Sacramento County trumps San Francisco 5,769 to 2 when it comes to concealed carry gun permits

A recent story from the Center for Investigative Reporting caught our attention with its headline: “Want to carry a concealed gun? Live in Sacramento, not San Francisco.”

CIR’s reporter, Matt Drange, compiled statistics on active concealed carry permits throughout the state and interviewed Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones. The entire story is interesting, but particularly because only Fresno, Kern and Shasta counties have more concealed carry permits issued than Sacramento County.

Sacramento County had 5,769 active concealed carry permits as of the end of 2014. In comparison, San Francisco had two.

The point made by the CIR story is that concealed carry permits, even in a state where firearms are as heavily regulated as California, are generally left to the discretion of one elected official: the county sheriff.

It’s only fair to point out that the vast majority of gun crimes are not committed by people with concealed carry permits. Jones has created a three-person committee to vet applicants for a permit, and the process is fairly easy to navigate for a responsible gun owner.

But it’s also fair to point out that researchers have found that a similarly strenuous process for buying guns in Connecticut has led to a 40 percent drop in the homicide rate in the last decade.

It’s not so much that responsible gun owners prevent or discourage crime; it’s far more likely that limiting ownership of firearms to responsible people limits the possibility of crime. Given the nation’s latest mass shooting—this one at a church in Charleston, S.C.—the vetting of owners of firearms can’t possibly hurt and might actually help. More than anything else, treating firearms more like cars—both value-neutral machines that are capable of tragic misuse in the wrong hands—is a common-sense argument for public safety.