There is news for those Orange County CCW applicants currently in limbo. As recently reported, Orange County Sheriff Sandra Hutchens responded to a letter from NRA-CRPA explaining that, thanks to an NRA-CRPA sponsored bill, she is legally prohibited from reevaluating CCW applicants’ “good cause” statements once an applicant has been directed to begin the costly, mandatory firearm training course. The NRA-CRPA letter was prompted by the Sheriff’s announcement following the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal’s order to rehear the Peruta case that she was abandoning her policy of accepting self-defense as “good cause” for a CCW and reverting back to her pre-Peruta policy of requiring all applicants to articulate and document a heightened individualized safety concern to be issued a CCW.
In her initial response to the letter, Sheriff Hutchens assured that “Applicants whose good cause had been approved will not be required to provide additional good cause” under her new strict policy in order to receive their CCW, which, according to the Sheriff, saved about 1,700 of the currently 2,500 pending applicants. In the days following the NRA’s announcement of the Sheriff’s updated position, however, NRA-CRPA attorneys were receiving word from various sources that applicants who had been directed to commence and who had even completed training were nevertheless being denied for lack of “good cause” or requested to supplement their “good cause” statement by the deputy handling their file.
This prompted the attorneys to submit additional correspondence to Sheriff Hutchens, asking for clarification on who exactly is “grand-fathered” in under her former, more lenient policy and why some who seemingly should be are being told otherwise by the Sheriff’s staff. Sheriff Hutchens has now responded to those requests for clarification, reaffirming her previous position that “applicants who received written conditional approval notifications will not be required to provide additional good cause,” and explaining that there may have been some confusion among her staff as to what applicants are indeed “grand-fathered.” The Sheriff’s response goes on to explain that “if applicants believe they were told by our CCW Licensing Unit staff to commence training, they should contact our CCW Licensing Unit for further assistance and a review of the matter. If it is determined that an applicant was directed to commence training, that applicant's good cause statement will be accepted and his or her application will continue in the process accordingly.”
So, while the bad news is that Sheriff Hutchens has decided to continue with her strict “good cause” policy—despite NRA-CRPA attorneys explaining in their letter that nothing in the law requires her to do so because California Sheriffs have the discretion to accept self-defense as “good cause” for a CCW regardless of the status of the Peruta case—the good news is that some applicants who were in limbo may now find themselves on track for a CCW or at least with an avenue to clarification on their status. If you have a CCW application pending with the Orange County Sheriff’s Department and you had your interview prior to March 26, 2015, you should contact the deputy handling your file to determine whether the Sheriff’s updated position affects you and how. If, after speaking with the deputy handling your case, you are still being told you are not “grand-fathered” in under Sheriff Hutchens’ former standard, please contact attorneys at Michel & Associates, P.C..
Contact Sheriff Hutchens
All Orange County residents are encouraged to contact Sheriff Hutchens to thank her for engaging the NRA and CRPA on this matter, but also to respectfully express their opposition to her adoption of a strict good cause standard. Call or submit a comment using the following methods below, and tell your friends and family to do the same.