2/14/2013

Corruption, favoritism and cronyism in the way Los Angeles County gives out concealed handgun permits

Government officials, people with important connections, and friends of the sheriff seem to get all the concealed handgun permits in LA county.  Unfortunately, the people who need the protection the most, the poor minorities who live in high crime areas aren't the ones who are able to get protection.  From the LA Weekly:
. . . As of May 2012, only 341 people had been granted them, according to sheriff's records. Compare that with the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department, which had 1,754 permit holders in 2011, despite of a population of just 2 million people to L.A.'s 10 million. The Kern County Sheriff granted even more, with 3,564 permit holders in a population of 800,000 people. 
In L.A. County, records show, most of the permits go to judges and reserve deputies. But there is another group that seems to have better luck than most in obtaining permits: friends of Lee Baca. Those who've given the sheriff gifts or donated to his campaign are disproportionately represented on the roster of permit holders.  
Chuck Michel, a gun-rights attorney who has pushed for greater access to concealed-weapons permits, says practices in many "anti-gun" jurisdictions are "corrupted by favoritism and cronyism." 
Michel had not looked in depth at L.A. County's practices, but the Weekly did. Last year, theWeekly filed a public records request for all 341 active concealed-weapons permits granted by the Sheriff's Department — as well as a list of the 123 people who applied for concealed weapons over an 18-month period but were denied. (You can see the complete list of permit holders we obtained from the Sheriff's Department here.) 
Those lists contain many of the same names that appear on Baca's gift reports and contribution records. 
In fact, more than two dozen people who have given gifts or campaign contributions to the sheriff also have gun permits. More than one out of every 10 permits issued to civilians went to people on Baca's gift list. The permit holders include Michael R. Yamaki, an attorney and reserve deputy who is among Baca's best friends, as well as several people who attended Baca's 1999 wedding. . . .

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