Newly appointed Orange County Sheriff Sandra Hutchens has generated controversy by ordering a review of the concealed weapons permits issued by her indicted predecessor, Michael S. Carona. The Los Angeles Times reports that Hutchens said she was concerned that more than 1,100 people held concealed carry permits issued by the former sheriff — nearly three times the number of permits issued in Los Angeles County. She assigned a lieutenant to review each concealed weapons permit to determine whether the holder had a valid reason for carrying a weapon in public and whether these were people whose safety was at risk.
In the months that followed, the department sent 422 letters to permit holders, warning them that they could lose their licenses unless they could provide the department with valid reasons for having them. The crackdown has infuriated gun-rights advocates and some permit holders, who accuse Hutchens of violating their 2nd Amendment rights. They have addressed the county Board of Supervisors, demanding intervention, and have threatened to back an opponent to challenge Hutchens’ reelection in 2010. Under California law, sheriffs and police chiefs may issue a concealed carry permit to anyone with a legitimate reason to carry a firearm in public. The law grants law enforcement executives broad discretion in issuing permits.