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View Full Version : OC Register: Sheriff stands firm on gun permit plan


.454
02-11-2009, 10:33 AM
Video available here (http://transsylvaniaphoenix.blogspot.com/2009/02/oc-register-sheriff-stands-firm-on-gun.html)

Sheriff stands firm on gun permit plan
Hutchens tell activists, supervisors her policy to reduce permits remains
BY NORBERTO SANTANA JR.


Sheriff Sandra Hutchens stood firm Tuesday against the county board of supervisors and hundreds of gun-owners threatening recall because of her controversial plan to reduce concealed weapons permits.

Hutchens, in the third public hearing on the issue in four months, told the crowd and county supervisors that her position had not changed since she first unveiled the new policy last fall -- despite some minor adjustments on how she plans to revoke more than 400 permits.

"I don't make the law. But I am required to enforce the law," said Hutchens, reiterating her view that California state law only allows certain exceptions to the ban on concealed guns in public.

"I realize this is a very passionate issue," Hutchens said. "I suppose the safe course of action would be to ignore the law and find a way around it."

While refusing to budge on the gun permits, Hutchens seemed to attempt a conciliatory tone, wearing a pants suit instead of her official uniform, and bringing a smaller entourage that did not include a top aide disciplined for exchanging disparaging text messages during a previous hearing.

Hutchens noted state statutes that give sheriffs wide discretion in granting gun permits. Former Sheriff Mike Carona was an avid supporter of gun rights and expanding the concealed weapons permits in Orange County.

But after federal prosecutors accused Carona of trading gun permits for campaign contributions, Hutchens decided to adopt a more restrictive policy and apply it retroactively.

Hutchens believes the law provides limited exceptions.

While all five county supervisors told her they did not agree, and warned Hutchens that she is misreading Orange County culture, they said they were powerlessness on the issue Tuesday.

"I do believe this policy remains overly restrictive for our county," said board Chairwoman Pat Bates.

But Bates admitted to the crowd, "the board really can't do much more than make our views known."

She announced this was the last hearing on the issue.

Supervisor Bill Campbell lamented publicly that he could have done a better job of sensing Hutchens views before voting to appoint her sheriff in June.

While Hutchens seemed to withstand the critiques of gun activists and county supervisors, it hasn't come without some damage.

Three different investigations are ongoing into her department's actions during the previous two gun hearings.

Hutchens launched an internal probe into a series of embarrassing text messages that her command staff sent to each other during a Nov. 18 hearing. She also launched another internal investigation into an incident where security cameras operated by a sheriff's investigator focused on the notes of two supervisors.

Meanwhile, the Office of Independent Review is monitoring another investigation into the increased security by sheriff's officials at a Jan. 13 hearing on the permits. Gun owners who attended that meeting have accused the department of trying to intimidate them.

And on Tuesday, county supervisors moved closer to removing the sheriff's department from providing security at the Hall of Administration. The Santa Ana Police Department has indicated interest in providing security to replace the sheriff's department, officials said.

Also, a dispute between the board and Hutchens over the ownership of the security tapes from the January board meeting is still simmering despite an offer by Hutchens Tuesday to abide by conditions set by supervisors for viewing the tapes.

Bruce3
02-11-2009, 11:34 AM
How dare the OC Register show footage of the audience they're endangering the lives uncover officers and their families! :p

Stormfeather
02-11-2009, 11:53 AM
Why dont they just do a recall of the sheriff? Can they do that?

Bruce3
02-11-2009, 12:14 PM
from what i understand they can only ask her to resign someone made a good point that the BoS should just give her the option of moving up her expiration date or be revoked! :D

tango-52
02-11-2009, 12:16 PM
Why dont they just do a recall of the sheriff? Can they do that?The regular election is scheduled for the fall of 2010. It would take that long to get her recalled, so better to spend the money pointing out Huntchens' flaws and supporting a better candidate. :thumbsup:

SgtDinosaur
02-11-2009, 1:58 PM
Why does she think she is "enforcing the law"? Is that law only inside her head? What law says a county sheriff can't issue permits?

Cypren
02-11-2009, 2:03 PM
Why does she think she is "enforcing the law"? Is that law only inside her head? What law says a county sheriff can't issue permits?

