Indictment in San Jose Concealed Carry License Sales Scheme


One disadvantage of a may-issue concealed carry license system, in which a government official gets to choose who gets a license, is the risk of corruption. The San Jose Mercury News (Robert Salonga) reported Thursday on an indictment alleging such corruption:

A grand jury has indicted a Santa Clara County Sheriff's captain and three political supporters of Sheriff Laurie Smith for allegedly brokering a pay-for-play scheme in which campaign donations were exchanged for concealed-carry weapons permits. The sheriff herself avoided indictment, but prosecutors said Friday that their corruption probe is far from over.

Santa Clara County District Attorney Jeff Rosen announced felony charges including conspiracy and bribery against Capt. James Jensen; Christopher Schumb, an officer for a sheriff reelection committee and a prominent South Bay litigator; attorney Harpaul Nahal; and Milpitas gun-parts maker Michael Nichols. All four are accused of plotting to illegally secure concealed-gun permits for employees of Seattle-based executive security contractor AS Solution.

The indictment marks the first criminal case to come out of a decade's worth of complaints regarding political favoritism in Smith's issuing of the hard-to-get concealed-carry permits. Rosen said Friday that an 18-month investigation uncovered a two-tiered policy for the concealed gun permits: a process for regular citizens whose applications were destined for a filing cabinet, and another for VIPs whose applications were fast-tracked for approval….

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  1. Of course, the proper answer is no conceal carry permits, no open carry, no guns at all. Easy to end the corruption!

    1. Eliminating all guns, which is impossible, does not eliminate all weapons, which is also impossible.

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    2. Prof. Volokh points to “the proper answer” at the very beginning of his post: “One disadvantage of a may-issue concealed carry license system…”
      If the law required the sheriff to issue gun permits to everyone (except convicted criminals), she would not have been able to run such a “pay-for-play” scheme.

    3. Or Constitutional Carry and NO permits….

  2. The disadvantage with any concealed carry license system is that it allows people to carry concealed weapons. A concealed weapon does not give notice to the people around the concealed carrier that he is armed so that they may govern themselves accordingly.

    The only reasons why one carries a concealed weapon is for a secret/tactical “advantage,” to commit a crime, and/or because he is a coward. None of these reasons fall within the scope of the Second Amendment.

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    1. At one point in history, the prevailing opinion seemed to be that “only a scoundrel” would hide a pistol under their clothes.

      Fast forward a few years, and the prevailing opinion seemed to be that a “gentleman conceals his pistol so as not to upset the women and children.”

      Looks like “carrying” has been a “fashion statement” for quite some time now.

    2. “The only reasons why one carries a concealed weapon is for a secret/tactical “advantage,” to commit a crime, and/or because he is a coward.”

      Your logic is completely flawed here. Go live up north for a while where it’s impossible to carry without concealing in the winter and try again. As well, individuals carry concealed for reasons other than just the ones you contrive in your head.

      1. Hmmm.

        So, “coward” and “prudently not wanting randos to try and snatch a firearm”, synonyms?

        Maybe consider that your pet bugaboo/obsession is not axiomatically correct, and work on your arguments?

        Open carrying is fine.

        So is concealed.

        Stop being that guy.

        1. Another reason to carry concealed is to physically protect the weapon. It wouldn’t be good for it to be repeatedly smashed into various things, nor does it make one particularly popular were you to inadvertently snag various (often breakable) things and pull them to the floor.

          And if you instinctively grab it every time you go near a chair or something so as to avoid the above, well *that* does make people nervous….

          My attitude is that “it isn’t a toy, put it away” — i.e. put it on your body (concealed) some place where it is safe and out of the way.

      2. Back in Michigan when we were fighting for concealed carry reform, it was because, even though we were legally an “open carry” state, in some parts of the state police would charge you with “brandishing” just for having a gun visible, or “illegal concealment” by claiming you were obstructing the visibility of your gun by holding your arm in front of it, or something of that nature.

        If you had a concealed carry permit, you could legally conceal the gun, and aside from the fact that it was tough to claim you were “brandishing” a gun in a concealed holster, (They still tried, occasionally, called it “printing”.) if it was successfully concealed the police wouldn’t know who to harass.

    3. Once again you prove you’re an idiot. I carry concealed because that’s all I can do legally. But maybe you’re right and I am a coward because I’m afraid to go to prison.

      On second thought I’m not a coward. You’re just an asshole.

      1. Assume you’re in South Carolina or Florida?

        1. I’m one of the lucky ones in California whose local sheriff considers “Personal Protection” good cause for issuance.

    4. There are plenty of other reasons to carry concealed rather than open. Open carry is more prone to snagging, for instance. Same reason I carry my phone in my pocket rather than a belt holster.

