Looser CCW issuance policy supported by Supes
PLACERVILLE — Citizens unhappy with Sheriff Jeff Neves over permits to carry concealed weapons took their complaints to the El Dorado County Board of Supervisors last week. They asked for a resolution that would put pressure on the sheriff to ease restrictions that they say have made it more difficult to obtain such permits.
Supervisors voted unanimously to pass a resolution of support but stopped short of accepting all of the wording in the proposal.
District 2 Supervisor Ray Nutting put the issue on the agenda after “receiving numerous complaints … objecting to the Sheriff’s Office change in policy making concealed carry (CCW) licenses more restrictive and harder to obtain,” Nutting said in a prepared statement Wednesday.
According to state law the county sheriff “may” issue CCWs, but is not compelled to do so. Using his/her discretion, that official can deny an application based on a determination of good cause such as an applicant’s criminal history or unsatisfactory character references.
The distinction in the language was referred to as the “shall vs. may” issue.
District 3 Supervisor Jack Sweeney took issue with parts of the proposed resolution. He said the Second Amendment consists of 27 words which should not be paraphrased. He also noted that he always keeps a copy of the Constitution in his drawer at his seat in board chambers. He further admonished the petitioners that the board had only received the documents the Friday before.
“We haven’t had a lot of time to study this,” he said. “Strike the first two paragraphs, put in the Second Amendment, and direct the sheriff to have a fair and equitable policy,” Sweeney concluded, sounding like an old-time newspaper editor.
The final resolution requests the sheriff to “adopt a fair and suitable policy for the issuance of CCW licenses that complies with state law and ensures our citizens’ constitutional rights.”
Rob Charny, president of the El Dorado Rod and Gun Club, was the primary author of the proposed resolution. Charny opened the discussion by stating that he had not drafted the resolution as a “vendetta against Sheriff Neves” whom he said he considers a friend.
“It can’t compel the sheriff to do anything,” Charny said. He then cited examples of people who might need to carry concealed weapons, such as “business owners with large amounts of cash or single mothers camping with their children.”
Co-author Dan Dellinger followed Charny to the podium, and calling the board “our big brothers and sister,” he asked for their support against a “sheriff who has too much discretion.”
Ken Greenwood of Straight Shot Consulting has been attending board meetings over the summer, calling the panel’s attention to the issue. He presented a two-page letter chastising the sheriff for requiring far more than what the statute requires, which is “an arduous procedure outlined by Section 12050 of the Penal Code and the statewide application form.”
He went on to describe clients and family members who were, in his view, denied Carry Concealed Weapons permits by Neves, arbitrarily and without good cause.
Before the meeting, Greenwood handed out paper signs that read, “Vote Yes on Self Defense!” and “I Refuse to be a Victim!”
After the board’s vote, Charny said he “liked the language as it was originally, but was satisfied with passage of the resolution.”
“We need to work on the ‘good cause’ issue regarding the sheriff’s 100 percent discretion, but the language from the Board of Supervisors represents a good direction,” he said.
Nutting’s press release concluded: “I feel strongly that our county residents have a right to protect themselves. And we as county supervisors have a duty to make sure that every one of our rights are respected and preserved by all county agencies.”
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El Dorado County deputies arrested two people on suspicion of grand theft and possession of burglary tools after reportedly finding items linked to catalytic converter thefts in a vehicle during a traffic stop Jan. 13.