Since the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a New York gun law in June last year, local police departments have seen a surge in approved concealed carry permits, according to KSBY.
The ruling removed the need for applicants to provide a “proper cause” for carrying a concealed firearm. The Santa Maria Police Department has already received 26 applications this year, compared to the annual average of 20.
As of February, the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office has approved 55 applications, a significant increase from just one approval the previous year.
People applying for concealed carry permits must meet requirements such as background checks, proof of purchase, and a 16-hour training course in Santa Barbara County. Training courses cover gun safety, laws on firearm use, gunshot wound first aid, and practical skills like drawing from a holster and speed-reloading. The Santa Maria Police Department is streamlining the application process with new software to make it more user-friendly.
Despite having a permit, concealed firearms are still prohibited in areas like schools, courthouses, and businesses selling alcohol. In response to the ruling and recent mass shootings, California Governor Gavin Newsom and state leaders are working to strengthen concealed carry laws, raising the required age to 21 and limiting licensees to carrying no more than two firearms in public at any time.