Problems with discretion: Few Concealed Handgun Permits Given to Hispanics, Blacks, or Women in Los Angeles County

Jul 13, 2017 | Featured

In 2013, LA Weekly obtained a list of the 341 concealed carry permit holders in Los Angeles County, California.  That is only about 0.0045% of the 7.7 million adults living in the county in 2013.  As of January this year, there were only 226 permits, about 0.0029% of the adult population.  By contrast, today over 6.53% of the adult population in the US has permits.  Outside the restrictive states of California and New York, about 8% of the adult population have permits.  LA Weekly pointed out that the people given permits were judges, reserve deputy sheriffs, and a small group who gave campaign contributions or gifts to then-Sheriff Lee Baca.  Something that LA Weekly didn’t do was look at the list to determine the race of those lucky few getting permits.  In Los Angeles County in 2013, about 48.1% of the people living there were Hispanic, and 9% were black.

To check the race of those who received permits, we used two approaches.  First, we did Google searches as well as searches on social media to find information on people. Using this, we identified the race of 135 people: 4 Hispanics (3%), 7 blacks (5.2%), 15 Asians (11.1%), and 109 whites.  Only 16 were females (11.9%).  Hispanics and women had much lower permitting rates than the general population and the rates that those groups obtained concealed handgun permits in places that don’t allow authorities discretion in determining whether people have a justifiable need to carry a gun for protection.  Asians were not as different than their 14.4% of the population in 2013.

For all 341 names, we used a website that listed the probability that the last name is Hispanic.  We included any last name as Hispanic when the probability of them being Hispanic was at least 5%.  Doing that implied that a total of 22 of the 341 people could be Hispanic (6.5%), still a number dramatically lower than their share of the population.  There are three names that we couldn’t classify as male or female (Bobbie, Tracy, Robbie), but if you assume that they are all women, only 26 of the 341 permit holders are women (7.6%).  At the low end, 23, or 6.7%, are women.

By comparison, in a new report looking at data for 2016 that will be released next week, 14 states that provide information on the gender of permit holders had an average of 36% of the permit holders being women.  Eight states that had similar information on race showed that 11% of permit holders were black.

Previous work that we have done has discussed the impact of how gun control in Chicago on the poor obtaining handguns.  In Chicago and DC, the zip codes that have guns under Democrat rules tend to be higher income and much more heavily white areas.

Data available here for download (Excel file): CCW Licensees in LA County




  1. Jay Dee

    Growing up in Missouri, I remember a Democratic candidate running for reelection as county sheriff on the basis that he “never issued a pistol permit to any Jews, niggers or uppity females “. Although the language has changed, the end result is the same.

  2. daniel

    341 is all you need to know. Racism against all who didnt donate or campaign for Baca. Meanwhile all the crooks carry without permits and if caught do a couple of weeks (tops) in jail. Most will not serve a day.

  3. FactsForYOU

    You can’t get a permit if you have a felony or are not a legal citizen.

    • oldshooter

      True, but that’s true all over the country. For this to have an impact on the data in this study, one would have to believe that the percentage of applicants in those categories in LA County is FAR higher than the same percentage among the rest of the country, since that is effectively the “control group.”

    • GenXConservative

      Are you insinuating that the entire population of LA County except for 341 people consists of felons and illegal aliens, and that this is why so few permits have been issued?

    • Tionico

      Are you suggesting that 99.997% of LA County Residents are “impaired” when it comes to gun ownership? Because if you are, then the entire county should be fenced off and isolated. In my state, fully ten percent of adults have their Mother May I Carry a Handgun tickets. Same with the one to the south. The next two eastward approach fifteen percent Our violent crime rates in this region are amongst the lowest in the country/

      Take a look at California’s Tulare COunty… there the sheriff has long taken a “shall issue” stance. In that large county (several times the land area of LA County) with a low population (under half a million) as of four years ago there were 4,000 active permits issued. That’s still slightly less than one percent. The rate in my whole state is ten percent… more than half a million. Still, Tulare COunty reports a VERY low violent crime rate… most crimes are petty (vehicle related, drunk driving, speeding, etc. and property crimes of opportunity. Housebreakings are rare, but breakins into ag outbuildings (for things to steal and turn into cash) are high.

    • Derrell Thomas

      In Los Angeles, I have applied twice over a period of 2 years and were denied both times. I have no felony, I am a legal citizen, serve in honor as a security officer (unarmed) with higher than most other officers secular clearance with my job.
      I have no hope of getting a CCW living in LA county.

  4. Robert Riley

    What do you expect from a county where the police and local government are bigoted? Even if you didn’t have all that crime, those asswipes wouldn’t still issue permits to law abiding Blacks, Hispanics and women. They have to maintain their fucking status quo to perpetuate the bogus myth of white supremacy

  5. Mongoose

    What a bunch of racist, misogynistic, gunphobics.

  6. Patrick F

    Here in CA, each County has three choices regarding Concealed Weapons Carry Permits, set by County Government:
    1) Shall Issue: No problem. Fill out the form, take the course (as required), in-depth Background Check , shooting accuracy test. Pass these and you get a permit.

