The Santa Monica Police Department (SMPD) will start issuing Concealed Carry Weapon (CCW) licenses for the first time in several years and Council will decide how much to charge residents for that service at their March 14 council meeting.

Prior to August 1, 2022, the SMPD would refer all applications to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department (LASD). However, following a recent Supreme Court ruling, the LASD has seen an influx of applications that’s exceeded their processing ability.

Winning with a 6–3 decision in the case New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v Bruen, the majority ruled that New York’s law was unconstitutional and that the ability to carry a pistol in public was a constitutional right under the Second Amendment. Governor Gavin Newsom called the ruling “shameful” and a “dark day for America.”

Prior to the Supreme Court’s ruling, there was a requirement within the California state law that required “good cause” to issue a CCW. Applicants have to show that danger would be significantly mitigated by the applicant’s carrying of a concealed firearm.

Following that Supreme Court ruling, California Attorney General Rob Bonta has stated that the state’s “good cause” requirement is also likely unconstitutional as well and should not be enforced. The resulting flood of applications has caused the LASD to cease processing CCW applications for independent municipalities, like Santa Monica, that are within the LASD’s jurisdiction.

According to the City, LASD currently has approximately 150 applications in various phases of the process for Santa Monica applicants: 83 in queue, 46 approved, 9 denied and 11 inactive.

SMPD is recommending the use of a third party service to streamline the process with a proposed fee of $617 for new applicants. Of that, $398 for new applications and $348 for renewals would go to the vendor. These costs do not include other fees for fingerprinting, psychological evaluation, and a range safety course. The additional $219 would cover mounting administrative and processing costs.

In addition, Council will discuss rules allowing for commercial activity on private property.

“The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in sudden closures and reduction in services throughout the Santa Monica business community. As part of the City’s economic recovery efforts, the City established the Santa Monica Temporary Outdoor Use Permit Program for businesses in accordance with State and County health emergency orders and social distancing requirements. Under this initial program, businesses applied to temporarily use areas within the public right-of-way including sidewalks, on-street parking spaces for parklets, portions of the Santa Monica Pier and Third Street Promenade, and private outdoor space for commercial activities. The program has supported a variety of businesses including restaurants, fitness, personal services, and retail within both public areas and within on-site surface parking lots or open space on privately-owned property of the subject business,” said the staff report.

The use of public property has been codified in the recent changes to the parklet program and Tuesday’s discussion will focus on similar concerns for using private spaces.

Tuesday’s meeting will also see a public hearing and public comment on the Sustainable City Plan update. The Plan was founded on a total of 11 “guiding principles” initially adopted in 1994 that provide the basis from which effective and sustainable decisions can be made.

Staff recommends the addition of a 12th guiding principle derived from the adopted Racial Equity Statement made by Council on September 8, 2020, to advance racial justice in Santa Monica.

As per tomorrow’s agenda, “The City is committed to advancing equity and social diversity to improve the wellbeing of people who live, work, play, and do business in our City, by:

• Identifying and rectifying the policies, practices, and behaviors that perpetuate racism, discrimination, and other negative racial-based outcomes.

Cultivating an inclusive and fair environment where all people in Santa Monica, in particular disenfranchised communities of color, thrive in the areas of health, economic vitality, and connectedness.”

Avatar photo

Scott Snowden

Scott fell in love with Santa Monica when he was much younger and now, after living and working in five different countries, he has returned. He's written for the likes of the FT, NBC, the BBC and CNN.