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Contact Data (from the Kern County S.O. Website FAQ)

Kern County Sheriff

Q. How do I qualify for a Concealed Weapons Permit?

A. Contact the Vice / Licensing Unit for information on the application procedure. Their phone number is: 661-391-7500.

We contacted the Sheriff and got this reply from his assistant:

Sheriff Youngblood has not changed the policy of the Kern County Sheriff's Department in regard to CCW permits. A resident of Kern County may apply for a CCW permit, regardless of where the applicant lives within Kern County. If you need further information, feel free to contact me. (name, phone and email address supplied)

Flashlight Cell Charger

That is correct. Due to an internal misunderstanding, several city residents were inadvertently sent letters that they must apply to their City Police Department for a concealed weapons permit. However, those citizens will be receiving a follow-up letter in the next 30 days advising them of the mistake and asking them to make contact with the CCW office in order to reactivate their application. Sheriff Youngblood has not, and does not have any plans to change the policy of the Sheriff's Office in regard to CCW permits.

Your comments regarding our website are well taken. Our technology department is in the process of implementing a new website program that will allow for more interactivity. As soon as the software selection is made and technology services can install, the Sheriff's website will be changing to provide more information, including the ability to provide a link to the CCW application, so citizens can download the application from home. Check back periodically for these changes.


Toting a gun common in Kern

County state leader by far in concealed weapons permits

| Thursday, Nov 9 2006 9:40 PM

Last Updated: Thursday, Nov 9 2006 10:00 PM

Follow this link for the original article. Select "Toting a Gun Common In Kern" from "News Archives." They will charge you to read it. Please notify us if this link stops working.

Don't make any sudden movements. The guy sitting next to you may be carrying a gun, and you'd never know it.

Kern County gives out more permits to carry concealed weapons than any other county in the state, and has led the state in citizens who like to pack heat for at least the last 10 years.

Last year, 4,077 Kern County residents had the right to carry a hidden gun on them, according to the California Attorney General's office. Another Central Valley county, Fresno, came in a distant second, with 2,694 permits.

While Kern County agencies do grant a lot of permits, the number hasn't really changed over the years. Between 3,500 and 4,300 residents have held the permits going back to 1992. Only in 1999 did the number dip to about 2,900 permits.

"You have to remember that this is Kern County. It's always had more gun permits than in any other county in the state and it probably always will have more permits than any other county in the state," sheriff-elect Donny Youngblood said. "That's our culture. We believe in that."

What we believe in is electing conservative, pro-Second Amendment sheriffs, according to sheriff's Cmdr. Matt Lee, who has been in charge of reviewing the concealed weapons permit applications for the Kern County Sheriff's Department for the last couple of years.

While Lee reviews the application, ultimately the sheriff grants the permit for county residents. People who live in city jurisdictions must ask their local police chief if they can carry a gun.

Bakersfield Police Department Detective Greg Terry said it's not just the values of the man who holds the sheriff's office that has led to a high number of concealed weapons permits.

"We are a conservative community. We are a community that values firearms," Terry said.

Josh Summers, who is originally from Alaska and now works at Naked Al's Tattoo downtown, echoed Terry's thoughts.

"I think it's great that they're getting people to legally arm themselves," Summers said. "I think it'd make this place a safer place."

The BPD currently has about 440 active concealed weapons permits on file. While smaller police agencies like the Taft, Arvin, Delano and Shafter police departments can authorize the permits, the lion's share are granted by the Kern County Sheriff's Department. There are roughly 3,500 active permits on file now, according to Sgt. Richard Wood.

But it's not like everyone who asks for one gets one, Lee said.

"There are quite a few people who are denied," Lee said. "A (permit) is a privilege; it's not a right."

Bakersfield resident Helen Alvarez said she is concerned that local law enforcement isn't paying close enough attention to who receives permits.

"I think they don't investigate the background of people as much. I think they just give them to make the money and to sell the permit, but I don't think they are really investigating," Alvarez said.

Not so, according to Wood. The application process includes writing a statement justifying why you need the permit and undergoing a background check. City residents also have to be interviewed in person by a lieutenant, Terry said.

Lots of previous bad behavior will automatically disqualify you, Wood said. Anyone with a felony conviction of any kind, a domestic violence conviction or any conviction involving violence, drugs, or illegal use of firearms is automatically denied a concealed weapon permit.

Once you get the permit, there's another long list of rules you must follow. You can't use drugs or alcohol while carrying your gun. You can't try to represent yourself as a police officer, and if a cop asks you to, you must surrender your gun.

Many permits carry specialized restrictions, including the hours you can carry the weapon and for how many years as well. Also, since you wanted to conceal your weapon, the law suggests you do just that.

"Keep it in the holster. Don't brag about it. Don't show it off," Wood said.

Wood, Lee and Youngblood all said the incidents of violence being committed by people who have been granted concealed weapons permits are extremely rare.

"In the 30 years that I worked there (the sheriff's department), I can remember one negative incident," Youngblood said.

Wood said the people who get the permits are typically business owners who transport lots of cash or valuable merchandise, or people who need it for self-protection. Those who want to carry a gun for protection have to have an ongoing and specific reason why they need it, Wood said.

When local attorney Seth O'Dell got his first permit to carry a concealed weapon in New York, it was more a matter of principle. He was 21 at the time and had just completed his law school thesis on the Second Amendment and how it should apply to the states.

Then O'Dell came home in the middle of the day. As he walked up to his front door, he was met by a burglar. He had his gun with him, so he pulled it and the burglar headed back through the house and out the back, giving O'Dell a chance to call the cops.

"I think my reasons now for carrying a gun are primarily self-defense," O'Dell said.

O'Dell said New York's concealed weapon permit laws are a bit more stringent than California's. In New York, a judge grants the permit, and applicants are required to submit letters from character references as well as undergo an interview with the judge.

But California laws aren't bad, according to Zach Ragbourn, a spokesman for the gun control advocacy Brady Campaign.

"As far as we're concerned, California has a pretty good system for issuing (permits)," Ragbourn said. "We trust law enforcement to make the right calls in their communities."

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BY THE NUMBERS

4,077: The number of active concealed weapons permits in Kern County in 2005.

2,694: The number of active concealed weapons permits in Fresno County in 2005.

1,358: The number of active concealed weapons permits in Los Angeles County in 2005.

10: The number of active concealed weapons permits in San Francisco County in 2005.

1: The number of active concealed weapons permits in San Benito County in 2005. This is the lowest number in the state.

Team Billy Jack notes that raw numbers are not too helpful, unless you know the county's population. You need to know something like the percentage of the population that has permits in order to make real comparisons.

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FOR MORE

For more information on how to obtain a permit to carry a concealed weapon, call the Kern County Sheriff’s Department at 391-7788, the Bakersfield Police Department at 327-7111 or your local law enforcement agency.



Legal Disclaimer: Team Billy Jack is not a team of lawyers. Nothing we say should be taken as evidence that we have any idea what we are talking about or what we or you should be doing. Listen to us at your own risk. We strongly advise that all persons handling firearms should receive appropriate training. No animals were harmed in the production of this website.

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