LASD reports rise in CCW permits; task force looks to streamline process

Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department seal. File Photo
Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department seal. File Photo

A new Carry a Concealed Weapon, or CCW, unit within the Sheriff’s Department could increase an already rising number of permits issued within Los Angeles County, those familiar with the CCW process said this week.  

The new unit was specifically designed to improve the efficiency of the selection process that has been said to be, in years past, generally not available to many members of the public.  

There had always been a small team working to process the applications in Los Angeles County, officials said, but the newly expanded unit will be able to handle more application reviews and interviews. The additional manpower will also assist in handling a larger volume of resumes as the parameters for who can apply have recently expanded, as well.  

“The main change in our current policy is the acceptance of CCW applications from all residents of Los Angeles County,” said Deputy Eric Ortiz of the Sheriff’s Information Bureau. “Applicants who reside in an incorporated city not policed by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department may submit their application directly to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.” 

According to records obtained by The Signal on Thursday, the number of issuances to allow people to carry firearms in public has only increased since Sheriff Alex Villanueva was sworn in as the county’s top cop in December 2018. 

“Sheriff Villanueva has taken a different stance on this,” said retired Sgt. Rich Nagler, who runs Adam’s Armory in Stevenson Ranch. “I already know a handful of people that have already received (a license).”   

In 2018, under former Sheriff Jim McDonnell, 78 total permits were issued in the county. These permits, Nagler said, were largely given to retired law enforcement, judges, reserve deputies and a handful of others. McDonnell’s policies regarding CCW licenses was consistent with decades of previous sheriffs, as well, citing the need to keep guns off the street and out of the hands of gang members.  

But in 2019, the first increase in the number of licenses was seen, with LASD issuing 84 during Villanueva’s first full year in office. By 2020, a total of 238 licenses were issued, over three times more than had been approved in 2018.  

LASD officials said they’re unable to provide a projection for how many permits the new unit may approve in 2021, but reminded people that the vetting process and procedures remain the same for applicants.  

“We’re going to get an influx of people that are going to start applying,” said Ortiz. “But it doesn’t necessarily mean that everyone’s going to get one.” 

The state’s Department of Justice lays out the regulations regarding how a CCW permit can be obtained — an application must be filed with the chief of police if you live in an incorporated city, or through the county’s sheriff. In Los Angeles County, “Any person may obtain the California Department of Justice Bureau of Firearm’s Standard Initial and Renewal Application for License to Carry a Concealed Weapon (form BOF 4012 revised 11/2012) from any station, the concerned Assistant Sheriff, or Undersheriff,” according to the LASD website. The site also lists the criteria. 

Each applicant must: be of good moral character; provide good cause; be a minimum of 21 years old; own a registered firearm in California; and reside in L.A. County, according to LASD’s website. 

After completing the background check and the individual’s cause is substantiated, the applicant will then be authorized to proceed with firearms training with an approved training provider.   

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