The Long Beach City Council approved a contract at its Tuesday meeting for a new online application system for private citizens who wish to apply for a permit to carry a concealed firearm.

The decision is a step toward Long Beach beginning to issue more concealed-weapon permits, but it’s still unclear who will be able to acquire one or even when the city will begin accepting applications. The Long Beach Police Department has yet to decide on screening criteria.

The two-year, $3,000 contract with North Carolina-based company Permitium would allow the LBPD to comply with state laws governing concealed-weapons licenses, according to a department spokesperson.

The LBPD, 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 new 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.

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.

It is unclear when private citizens will be able to apply for a concealed-weapon permit, according to the LBPD. While a firearms safety course will be required as part of the application process, application fees and other criteria are still in development.

The 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 the 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” why they needed a permit—although they could still use tools like background checks and interviews to screen applicants for “good moral character.”

City Council to weigh contract for concealed weapons permit application system for private citizens

Anthony Pignataro is an investigative reporter and editor for the Long Beach Post. He has close to three decades of experience in journalism leading numerous investigations and long-form journalism projects for the OC Weekly and other publications. He joined the Post in May 2021.