February's Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that found California's concealed-carry law unconstitutional has resulted in thousands of applications in at least one highly populated county where the sheriff opted to begin issuing permits using relaxed criteria.
Under California law, concealed carry permit applicants were required to demonstrate "good cause," as well as good moral character, to carry concealed handguns, while leaving the interpretation up to each city and county. The Court's Feb. 14 ruling requires local governments to issue permits to anyone of good moral character who desires to carry a concealed gun for self-protection.
Following the ruling, Orange County Sheriff Sandra Hutchens announced the county would begin issuing permits to residents who simply cite a desire to obtain them for personal safety or self-defense.
More than 700 new permits have been issued since the February ruling, bringing the total number of permits in Orange County to around 1,650—compared to 900 prior to the ruling. The Los Angeles Times reported this week that more than 2,800 permits were pending approval at the end of August. Thousands more have requested appointments to apply for permits, and more than 7,000 have filled out applications or requested appointments, sheriff's officials said.
The demand for carry permits in Orange County became so great that county invested $1.6 million in the program and hired 14 additional staffers to process applications.