Sheriff Hutchens makes the case


As a citizen, I support the 2nd amendment and the rights of law-abiding gun owners. As the Sheriff-Coroner of Orange County, it is my sworn duty to uphold the law and apply it equitably to all people. Recently, there have been some who have questioned my policy on the issuance of concealed weapon permits. I would like to take this opportunity to give you the facts. California Penal Code Section 12025(a) prohibits a person from carrying a concealed firearm. California Penal Code Section 12050 authorizes the Sheriff of a county or the chief of a municipal police department to issue a license to carry a pistol, revolver, or other firearm capable of being concealed upon the person.

Penal Code Section 12050 was designed to be an exception to Penal Code section 12025(a)—not a way around it.

Penal Code Section 12050 reads in part: The sheriff of a county, upon proof that the person applying is of good moral character, that good cause exists for the issuance, and that the person applying satisfies any one of the conditions specified in subparagraph (D) and has completed a course of training as described in subparagraph (E), may issue to that person a license to carry a pistol, revolver, or other firearm capable of being concealed upon the person ………

The only guidance on “good cause” is from a 1977 Attorney General’s opinion: Opinion No. CR 77/30I.L. states “the issuing authority must determine whether the threat to the applicant (or other causal situation) is as real as the applicant asserts (e.g., is there a clear and present danger to the applicant, his spouse, his family, or his employees).

Finally, if the danger is manifest, the authority should determine whether that danger cannot be significantly alleviated by alternative means of security and whether in fact can be lawfully mitigated by the applicant’s obtaining a concealed weapons license.”

As the Sheriff-Coroner of Orange County, it is my duty to follow the law as it currently exists. Some have argued that I am somehow impacting their 2nd amendment constitutional rights. This could not be further from the truth. My decision to issue or not issue a concealed weapons permit to an applicant in no way impacts that individual’s right to bear arms in their place of business or in their home. In fact, I would encourage those who are concerned about the concealed weapons permit policy to put their energies into getting the law changed. And, if the State of California decides to change Penal Code section 12025(a), I will support that law as well.

I encourage anyone who believes they have good cause to apply for a Concealed Weapons Permit to apply. It’s simple: The decisions I make and those made by the over 4000 members of the Orange County Sheriff’s Department are to follow and uphold the law. I believe that is what the citizens of Orange County want us to do and what I was hired to do.


I like the part of the Sheriff’s column where she qualifies who is eligible: “…upon proof that the person applying is of good moral character…”

I guess that disqualifies the Dark Lord and Adam Probolsky, who’s explanation that he’s entitled to a CCW by being a professional services provider is not backed up by the people in THIS sheriff’s office.

I admire Sheriff Hutchens for putting her job ahead of politics.

  5 comments for “Sheriff Hutchens makes the case

  1. jose s.
    March 27, 2009 at 11:24 am

    if you watched the bos meetings where people spoke out against her there was some scary people there who i dont think shouldnt carry a gun period. i really believe some of those people were off their rocker. i’m glad she’s staying firm on her position after all she has a huge mess to clean up that was left by mike \i wont spend a day in jail\ carona.

  2. rlh
    March 27, 2009 at 11:36 am

    This entire dispute seems to me to have been ginned up from the start – by those who inherently disliked Hutchens’ initial appointment (see Steve Greenhut as an example – she could water a plant and he’d attack her pouring technique as not just wrong but morally abhorrent); by the county Republican extremes and gun nuts, who see no nuance in any gun issue; and by the Supes, who see easy political hay to make vis a vis their base by “standing up” for Second Amendment rights. It’s all been a fairly transparently manufactured outrage.

    I especially like the “she’s bringing an LA culture to OC that doesn’t fit in” argument, as if that county’s law enforcement is somehow evil (or at least not as good as OC’s). Given the quality of the OCSD under Mile Carona, and the near constant stream of misconduct allegations against the Sheriff’s department and various other law enforcement agencies in OC (many of which Mr. Greenhut reports with sneering derision), I would think bringing in an outside sensibility is exactly what’s needed. But, as on Animal Farm, some outside sensibilities are more equal than others, I guess.

    I had no especial view one way or another on Hutchens when she was hired. The intensity of the opposition to her, however, and its stunning intemperence, is alone enough to incline me to support her, if nothing else then to push back against a group of schoolyard bullies. I especially enjoy her moving to take away CCW permits for stuffed shirt political types like Mike Schroeder, whose need for a concealed weapon is more related to other Republicans he’s dumped on than any passing mugger. Their pig squealing is amusing in a perverse way.

  3. Ltpar
    March 27, 2009 at 2:42 pm

    While Dan and I don’t see eye to eye on many issues, I am in full agreement on his opiion of Sheriff Hutchins. I have met her several times and consider her to be a true professional. I think most people will agree and despite the vocal minority, she will be elected to a full term in the next election.

    While being a supporter of the 2nd Amendment, I part company with the gun enthusiasts over Concealed Weapons Permits (CCW). If a person has a valid need to carry a weapon as defined by law, by all means allow it. But as an ego booster, status symbol, or just because they mistakenly believe the Constitution grants it, give me a break. I am happy to see Sheriff start to pull the plug on the above.

  4. RHackett
    March 28, 2009 at 12:38 pm

    I would like to see who the GOP insiders plan to run against her.

    Whoever, it is had better start making their moves in the near future. This clock is ticking down. Quickly.

  5. Northcountystorm
    March 30, 2009 at 1:19 pm

    While the Sheriff’s infomercial is of interest, it is certainly misleading. The “law” allows the Sheriff to use his/her discretion to determine whether the applicant has met the criterion in PC 12050. The 32 year old opinion from then Attorney General Evelle Younger is NOT the law. It is an advisory opinion sent to a state senator. It has no binding effect on any court in the State. It provides guidance but is not binding on the Sheriff. That is why different sheriffs interpret the statute differently. San Diego’s sheriff, for example, with a similar population as the OC, grants about 50% more permits than did the OC under Sheriff Carona. Other counties with lower crime rates and far smaller populations have more CCW’s issued than the OC did under Sheriff Carona.

    Give the lawful discretion imputed to each and every sheriff in the state, what is NOT the law is Sheriff Hutchin’s unsupported revocation of existing permit holders permits. After bungling the initial attempt at revocation which would result in a negative finding in the state criminal justice data base for those whose permit was revoked, Hutchins tap danced into a defacto revocation by pushing up the expiration date of every permit. Then, substituting her narrow interpretation of the statute for Sheriff Carona’s, she revoked hundreds of permit holders who were not Carona political flunkies but had legitimately qualified for the permit under California law.

    It’s not a surprise that Sheriff Hutchin’s has chosen to narrowly interpret the statute and seek refuge in a strict interpretation of an opinion authored by the former District Attorney from L.A. County–after all, her law enforcement career was in L.A. County. She has the authority to interpret the statute this way–whether you like it or not–for prospective applicants. She may also have the authority to find out whether any applicants issued permits from Carona received them for political reasons and did not go thru the rigorous training process and had absolutely no basis for issuance under the statute. But it’s simple; the law may give her authority to impose her will on future applicants but does not provide her authority to revoke lawfully issued permits. If she wanted that authority, she should have gone to the legislature and asked for it. While this “it’s my way or the highway” approach may work in LA, Wayne Quint of the AOCDS is probably right in his description of the Sheriff. As he was quoted by Scott Moxley in the OC Weekly ” I think she’s politically naive.”

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