There are many reasons applicants are denied the right to carry a hand gun, prior brushes with the law, inconsistent legal records or lack of need, however in San Diego it appears if they just don’t like you your conceal carry permit application it is stamped – DENIED.
It’s true California is a liberal state and as such keeps a close eye on the state’s gun owners, however, San Diego takes exception to what constitutes residency in order to prevent gun owners from legally carrying their weapon. As a result, Edward Peruta has filed a lawsuit against San Diego County and Sheriff William Gore – leveling some precedent setting charges.
Peruta, a Connecticut native, owns home in several states (including California), calls himself a liberal Democrat and is a firm believer in the Second Amendment and finds it odd that he is having so many troubles in San Diego.
“I guess you could say my wife sums it up best, California seems to follow the ‘rules de jour,’” Peruta said.
His San Diego saga began when he and his wife decided to take their home on the road, a motor home that is. When the Peruta’s made the decision to travel across the country law enforcement officers encouraged him to carry a firearm for protection.
“It seemed plausible enough, we were traveling in a vehicle with only one exit, carrying quite a bit of cash and would pass through areas where cell phone coverage would be spotty,” Peruta explained. “So I naturally looked into what the process was for states around the country and put together a piecemeal gun owner application process in the states I owned homes. I wanted to make sure I was covered wherever I traveled.”
His logic garnered him three conceal carry permits in the states of Connecticut, Florida and Utah. In each state he went through the application process that included references and background checks. Smooth sailing for Peruta in other states would not meet with the same result in San Diego.
“I knew there was going to be trouble when I turned in my application at the San Diego Sheriff’s office and they denied me before they even took my application! I was stunned by their lack of candor,” Peruta explains.
According to the San Diego Sheriff’s paperwork they received Peruta’s application and he was interviewed by Donna Burns, a licensed supervisor on November 17, 2008. During the initial phase of the CCW application process Burns advised him he did not meet the criteria for a CCW license and was denied the ability to turn in an application.
“I wasn’t happy about the decision and returned in December to talk to Blanca Pelowitz, a manager, who concurred with her staff that I did not qualify to even hand in my application for processing,” he said.
At this point his career in journalism kicked in and he insisted the Sheriff’s Department take his application, his references and required fees.
In paperwork obtained from Peruta, the San Diego Sheriff ‘s office had this to say. “Despite the fact Peruta was told he did not meet the criteria for a CCW license Peruta insisted this office accept his application. Peruta was advised that no monies would be refunded once his application was accepted.”
Houston we have a problem, collecting 100 percent of the fees and not refunding money is against California Penal Code.
This is where the San Diego Sheriff Department ‘s claim begins to unravel. The psychic abilities of the San Diego Sheriff’s office are amazing. Apparently they can predict which CCW applications will be approved and those that won’t without reading and checking completed CCW applications.
One of the main sticking points for San Diego Sheriff employees is the fact Peruta lives in his motor home at Campland on the Bay in San Diego, from November 15 to April 15 each year. The department balks at Peruta’s residence even though he has presented paperwork for the last two years, fulfilling the residency requirement the Sheriff Department claims is mandatory for a successful application.
The lawsuit Peruta filed will tackle the residency issue San Diego is claiming as the leading indicator for denial of his CCW permit. The thorough process the SD Sheriff’s office says they completed did not include contacting the plaintiff’s eight character references, including three law enforcement officers, disregarding the three states that have issued CCW permits to Peruta already and looking at the “good cause” aspects in connected to the CCW submitted application.
Wording contained in the Second Amendment lawsuit stipulated Peruta provided all the required information necessary for a successful application. Mr. Peruta also turned in a completed and certified National Rifles Association (NRA) Basic Pistol Safety Course, an eight-hour Firearms Safety Proficiency Certificate, Good Cause and Durational Residency in San Diego, yet he was still turned down.
San Diego Sheriff candidate, Jay LaSuer, who is running against Gore in the upcoming election, has made many statements about the CCW process and has openly endorsed a “shall issue” stance. “If a person can pass a background check and is a law abiding citizen they ‘shall’ receive a CCW license,” LaSuer explains. “When you have a Sheriff like Gore who doesn’t understand the law, how can you expect him to apply it?”
The County and Sheriff’s Department have requested the case be dismissed, however the law remains on Peruta’s side and he is prepared to take this all the way. “I’ve discussed this with my attorney and we will take it to the Supreme Court if we need to,” he candidly said.
Looking down the road Peruta remains confident. “I never thought of anything but winning, and often think of the people who don’t know how to litigate or don’t have the personal funds or funding sources to solve their problems. I wasn’t looking for a legal fight with San Diego but couldn’t walk away given the facts and circumstances. I have the facts, knowledge, finances and legal resources to address this issue.”
What does Peruta want to happen as a result of the lawsuit? He hopes the staff of the San Diego Sheriff’s Department becomes educated, by court order or agreement if need be in how to read and implement provisions of the California Penal Code and make decisions based on the exact wording contained in the state law. He says it’s important for public employees regardless of the public agency they work for to listen, and treat individuals with the respect they deserve.
The continued disconnect between ‘real America’ and ‘bureaucratic America’ creates an unnecessary barrier for Joe taxpayer the result often ends with a lawsuit. “I would like public employees to stop adding or using words which are not contained in the law when making decisions,” Peruta explains.
Looking to change the way the San Diego Sheriff’s office does business is priority number one for Peruta, but the fact that many California residents don’t understand the law as it is written means they rely on public officials to be truthful during the application process.
“I believe that if this case is not settled and finds its way for whatever reason to a higher court, it has the potential to impact the right to bear arms across the country for countless law abiding individuals. I’d like to believe that this case will clarify and correct the current pattern of abuse which exists in the State of California regarding CCW licenses,” Peruta says.
At a minimum, Peruta would like to obtain and possess a government issued CCW permit, to exercise his second amendment right to defend himself and family members if necessary in California and receive compensation for the substantial amount of legal fees this case is sure to generate.
The San Diego Sheriff’s Department was contacted to respond to this lawsuit and have refused to respond.
For more stories; http://www.examiner.com/x-10317-San-Diego-County-Political-Buzz-Examiner