Inspired by the newspaper in Westchester County, NY, which published the names and addresses of individuals who had a gun license, we decided to see if we could do the same sort of public service for Orange County. We initially submitted our public records request for the names and cities of Carry Concealed Weapons (CCW) permit holders in Orange County. We planned to post the information as a public service. Then, after we got the list pf those in Orange County who have a CCW (names, not addresses), we thought about it more and took a slightly different direction.
We learned from the response form the Orange County Sheriff’s Department that in 2010, 354 CCW permits were issued and 25 were denied, in 2011, 451 were issued and 29 were denied, and in 2012, 409 were issued and 57 were denied. Licenses may be denied for lack of good cause, past criminal history or for not being an Orange County resident. These numbers reveal that a rather insignificant number of people, 0.013%, hold CCW permits issued in Orange County. We also wanted to expand our records request to include everyone who owns a gun license or permit in Orange County, but this was going to create a huge workload for the county and our time and limited resources mean we wouldn’t be able to adequately present this information to our readers.
We think there are too many guns out there. The overflowing crowds at this weekend’s gun show in Costa Mesa show Orange County’s appetite for automatic weapons is near insatiable. We find it fascinating that the same people, the Tea Party Patriots, who so demanded President Obama’s birth certificate, find inquiries into background checks and licenses for firearms an invasion of privacy. And while gun ownership is a right, so is the right NOT to own one. When liberals state healthcare should be a right, we’re scoffed at by Libertarians and Conservatives who cling to their guns but fail to acknowledge getting sick is not a choice.
Based upon this information we presume that there are probably good reasons for all of the permit holders to have their permits. As a result of our request we learned that the OC Sheriff’s department declines to match the city of residence to the license holder because they believe that the public disclosure of this information would make it easier for a person to locate the home of a license holder and thus may endanger the personal safety of the license holder and his or her family.
Assemblyman Allan Mansoor has introduced AB 134 to prevent the disclosure of the home addresses and cities of residence of gun permit holders to the public. Current law allows Sheriff’s to decline to disclose this information, but does not require it. Our Sheriff seems to be as careful about such disclosures as Assemblyman Mansoor’s bill proposes. We will be interested to learn if the Assemblyman has any examples of disclosures that warrant such a law. Or will this be just another case of a Republican legislator imagining a problem and then writing a law to prevent it in order to score quick political points.
But back to the issue at hand, what do we do with this information we have obtained through our public records request? Former Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart once said that “Ethics is knowing the difference between what you have a right to do and what is right to do.” We agree with that definition of ethics and determined there would be little to no public benefit in the wholesale publishing of the list of current CCW permit holders. However, we do believe that public figures, both elected and non-elected, do not warrant the same level of ethical discretion the majority of those on the list do.
To this end, here are a few of the names of Orange County CCW permit holders who are also public figures. Since the list is just first and last name there is a limit to our certainty that the names listed are indeed the identified public figures. The list we received also defined some of the sort of weapons covered on the CCW.
Todd Spitzer — We believe that this is probably Supervisor Todd Spitzer. This individual has two licensed handguns attached to their permit.
Robert Nelson — We believe the this is likely Supervisor Robert Shawn Nelson. This individual has two licensed handguns attached to their permit.
David Shawver — We believe that this is likely Stanton City Councilman David Shawver. This individual has two licensed handguns attached to their permit.
Dean Grose — We believe that this is likely Los Alamitos Councilman Dean Grose. We wrote about him on Saturday calling for posting on Facebook Saturday, “Uniting America against Obama’s regieme one AK47 at a time!” This individual has two licensed handguns attached to their permit.
Tri Ta — We believe that this is likely Westminster Mayor Tri Ta. This individual has one licensed handgun attached to their permit.
Deborah Pauly — We believe this is likely Villa Park Councilwoman Deborah Pauly. This individual has one licensed handgun attached to their permit.
Dan Harkey — We believe this is likely the husband of Assemblywoman Diane Harkey. Dan Harkey is currently being sued by investors in his company Point Center Financial Inc. over failed investments. This individual has three licensed handguns attached to their permit.
John Fleischman — We believe that this is likely the John Fleischman who is owner of the Flash Report, a conservative political blog who sometimes goes by Jon Fleischman. The disclosure from the Sheriff did not indicate the number of handguns attached to this permit.
Michael Schroeder — We believe that this is likely the same Mike Schroeder who is the former Chair of the California Republican Party, and currently married to OC District Attorney Chief of Staff Susan Kang-Schroeder (though the Voice of OC reported that the couple plan to divorce). Mr. Schroeder recently plead guilty to a DUI. We wonder whether he was carrying one of the three licensed handguns attached to his permit at the time of his arrest?
These are the names we were able to identify as public figures. It is possible that we may have missed a few. Again, we trust that Sheriff Hutchens has concluded that these individuals have the need, and good judgment, necessary to carry concealed firearms. Her policy of careful review is a 180 degree turn from corrupt ex-Sheriff and current federal prisoner Mike Carona who gave out CCWs like party favors to political contributors, all without criticism from the OC GOP who turn a blind eye at corruption in their own party.
The U.S. Supreme Court said in a 2008 case District of Columbia vs Heller, that “Like most rights, the second amendment right is not unlimited. It is not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose.”
If we use the argument second amendment proponents use that crimes are prevented by bad guys being aware that the good guys have guns, then the argument should hold that publishing the names and addresses of all gun owners in Orange County and making this information easy to access online would be a major crime deterrent. Wouldn’t it?