I just finished watching Steve Kroft’s report on the battle for concealed carry reciprocity on 60 Minutes. I would suggest everyone either watch it or read the transcript. The episode was better than I hoped though you still could hear the sneer in Kroft’s voice when he asked Tim Schmidt if you should be allowed to carry “anywhere”. Schmidt, to his credit, gave a one word answer – “yes”.
One of the people interviewed was Robyn Thomas of the Giffords Law Center who is adamantly opposed to carry reciprocity. Trying to make a point on how much stricter a may-issue state like California is on who gets a permit, she said:
Someone who lives in Nevada, who’s able to carry a loaded, concealed weapon in Nevada could now bring that loaded gun into Los Angeles, into San Francisco, and carry their loaded weapon, even though in San Francisco that’s not someone who would get a permit.
Kroft’s follow-up question was a softball asking wouldn’t reciprocity “usurp” the gun laws of anti-gun places like New York, LA, and Chicago. This brought the expected “yes” answer.
The question that should have been asked – and the responsible question to ask if one wasn’t biased – is how many carry permits have been issued in San Francisco. While I had a good idea it was a slim number, I reached out to Brandon Combs of the Firearms Policy Coalition and Cal-FFL to get an accurate answer. According to him, historically, the total number for both San Francisco city and county for the last two decades has ranged between 0 and 15.
Think about that. In a city and county (they are coterminous) of approximately 800,000 residents, at most 15 permits have been issued at any one time. In other words, unless you are the most connected person in San Francisco, you are not getting a permit.
Moreover, while San Francisco, Los Angeles, and San Diego issue very few, if any, permits, there are approximately 90,000 permits in California. Many of these are issued in a virtually shall-issue manner by a number of other California counties. These permit holders are legally able to carry in any city or county in the state including both LA and San Francisco.
Never forget that our civil rights opponents and their media allies will shade the truth when it serves their purpose. Robyn Thomas did it in the interview and Steve Kroft perpetuated it by not asking the questions that should have been asked.
UPDATE: Professor David Yamane details his experiences when he asked about getting a carry permit in San Francisco back in 2013. He knew the answer going in but thought he’d ask anyway.