      Stop pushing only open carry.

    5. Oh, you’re one of those…..

      There’s a time and place for open carry. A crowded public space ain’t it. All you’re doing is looking for attention, and you’ll generally get it…..But it’s the wrong kind. You want non-gun people to be uncomfortable around guns? Walk into a Starbucks with an AR on your back.

    6. “The only reasons why one carries a concealed weapon is for a secret/tactical “advantage,” to commit a crime, and/or because he is a coward.”

      That’s horseshit. There are many good and often prudent reasons to carry concealed. Just because it’s not what you prefer is no reason to malign those who do.

    7. Or perhaps one wishes to protect the weapon from inclement weather. One reason why Maine went to Constitutional Carry is that a lot of people inadvertently concealed their weapons by putting a warm coat on. Or a raincoat.

    8. One reason for concealed carry is herd immunity. If the perps don’t know who is carrying then it makes it much harder for them to select victims.

      The other thing is it makes it riskier for women or elderly or disabled to carry because they would be more easily overwhelmed and vulnerable to a sucker punch.

      Sneering at 75 year old man, or a woman who has children in a high crime neighborhood as ‘cowards’ is pretty cowardly itself.

  3. I wish the Supreme Court would finally get around to enforcing the Second Amendment. We don’t permit government officials to “may issue” speech related permits or even abortions. That isn’t how a right works. It is not at the discretion of the government.

    I do not think the Constitution requires an easy permit process, but it does require a process that a citizen can complete in good faith without jumping through tons of hoops. And if the citizen completes that process, checks all the boxes, then they get a permit.

    1. Well to be fair a lot of universities have free speech zones and/or require permits to speak, gather signatures etc.

      1. But the university does not have discretion to let you speak. You may have to follow a reasonable time, place, and manner restriction, but the university generally cannot deny you the right to speak. That is the difference with a “may issue” jurisdiction. They ultimately are the arbiter on whether or not you have the right to carry, not just following the process or carrying only where permitted by law.

    2. As long as Roberts and the four perverted communists appointed by Dems are on the Court, that ain’t happening.

  4. Once again we see that gun control laws are not about guns. They are about control.

    1. For whatever reason after taking a break from about 2000 to 2016 the Left has started pushing gun control hard again. They have made some in-roads in cities (that are not preempted) and blue states. But with all the “defund the police” stuff I think they are going to unravel the gun control plank really quickly.

      Gun control sounds good until you find out all those laws you supported mean you can’t get a firearm unless you wait for months and months to have the police OK a permit for you. Also how many new gun owners are there since May? Maybe a million if not more. Those people are quickly going to start recognizing gun politics and I imagine the vast majority of them will prefer not making their lives harder.

      1. First, I’m not really sure I experienced that same “break” in the Left pushing gun control. But as far as its increased in 2020, perhaps its related to them banking on political violence as a strategy.

        1. It is not as much fun to be a criminal when you have a fair chance of someone pulling a gun on you. Same goes with rioting and looting.

          I wish someone would do an investigation into the people who are made “special law enforcement officers” in states with heavy carry regulations. Maybe not as prominent now that many more are shall issue, but used to be the SOP if you wanted a gun in New York City or Washington DC. You just found someone to appoint you a special officer and poof you have the right to own and carry a gun. Many of these appointments were considered to be personnel actions too which shielded them from public disclosure.

          The “break” started after the election in 2000. It was thought, and later partially verified, that Gore lost some key states because he was pushing gun control. That kept the Left quiet for a decade on the issue. My theory is that as the electorate became more suburban/urban they renewed the push as guns don’t resonate with those voters nearly as much since the police are (or were) just a few minutes away.

        2. They go through these cycles of pushing gun control, paying for it at the voting booth, shying away from it, and then gradually convincing themselves that it’s safe to go after again.

          They really want everybody they don’t trust disarmed, I think because so long as Americans are armed, there are limits to what they can hope to get away with doing.

          1. The drive to ban “assault” rifles in VA didn’t go well for the Left. And from what I heard many Dems were scared shitless they were going to start another civil war. Doesn’t mean they won’t try again, but it will take the politicians in the state house a few years to lick their wounds over that one.

  5. Will anyone go to jail for this? I doubt it. That’s the shame of it all.

  6. Thank heavens for all these “Cowards”. My Illinois Concealed Carry classes are booked solid for at least 6 weeks and that’s on top of the NRA Basic Handgun Safety Course I run gratis each week at a local range, for first time gun owners.

    Open carry is fine for canoe trips and packing in remote areas. But I still go by what my senior Drill Sergeant always taught us; “If you find yourself in a fair fight, you fucked up somewhere”. In other words, get and use every advantage you can, to deal with a criminal who always got to choose the time, place and manner of attacking you.

