Residents of San Bernardino County have come to the realization that being disarmed does not make one safer, and now more than ever people are requesting concealed carry permits.
USA Today reported that just one month after the San Bernardino attacks that killed 14 people, concealed carry permit requests jumped up 9 times in the same county.
But the California city is ill-equipped to handle so many requests at once. In some places the permitting process is so backlogged that it could take a year-and-a-half just to meet with an official in order to fill out an application.
According to USA Today,
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 spike in concealed carry permit requests is due primarily to the terrorist attack that struck San Bernardino, but many in the state are feeling that some of the strictest gun laws in the country are only hampering law abiding citizens from being able to defend themselves.
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.
Some of the backlogs are pushing requests back to almost a year, angering potential concealed carry permit holders even more,
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.”
A man named Art Feilich seemed to sum it all up perfectly:
Art Feilich, an attorney for the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, a San Francisco-based non-profit that advocates for gun control legislation, said the true cause of these spikes was inaction in Congress, which has failed to pass any meaningful legislation to stop the crisis of mass shootings.
Since lawmakers hadn’t done anything to prevent future attacks, the public was left to conclude that the job was up to them, Feilich said.
“Instead of passing responsible common sense laws to keep military grade weapons out of the hands of dangerous people — including terrorists — Congress has left civilians to join a dangerous arms race, and effectively be drafted into law enforcement duty in their private lives,” Feilich said. “We don’t believe civilian should feel compelled to make that choice. It doesn’t make us safer.”