Last week San Bernardino County Sheriff John McMahon issued a statement detailing his philosophy in regards to issuing concealed weapons permits. In the first full calendar year since he took office, the department issued permits to 720 applicants, an increase of 360 percent.

“I have worked hard to expedite the application process with most applicants completing the process in approximately 90 days,” says McMahon. “Prior to my becoming sheriff it was not unusual for the process to take over a year.”

McMahon says that as sheriff his priority is to uphold the United States Constitution and the laws of the State of California. As such, there are four criteria to qualify for a concealed weapons permit.

Applicants must be of good moral character. The department conducts an extensive background check to assure there are no legal reasons prohibiting an applicant from carrying a concealed weapon such as a criminal record or mental health issues.

Applicants must show good cause for issuance of the permit. According to McMahon, “It has been my position that personal protection is sufficient cause for the issuance of a license. The personal protection standard was recently validated by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in their Peruta v. San Diego decision. As sheriff I will continue to issue permits for personal protection.”

The applicant must be a resident of San Bernardino County. Those living in an incorporated area within the county may apply to the sheriff’s department even if the department does not provide policing services to their city or town.

And finally, the applicant must complete an eight-hour training course. The course deals with deadly force and legal responsibilities. Applicants must also qualify on a range to assure they know how to shoot and handle a firearm properly so as not to present a risk to the public.

“As your sheriff I will continue to work to protect your Constitutional rights while preserving public safety. I know that law abiding, responsible citizens who choose to arm themselves for personal protection do not cause crime, and are also less likely to be victimized,” McMahon concludes.

Anyone interested in obtaining more information can find information on the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department website. There is an online application process.

Source: Sharon Gilbert,