    The surprise appearance of a firearm in your hand is a good advantage to start. If you really feel empathetic, feel free to use a laser sight, so they have that brief moment to reconsider their career choice before the choice is no longer in their hands.

    1. I remember an older case. Guy was a serial mugger back when that used to be a thing. He avoided areas of town that had high concentrations of police officers and other people who could get permits to carry. Preyed on people in neighborhoods in the city where guns were almost impossible to get unless you were a cop or connected politically. Even though these areas were still “working class” and right next to each other, he refused to mug people outside of a certain area. His reasoning was completely logical, “people in that neighborhood throw bullets at you, people from this neighborhood throw wallets.”

  7. “concealed-gun permits for employees of Seattle-based executive security contractor AS Solution.”

    This is a second and arguably larger issue here — these permits are being issued to people who are quasi-cops (and often wanna-be cops). Not being mentioned in the post-George Floyd hysteria are all the armed private security folk who often are far more dangerous than sworn officers — and far less accountable.

    If anyone should have a background check, it is these folk.

    1. Politicians are starting to use them more and more too. Less public scrutiny as the private employer can hide behind the contract. The only record open to disclosure is just a generic agreement with the company for a bucket of money.

      Private security also not nearly as accountable as police. Although technically they don’t get qualified immunity, those corps will bury any litigation in lawyers. Just trying to get a modest settlement for an assault is going to take you 2 lawyers and 4 years. The company doesn’t care as it is accountable to no one.

      1. That’s why I laugh when people talk about licensing cops — I already strongly suspect that a lot of private security consists of fired cops who no other chief wants to touch, so unless we license these folk too, exactly what will be accomplished?

        They can kill Black men just as quickly as anyone else, and for the reasons you note, with far fewer consequences.

        1. Many are “wannabe cops” who realized meeting the qualifications then doing the academy then starting on night traffic duty wasn’t a great lifestyle. Just easier to go to the private security company, do the minimal training required to get a license, and *poof* just about as good as a cop. Nice thing, as far as sociopath private security guy is concerned though, is not as much accountability.

          Most “cases” can be settled with a good beating. Rarely have to testify or do lots of paperwork. And if you do something questionable the executives will back you up because they want to shield the company for the liability.

        2. And you know, if you WERE a fired cop, particularly depending on *why* you were fired, that might actually be a problem in obtaining a CCL under a legitimate proceeding.

          For example, if you were fired for discharging your service revolver in some drunken barroom altercation, I could see not issuing you a CCL, at least without some assurance that you aren’t routinely getting drunk out of your mind anymore. Likewise with the Mass State Trooper who resigned for a drunken altercation at, of all things, a Luke Bryant concert.

          They don’t have a felony conviction because these crimes aren’t prosecuted — the trooper’s case was dropped because the victims didn’t want to testify — but a genuine background check would find it.

          That’s the other issue with bribery — the purportedly necessary governmental function is never done.

          1. Often cops are let go with no indication of the reason. They are allowed to resign, to avoid the inevitable hearings and police union litigation. The result is an experienced cop off the force with little or no indication of the reason for leaving moving to another force.

          2. Yes cops tend not to prosecute their own. They might get you off the force, but it is just bad for the department to have a felony level prosecution of an officer (even an eventual ex-officer.)

            I’ve seen many cops avoid public scrutiny by taking quiet settlements. The victim gets paid off and is told to keep quiet and the officer is given some severance while being told that their will be no public records generated. They quietly leave the force and transition into private employment. No one is the wiser and no one has incentive to speak up.

    2. I’ve worked as private, armed, security in California. There is a thorough background check, mandated training before the “gun card” is issued as well as at least $500 in fees for trading and background checks and application fees. The card is good for two years and training is required every six months. After two years the application and fees have to be sent in again.

      Armed security is treated exactly like every other private citizen if you actual have to draw or fire your gun. If anything it would be better if cops had to go through what private security did to carry on duty.

  8. Concealed carry prevents gun-shaming in Wisconsin with traditional open carry and lightly regulated concealed carry.

    Again, compare and contrast masking; that we should wear a mask for public safety, even if the individual feels no need.


  9. This is why Democrats like more laws…more opportunities for graft.

  10. Los Angeles county sheriff has a two tier system for Ccw’s. All judges get a permit, no questions asked. Permits are processed separately from the general public. Deputy district attorneys from hardcore gang and crimes against police officers also get a permit no questions asked. Everyone else, no permit, ever. LAPD has issued 5 total permits Total for the tenure of chiefs Bratton and beck. LASD, a handful more. At least San Jose gives you the opportunity to buy a permit.

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