Lake county

This is regarding Lake County, but it contains thing we’ve heard all over. It’s a letter to the Editor of the Record-Bee, a Lake County newspaper.

Denied right to bear arms

Article Last Updated: 01/11/2007 06:13:01 AM PST

A few months ago, I made a life-changing decision.

After years of being a gun owner and an N.R.A. member, I decided to apply for a Carry Concealed Weapon (CCW) permit. The permit allows an individual to carry a concealed firearm on his or her person or inside of a vehicle. The reason for the permit is to provide law-abiding persons the ability to protect themselves and their loved ones in the event that a situation demands it. No one can be sure when such a situation will arise, a breakdown on a deserted highway or a car-jacking in a dimly lit parking lot, but regardless of the environment, crimes do take place and one should be ready for any possibility.

Being a resident of Lake County for 7 years and residing in a rural area such as Cobb Mountain with the local authorities at least 30 minutes away, I thought taking such an action to be appropriate. I had heard that Lake County Sheriff Rodney Mitchell believed that law-abiding individuals have a right to carry firearms and should be able to protect themselves if necessary, so I decided to file an application.

After completing the required two-day training session and an interview by a staff member of the Sheriff’s Department, I was told that I would receive word on their decision in a few weeks or so. After a couple of months I received a disappointing letter from the Sheriff’s Department stating that my application had been denied because “I was not a U.S. citizen”. I promptly wrote a letter of appeal stating that I was a Canadian citizen living here in the U.S. as a Permanent Legal Resident for 24 years now and I supplied them with the documentation to prove my claim. However, my application was still denied.

Now I know that the State of California has some of the most restrictive gun laws in the country and acquiring a CCW permit here can be quite a task, but according to the representative that I spoke with at the California Department.of Justice in Sacramento, Legal Permanent Residents are treated no differently from citizens when it comes to firearm ownership and are issued CCW permits on a regular basis. In fact in most counties, in most of the states in the country, CCW permits are issued on a regular basis to Legal Permanent Residents.

After further research, I discovered that even though Lake County approves many more CCW applications than other counties such as Sonoma or Napa, they seem to have a reputation for denying ordinary individuals permits on the basis of not “being a longtime resident”, or not being “a prominent member of the community”. It seems to be part of a “good old boy mentality” that still exists in various communities in California where friends, relatives or neighbors are granted permits by the local agencies while the common everyday person is considered an outsider and is denied their rights. (Unfortunately in California the final decision is left up to the issuing agency and an application can be denied for any reason that they deem fit).

I see this whole experience not as a negative one but as an awakening to become more politically active in the drive to allow people “the right to bear arms”. Individuals who apply for CCW permits are aware of the civil and criminal responsibility that goes along with using lethal force to protect one’s life and take this responsibility very seriously. Criminals, however, are not inclined to apply for permits [thereby] subjecting themselves to fingerprints and background checks but they will carry weapons illegally and will commit crimes with them.

I encourage anyone who is a firearm owner or a person who is concerned about constitutional rights to challenge elected officials and representatives and perhaps one day California will become a “right to carry” state.

David W. Adams

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