San Bernardino County reported a nine-fold increase in concealed weapons applications in the month that followed the Dec. 2 terror attacks, and the surge continues. In Riverside County, the permitting process is so backlogged that it now takes a year-and-a-half to meet with an official to submit an application.
The spike is so pronounced that it has angered gun advocates and gun critics alike. To those who see the proliferation of firearms as a problem, another rush for guns is just the latest chapter in a tragically familiar story. To those who consider concealed weapons a constitutional right, government bureaucracy is paralyzing their best tool for self-defense.
“It’s ridiculous,” said John R. Lott Jr., a pro-gun academic with the non-profit Crime Prevent Research Center. “Most states in the country will get you a concealed carry permit within at least 60 days. What if you have a woman who is being stalked or threatened? What is she supposed to do — wait a year and a half just to get an appointment?”
The rush for concealed weapons began after Dec. 2, when a radicalized Islamic couple attacked a county government holiday party held at the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino. Syed Rizwan Farook, a U.S.-born county inspector, and his wife, Tashfeen Malik, a Pakistani national, attacked the party with assault rifles and handguns, then fled the building, leaving behind a homemade bomb that failed to detonate. Police then tracked the couple to a home in nearby Redlands, leading to a car chase and gunfight that killed both suspects. The FBI is still investigating the mass shooting, but has called the attacks acts of terrorism.
The shooting location sits close to the border of San Bernardino and Riverside counties, and officials in both counties said they saw an immediate rush for concealed weapons.
The San Bernardino Sheriff’s Department received 75 applications during the weekend following the attack, when it normally averages 10. By the end of the month, deputies had received 750 applications, compared to a monthly average of 80, said Cindy Bachman, a department spokeswoman.
In Riverside County, the permitting process is different, so comparable statistics were not available. However, officials confirmed they are now scheduling application appointments as far out as 18 months. Previously, appointments have been set out eight to 10 months, said Capt. David Teets, who formerly led the department’s administrative division.
“It’s been overwhelming,” Teets said. “We have two folks who work in that department, and after the terror attacks, they were absolutely inundated with people wanting concealed weapons permits. We received hundreds of phone calls, voicemails and emails — likely upwards of one thousand in the two weeks afterwards.”
On Tuesday, Riverside Sheriff Stan Sniff said he could not speed up the permitting process without pulling deputies off patrol duties, which he was unwilling to do. Additional funding for more workers is unlikely because Sniff is embroiled in a budget battle with county leaders, who worry the sheriff’s department already absorbs too much money.
Delays have been less pronounced in San Bernardino County because Sheriff John McMahon reassigned several employees and a few volunteers to the permit processing unit. Still, appointments with applicants are being scheduled as far out as September.
“Eight months out is a long way for us,” McMahon said. “I just can’t put enough staff down there. I don’t even have enough staff, or workspace, to be honest with you.”
Although this surge for concealed carry permits is unprecedented in the so-called Inland Empire, it continues a well-documented trend in the American gun market, where mass shootings — and the resulting call for gun control — often trigger a rush to buy and carry guns.
A recent report by The New York Times revealed that December was second biggest month for gun sales in at least two decades. The only bigger month came after a mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., in 2012.
People simply do not feel safe anymore and have no choice to defend their families because no one else can.
Thank you Mr. President……..