SACRAMENTO, CA - Sacramento County may be about to experience an increase in the number of gun owners with permits to carry concealed weapons.
Sheriff John McGinness called it a necessary move, given his department's lack of resources to properly protect the public.
"I think in the interest of doing right by the public and the constituency, we had to make some acknowledgement of the fact that it's a different environment out there," McGinness said. "As things have changed, our ability to respond effectively and ensure their safety has been compromised. Therefore, I think it's only appropriate that we look at these applications with a different thought process in mind."
Gun owner George Perry agreed that McGinness is doing the right thing.
"There is just too much crime out there for a person to be able to call for police when they need them cause there's just too few officers," Perry said.
But gun control advocates feel differently. They said the decrease in support staff at the sheriff's department is not a good enough reason to allow more people to carry concealed weapons.
"By weakening the standards for carrying concealed weapons, it's not a way to deal with the budget cuts to public safety," said Rebecca Gonzales, who defends the gun control measure knwn as Brady's Law.
There is one thing that those on both sides of the concealed carry issue do agree on and that is that even law-abiding citizens with the best intentions can misuse a weapon without the proper training.
Perry said, "If people are really serious about owning a handgun, they don't want to be shooting themselves in the leg and going to prison."
The sheriff himself stressed that he doesn't plan to make it any easier to get a permit .
"All of the same criteria have to be taken into account on the part of the person who would potentially be holding that weapon," McGinness said.