Los Angeles County has almost 10 million residents. Of those millions, Sheriff Lee Baca regards only 341, or about three of every 100,000, as trustworthy enough to have a concealed carry permit.
The L.A. Weekly got the list of the chosen few, and whaddya know? A large percentage of them are Baca friends or contributors.
"In fact, more than two dozen people who have given gifts or campaign contributions to the sheriff also have gun permits. More than one out of every 10 permits issued to civilians went to people on Baca's gift list. The permit holders include Michael R. Yamaki, an attorney and reserve deputy who is among Baca's best friends, as well as several people who attended Baca's 1999 wedding," the Weekly reported.
Even by California standards, L.A. County is unusually niggardly when issuing permits. As the Weekly noted, "San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department... had 1,754 permit holders in 2011, despite a population of just 2 million people to L.A.'s 10 million. The Kern County Sheriff granted even more, with 3,564 permit holders in a population of 800,000 people."
So in L.A. County, you have one permit holder for every 300,000 people, in Kern County, one for every 225 people. Are we really to believe L.A. residents are that much less trustworthy than their peers in Kern County, whose largest city is Bakersfield?
Six of the Baca contributors are reserve deputies, a post made famous when Al Capone ran Cicero, Ill. in the 1920s. That sort of vague connection to law enforcement is often the pretext for issuing concealed carry permits in "may-issue" jurisdictions. Abuse of that system is why most of the country has moved to "shall-issue" permitting, if not no-permit "constitutional carry."
It is always worth hammering home the point that personal security is made a luxury good in places like L.A. and New York. If you're a rich rug merchant in Beverly Hills who knows the sheriff, no problem, here's your permit. If you're a struggling Korean grocer in Crenshaw, better hope prayer works, because you aren't getting anything more effective.
Baca, of course, is simply following in the footsteps of his predecessors, Peter Pitchess and Sherman Block, both of whom were fervent anti-gunners. Sadly, if you like guns, L.A. is probably not your kind of town.