a standard.
Another issue the lawsuit mentions is the high fees associated with obtaining a concealed carry permit. The fees make many choose between the means to defend themselves and putting food on the table. It affects those on a fixed income more than those who are well off. It is a two-tiered system that the lawsuit refers to as a “poll tax.”
The lawsuit also challenges the requirement for a psychological evaluation. Certain jurisdictions make obtaining a psych eval complicated. The Verne Police Department sends applicants over 35 miles away to receive a psych eval. It also requires the person contracted with the VPD to administer the test, which opens the possibility of a biased evaluation.
One of the plaintiffs is from Florida but travels to California for business and pleasure. He would like to carry a concealed firearm in California, but the state does not recognize his permit from Florida. He tried to get a concealed carry from California, but his permit was denied since he is not a California resident.
SCOTUS did warn jurisdictions about using excessive fees, long wait periods, and subjective criteria to block citizens from getting concealed carry permits. The plaintiffs believe the state is doing precisely what SCOTUS warned the states not to do. They believe California is acting in bad faith.
SAF believes that the state is acting as if they are immune to the SCOTUS ruling. They think the state is actively trying to discourage people from applying for a concealed carry permit. The organization believes that the law is clearly unconstitutional.
“It is apparent that the defendants unilaterally decided that Bruen did not apply to them and have continued to foster policies that make the process to obtain a permit as arduous as possible,” noted SAF Executive Director Adam Kraut. “The fees to process permit applications, delays in processing, and other requirements are grossly excessive and cannot withstand constitutional scrutiny.”
“The process and costs involve seem deliberately designed to discourage people from exercising their constitutional right to bear arms,” added SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb. “In some cases, applicants have had to wait for a year or more to get their permit. This is simply inexcusable.”
GOA points out Governor Gavin Newsom’s hostility towards the Second Amendment. Newsom has advocated changing the United States Constitution to curtail gun rights. Several gun owners in California who used their firearms to defend themselves and their families legally have faced backlash from the state, including being disarmed.
“Governor Newsom isn’t shy about his hostility towards the right to keep and bear arms, having gone so far as to propose major changes via a Constitutional Amendment,” said GOA Senior Vice President Erich Pratt. “Americans don’t support that, just like they don’t support handcuffing law-abiding citizens who simply want to protect themselves in the ever more dangerous world we live in. While the Governor wouldn’t admit it, that danger is most obvious in major metro-centers like L.A. and San Francisco, where he has utterly failed to reduce crime.”
Additionally, GOC believes SB2 helps criminals by ensuring that law-abiding Californians are disarmed instead of making its citizens safe. The state-level organization believes with the rising crime rates in the Golden State. People need to take their own safety into their own hands and be ready to defend themselves and their families.
“Laws like SB2 only further embolden criminals in California, and the delays, fees, and psychiatric requirements imposed by local authorities are a blatant assault on one’s constitutional rights, as a right delayed is a right denied,” GOC Executive Director Sam Paredes noted.
The plaintiffs are asking for a preliminary injunction blocking the state, L.A., and Verne from enforcing the concealed carry requirements.
About John Crump
John is a NRA instructor and a constitutional activist; he has written about firearms and interviewed people of all walks of life. Mr. Crump lives in Northern Virginia with his wife and sons and can be followed on X at @crumpyss, or at www.crumpy.com.