Many people have been concerned about the recent change in Orange County Sheriff Department’s change in their requirements for “good cause” that must be proven to obtain a permit after March 26th, 2015.  Yes, the Peruta vs. San Diego decision was overturned by the courts and a few counties which had changed their policies declared that they would go back to requiring “good cause” as part of their application process.  However, as you can see with the updates below, the OC Sheriff has issued permits since 2015 basically as “shall issue”.  In other words, even though some form of “good cause” documentation is required, the process is much less rigid than the initial changes in 2014.  The OCSD highly encourages you to go forward with the process and to not be dissuaded by the recent changes.  Compile a statement of your safety concerns and present them to the best of your ability.  Please let us know if you have any questions and don’t let any rumors of a difficult good cause requirement weigh on your decision to apply in any matter whatsoever.  Below you will find more information on the most recent updates of the “good cause” process in Orange County:

*UPDATE 6-25-22- The U.S. Supreme Court ruled on June 23, 2022 in the New York State Rifle and Pistol Association v. Bruen case that the 2nd Amendment extends to the right for protection outside of the home.  The justices ruled 6-3 that it was unconstitutional to require a special need in order to obtain a CCW permit.  Effectively, the California Attorney General quickly issued an AG Alert that directed all law enforcement agencies that issue permits to stop requiring a “Good Cause” reason from applicants.  It is yet to be seen what other requirements will now be added by way of demonstrating “Good Character” or what new “sensitive areas” may be added to the list of prohibited locations to carry firearms, but the current situation will most likely see a very quick expansion of issuance of licenses.  Future California laws will be tested in the courts according the new standards set by the Supreme Court this week.

*Update- 6-27-2015- I recently had a conversation with an official with the County Board of Supervisors.  They help steer policy making for the county, including providing guidance and oversight for the OC Sheriff’s Department programs.  This following provides a summary of some good news from the OCSD which I think anyone interested in applying should consider:

1) Unconfirmed officially, upwards of 97% of those applicants now being considered under the “new” Good Cause policy have been approved.  In the most conservative projection, at least 80-90% are still receiving their permits.  Information from the OCSD is that roughly the same number of applications are being approved after this latest Peruta decision as the number of approved applications before when “self-protection” was sufficient good cause.  If the applicant had already been approved before the March 2015 change took place, no such applicant has been denied.

2) All Good Cause statements receive final approval from one individual in the Professional Standards Division, Lt. Stiverson.  Lt. Stiverson is known to be very fair and objective in determining if an individual meets the Good Cause requirement.  He’s been described as be being very pro-CCW and supportive of law-abiding citizens in receiving their permits.  Consequently, it’s not a “luck-of-the-draw” situation according to which investigator your application is assigned.  The OCSD makes every attempt to apply a consistent standard to the CCW process.

3) Despite what many believe, the OCSD does not receive any revenue from applicants applying for their CCW permits.  That is… no revenue is received until the applicant obtains final approval and pays the final license fee of $102.22 when the permit is issued.  In other words, the OCSD gains nothing by requiring the applicant to submit the background check fee to the DOJ, only to later deny them final approval for the permit.  If there were an ulterior motive to raise revenue through the OCSD process, it would actually benefit the department to approve 100% of the applications.

All indications are that you will be approved if you put just a little thought in your Good Cause statement.  While simply stating that it’s your 2nd Amendment right or that you want it for self-protection won’t suffice at this point in time, you also don’t need to have extraordinary circumstances.  The OCSD wants you to help them help YOU.  Because of the way the sheriff is interpreting the Peruta reversal, all they’re asking is that you give them something they can put in your file as justification.  That something may be that your job has a little more risk than the average person.  It might be that you have to travel through high crime areas to work, school, or daily routine.  It might be that there’s been shootings or violent crimes, drug deals, break-ins, etc. in your neighborhood and you’re worried when you walk to your car or take the dog for a walk.  While ultimately the applicant needs to articulate and write their own statement, several instructors are willing to help by asking the applicant pertinent questions about their lifestyle and situation that they may not have previously considered.

The sheriff has implemented her policy as she feels is appropriate considering the legal standing of the case.  However, the OCSD shares the frustration of thousands of citizens in having to adapt to the current legal hurdles.  Remember, this is the department that began issuing permits without Good Cause even before the court’s ruling became final.  That should say something about their support of CCW permits by lawful citizens.  Their message now to Orange County residents is one of encouragement.  Trust them.  Keep applying.

*Update- 6-9-16- The 9th Circuit made their decision on the Peruta case appeal today.  Finding that the right to carry a concealed weapon is not guaranteed by the 2nd Amendment, the court overturned the original Peruta decision.  While disappointing, there are several strong arguments that can be made on appeal if the Supreme Court decides to hear this case or a similar one.  In the meantime, the OCSD has no plans to change their policy to an even more restrictive “good cause” requirement.  The latest statistic is very promising in that 98% of applications are being approved.  Don’t let the Peruta case discourage you.  Just put a little thought into your statement and you’ll be fine.

*Update- 1-16-18- From a meeting with the OCSD today, they conveyed that the county leads the state in the number of permits issued.  The total count stands at about 12,500 active permits with 1,500 in the cue.  Officials stated that this wasn’t a contest, but they’re proud to lead the state in as close to a “shall issue” situation as they feel they can legally do it.  For those of you worried about about good cause statements in your application, we were told that in the past year not one applicant was denied solely for a lack of good cause.  If you don’t hear anything back from them about your good cause and asking for more information once you complete the online application, then you can usually consider it already approved.