If you ask me the Second Amendment is to allow us to protect ourselves from government tyrants. Government tyrants like San Francisco Police Chief Greg Suhr who would prefer that their serfs be disarmed.
What's next??? Will the government require us to get a permit from the chief of police and a hefty user fee to exercise our First Amendment right to write a letter to the editor, or go to church??? Just like exercising your Second Amendment right, exercising your First Amendment can be dangerous and many politicians free you should be required to get permission from the government first.
Want a concealed gun in California? Head north
Updated 6:40 am, Friday, February 14, 2014
Any competent person in Del Norte County who wants a concealed weapons permit typically gets one.
In San Francisco? It's rare.
California law says anyone who wants to carry a concealed handgun must demonstrate two things: good moral character and good cause for why they should carry a firearm. Police chiefs and sheriffs across the state are charged with deciding who meets the criteria.
The result is that it's easier to get a permit in a rural county than in an urban area.
In Del Norte County, about 200 people have concealed weapons permits, said Dean Wilson, the county sheriff.
They need it "in order to protect themselves," Wilson said. "I don't see any justification to make them jump through more hoops than that. There are so many factors when you look at these issues, and one of these I look at is the remoteness of our area and the time it takes for law enforcement to get there."
On any given night in Del Norte, Wilson said, there are just two to three deputies patrolling 1,007 square miles. It can take 40 minutes for a deputy to drive from one end of the county to another.
If residents can pass a fingerprint scan, an interview and a shooting test, Wilson said, they will probably be issued a permit.
"You always have the right to self-protection," Wilson said. "Just because we live, natural law gives us that right. Every animal has the right to defend itself from harm."
But in San Francisco, fewer than 10 residents have concealed gun permits.
"Our process is very exhaustive before we make the call," said San Francisco Police Chief Greg Suhr. "I have approved some, although very few, and I have declined some."
In the city, police are generally just four minutes away, Suhr said.
"I think concealed carry permits should be handed out subjectively with an objective standard," the chief said. "We're a crowded place. ... The last thing I need is people that aren't trained on firearms who may not be in the right frame of mind from being so scared or having a cocktail or two. I would much rather they rely on us."
San Franciscans who want a concealed carry permit are required to submit a lengthy questionnaire, a psychological evaluation, a shooting test and an interview with Suhr.
In Alameda County, a mix of rural and urban land, 170 residents have permits, said sheriff's Capt. Kelly Miles, who oversees the permit program.
"Sometimes it is due to people's business, if it is their job and they carry a lot of money or they go out on callouts in high-crime areas," he said of the people with permits. "Usually it is in relationship to people's work or they might live in a remote area and get a lot of trespassers."
One former Bay Area prosecutor who has a concealed gun permit said he believes giving law enforcement authorities discretion to deny permits is important.
"Everybody's got their motive" for carrying a gun, the prosecutor said on condition of anonymity. "Some legitimate, some not so legitimate."
Chronicle staff writer Demian Bulwa contributed to this story.
Will Kane is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: @WillKane