New concealed weapon unit will result in faster permitting process, officials say

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A new Carry a Concealed Weapon, or CCW, Unit in the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department will allow for a more efficient permitting process for residents seeking to carry hidden guns in public, law enforcement officials announced Wednesday afternoon. 

Sheriff Alex Villanueva announced the new CCW Unit in order to better distribute the licenses to be armed, in a statement at 4 p.m. Wednesday on LASD’s Twitter account. 

Sheriff’s officials didn’t have the data immediately available for how many permits had been issued in previous years versus how expedited the process would be under the new system, according to Deputy Eric Ortiz of the Sheriff’s Information Bureau. However, he said Wednesday evening there would be “more” due to the increased efficiency.  

“We’ve created a unit … that is going to process CCW and (explain) the criteria you need, what you need to do to apply,” said Ortiz. “We’re going to get an influx of people that are starting to apply, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that everyone is going to get one.”  

Ortiz said under the old policies, before the unit was announced, a number of complaints were lodged by applicants who said the process for approval was taking too long. The process only allows authorization after a thorough background investigation is completed and good cause has been substantiated.  

The new process will now establish a specialized unit meant specifically for streamlining this process, but will still adhere to the same investigative and verification standards they had before. According to LASD’s website, 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. 

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.  

After completing the training, the CCW coordinator for the individual’s application will contact them to schedule a pick-up time for their license, officials said in the press release.  

Villanueva did not appear to announce the move to any other county departments ahead of time. A spokesperson for Los Angeles County Supervisor Kathryn Barger said the office requested more information about the intended policy change shortly after Wednesday’s announcement on social media. 

“We have asked for a full briefing from the Sheriff’s Department to understand the proposed changes to the process for concealed weapon permits and the criteria for approval of these permits moving forward,” said Michelle Vega, a spokeswoman for the supervisor. “Supervisor Barger and her staff will continue to work with law enforcement on this issue to ensure the safety and well-being of our local communities.” 

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