The Long Beach City Council will vote at its Tuesday meeting on whether to move forward with a new online application system for private citizens who wish to apply for a permit to carry a concealed weapon.
The agenda item is for a two-year, $3,000 contract with the company that would provide the new system. The City Council will take up the contract as part of its consent calendar, meaning no discussion is scheduled and approval is expected.
While the contract would be for two years, the city manager’s office has the option to renew it for two additional one-year periods, according to a staff report on the contract.
The Long Beach Police Department, which has long given concealed weapon permits only to honorably retired law enforcement officers, has been reviewing its policies since the summer, following a U.S. Supreme Court decision that struck down a New York law regulating such permits. Then in August, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, which had been issuing permits to Long Beach residents, announced that it would end that practice, leaving the LBPD to issue them instead.
The proposed contract for the new application system, which would be with North Carolina-based company Permitium, would allow the LPBD to comply with state laws governing concealed weapons licenses, according to department spokesperson Allison Gallagher.
The application system is “end-to-end,” meaning it handles the application, background check tracking, processing, payment and issuance of licenses, according to city officials. The system offers a variety of online applications that handle weapon permits, licenses, sex offender tracking, vital records, fingerprints, service of process and even funeral processions.
The Permitium concealed weapons permitting system is already in use in by the Orange, Ventura, Riverside, Mariposa and Sacramento County Sheriff’s Departments, according to city officials.
It is unclear when private citizens will be able to apply for a concealed weapon permit, according to Gallagher. But a firearms safety course will be required as part of the application process, though Gallagher said application fees are still in development.
A new system is necessary as the LA County Sheriff’s Department’s agreement with the LBPD to issue permits expired Aug. 1, and the sheriff’s department decided it would no longer process applications for Long Beach or other cities that don’t contract with the sheriff’s department for police services.
The sheriff’s decision came amid a crush of new concealed weapon applications following the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down a New York State law that required applicants to show “good cause” for needing to carry a concealed firearm.
New York’s concealed carry law was very similar to California’s, and the decision prompted the California Attorney General’s office to warn district attorneys, police chiefs and sheriffs that they could no longer require concealed carry applicants to show “good cause”—although they could still use tools like background checks and interviews to screen applicants for “good moral character.”
Amid all the changes in the legal landscape, some residents have been left without clarity on their own attempts to secure a permit. Steve Turner, for example, applied for a permit eight months ago. The president of the Long Beach chapter of the California Rifle & Pistol Association, Turner said he applied for a permit from the Sheriff’s Department back in the late winter, before the Supreme Court’s decision, when the LBPD-LASD agreement was still in effect.
He said he hasn’t heard anything about his application since then, and had no way to find out its status.
“Everybody is just in a holding pattern,” he said.
Turner, who said he recently taught a class in how to apply for a concealed weapon permit for the CPRA, liked the idea of moving the application process online.
“The thing about it going online is that you should be able to track your application,” he said.