Six months after Hun Chu Saelee obtained a concealed carry weapon permit from the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department in 2012, he reached into the trunk of his car during an argument outside a Halloween party, pulled out a .45-caliber handgun and shot a stranger in the head, leaving him in a coma. Saelee is one of 8,000 Sacramento County residents who have been issued concealed carry permits since Sheriff Scott Jones took office in 2011. He is one of at least 78 people with Jones-issued permits who have been arrested in subsequent years and had their permits revoked, according to a Sacramento Bee review of Sheriff’s Department data, revocation letters, and court records.
As of February of this year, Jones had revoked more than 150 permits for a variety of reasons, including arrests and other contact with law enforcement that didn’t lead to arrest, such as making threats or misusing a weapon. In 2015, Jones’ office had a higher rate of permit revocations than any of the other 25 counties with the most active permits that year. About one out of every 135 adults in Sacramento County now has a license to carry. California law gives county sheriffs broad discretion to issue concealed weapons permits, known as CCWs, so long as applicants show “good cause” and demonstrate “good moral character.” Before Jones took office, the Sheriff’s Department tightly controlled the number of permits it issued, typically allowing them only in cases where individuals could show they faced a particular threat, carried large amounts of cash or valuables, or worked in law enforcement.