She's following a non-official letter of opinion issued by the California Attorney General's office which states that "good cause" as defined by law requires an extraordinarily high degree of danger to a given individual beyond that of the general populace. It is not binding law, nor even an official legal opinion (as Supervisor Norby pointed out yesterday in the meeting), but it is a very convenient excuse for sheriffs who do not wish to issue to the general public to hide behind.

She dodged the question of whether or not, in her view, the 38 county sheriffs in California who do issue for reasons of personal protection are breaking the law.

DDT
02-11-2009, 2:19 PM
She's following a non-official letter of opinion issued by the California Attorney General's office which states that "good cause" as defined by law requires an extraordinarily high degree of danger to a given individual beyond that of the general populace. It is not binding law, nor even an official legal opinion (as Supervisor Norby pointed out yesterday in the meeting), but it is a very convenient excuse for sheriffs who do not wish to issue to the general public to hide behind.


The BoS could easily pass an ordinance that "good cause" is personal protection. It would probably not be binding but would pull this arrow from the sheriff's quiver. Of course, if someone were denied a CCW and sued the County and the Sheriff if the BoS directed the county attorney to "no show" the court would rule in favor of the CCW applicant. That would complicate the sheriff's job a plenty.

Cypren
02-11-2009, 2:22 PM
The BoS could easily pass an ordinance that "good cause" is personal protection. It would probably not be binding but would pull this arrow from the sheriff's quiver. Of course, if someone were denied a CCW and sued the County and the Sheriff if the BoS directed the county attorney to "no show" the court would rule in favor of the CCW applicant. That would complicate the sheriff's job a plenty.

I'm pretty sure that County Counsel wouldn't permit them to get involved in that fashion due to legal liability and jurisdictional issues. They already passed a non-binding resolution in November expressing the sense of the Board that the existing CCW issuance policy should stand, and that's about as much as they can do in this regard. The sheriff still has discretion, and she's chosen to adhere to the Attorney General's letter, or at least to take cover behind it.

DDT
02-11-2009, 2:26 PM
I'm pretty sure that County Counsel wouldn't permit them to get involved in that fashion due to legal liability and jurisdictional issues. They already passed a non-binding resolution in November expressing the sense of the Board that the existing CCW issuance policy should stand, and that's about as much as they can do in this regard. The sheriff still has discretion, and she's chosen to adhere to the Attorney General's letter, or at least to take cover behind it.

I believe (though am admittedly not certain) that the County Counsel is a hired job and does report directly to the BoS unlike the Sheriff. If the BoS directs the Counsel to "no show" I am fairly certain they would do so. Now, the Sheriff might have in-house counsel who would show but that would have budgetary consequences which again goes through the BoS.

They could make her life extremely difficult but have decided this isn't the hill on which to do battle.

Cypren
02-11-2009, 2:37 PM
I believe (though am admittedly not certain) that the County Counsel is a hired job and does report directly to the BoS unlike the Sheriff.

That's correct. The County Counsel's position, however, is to render legal advice to the officers of the county in order to guide their decisionmaking. When I said the Counsel "wouldn't allow it," I meant that he would strongly advise against it due to liability concerns for the county. That would mean that the Board would be on record as having taken a position to the great detriment of county resources against legal advice from their appointed counsel. That can have very serious implications for the next election, and would only be worth doing if this was an issue they were willing to fall on their swords over. It isn't.

Glock22Fan
02-11-2009, 6:26 PM
I was thinking about this earlier. Usually, you would sue the Sheriff, the Board of Supervisors as a body and probably as individuals, and maybe a couple more people (it's easier to take them off later than it is to add them).

In this case, the BoS has clearly established that the Sheriff is not following their policy. I think that this might let the BoS and (probably) the county off the hook, and leave Hutchens swinging on her own.

I am not a lawyer, so maybe RomansDad or one of his fellow learned gentlefolk will disagree with me, but it raises interesting thoughts.

motorhead
02-11-2009, 7:59 PM
a recall drive would send a message. waiting until the regular election is only a cost saving measure. a recall movement would send a message to her sucessor also.