    2) May Issue: Or may not, depends on you convincing the Sherriffs Dept (the owners and arbiters of CCW here in CA) that you are more at risk than the average citizen. Some Counties are more liberal regarding “convincing argument” than others. “Self Defense” is NOT a valid reason. Take the steps in #1 above, and you’re good to go for 2 years. Some of these counties might as well be a My Not county, they’re so unwilling to assist the Citizens…

    3) May NOT: Los Angeles County is a “May Not” county. Unless you are part of the Government (or a friend of the mayor), you could point at your bullet wounds and still be denied. This is

    May Not is why the data in the article is irrelevant. It doesn’t represent the actual conditions in CA. Basically it’s “Elitist treatment CCW owners by Race”. The discussion needs to be: What do you mean “May Issue”? “May Not Issue”?! what the Hell?

  7. RetMSgt in Pa.

    The 2016 numbers are out for Pennsylvania. Even in Philadelphia, with the lowest issuance rate of any of the state’s 67 counties, some 37,669 (3.3%) adults are licensed to carry handguns concealed. That’s the difference between “Shall Issue” and “May Issue.”

  8. James W

    First of all, what right does the county have giving out the names of permit holders? This should not be public access information. Second, race and gender should have nothing to do with the requirements (I believe this would probably be a violation of the Equal Rights Amendment).

    • Tionico

      Correct on both points. BUT. since that is Los Angeles County, it doesn’t matter. Remember, some pigs will always be more equal than other pigs, until they aren’t. And there, they are. With that many minorities, I’m surprised they’ve not banded together and tossed out the “owners”, replacing them with some of their own, and granting liberty to ALL residents.

      • The Annoyed Man

        Exactly. I’m wondering, by the way, if your “state to the south” is my state (Texas). And in Los Angeles in particular, there is a VERY small number of people with a VERY big bully pulpit – actors – who continue to agitate against gun rights, but have no qualms against hiring armed security to provide for their and their families’ protection.

        I am always mindful of Suzanna Gratia Hopp’s quote that “How a politician stands on the Second Amendment tells you how he or she views you as an individual… as a trustworthy and productive citizen, or as part of an unruly crowd that needs to be lorded over, controlled, supervised, and taken care of.” That pretty much hits the nail on the head, and it begs a question: “why doesn’t LA County have any faith in their mandated background checking, permit class, and range qualification?” The answer is: “because it isn’t really about guns, it’s about control.”

        They are fascist pigs.

  9. Granny Grunch

    If you vote democrat you are voting for the confiscation of your firearm,especially in california. Get smart,do the Right Thing and vote Republican if you don’t want to be a government subject.

  10. fishydude

    Criminals love LA and California in general. In LA they have a near 100% chance of not getting shot when they car jack or mug somebody outside.
    The left claims to hate the police but do everything they can to ensure that the people are at the mercy of police and criminals (the line between the two soon disappears when this happens).
    CA CLEO’s are known to take cash tips in return for permits as well. That is the case in every “May(not) Issue” jurisdiction. Absolute power like that is intended to bread corruption. It is a feature, not an unintended consequence.

    I had a job interview in California recently. Just for practice though. I’d never take a job in California. I don;t want to have to surrender my rights for any job. Plus CA is too darned expensive.

  11. Phillyguy

    My brother lives in Orange County, CA- one of the few Republican CA counties.

    He applied for a CCP and was told there was a 2 year wait (maybe more)

    He donates to politicians so he made a call and got one in a month or so-

    “Happy ending”? not really

    Here in PA – I got my CCP for $20 and about a months processing. I’ve made maybe $25 in donations over the last 20 years.

  12. Alexander

    This raises a critical question that absolutely must be answered before any substantive analysis can be made of this data:

    Were minorities denied permits when they applied, or did they just never apply in the first place?
    Further, if the latter, is it because they were ignorant of the protocol, deliberately ignored the permit process completely, or because they didn’t apply because of the perception (rightly or wrongly) that they would be denied, or some other factor such as cost?

    All the data in this article tells me is that whites applied for and got permits in numbers out of proportion to their demographic make-up in LA County. The “why” is inferred to be racism, but unless we see the total numbers of applicants this is irrelevant.

    • Tionico

      If your theory were valid, there would be a WHOLE LOT more whites with Mother May I Cards in LA County.

      You did state the reason in your list… everyone who is not SOMEBODY in that county knows it is hopeless to get the Card. So why waste the money and volunteer for the insult on YOUR dime? Check out Tulare COUnty, a hundred fifty miles to the north. Similar demographics, far more Mother May I Cards issued… don’t know the statistics, would be a good exercise for comparison, but from what I gather (having spent considerable time there) a significant percentage of Cardholders in that county are hispanic. Far higher than the non-existant percentage in LA COunty.

  13. Les Hardie

    I applied for a CC permit in LA county in early 2016. I hear nothing for over a year. Finally, several months ago, I received a form letter denying my request. The reason? ” No demonstrated need” because I was not specifically under threat by specific persons. The fact that I was a retired lawyer with a spotless history and wanted a permit for self protection was ignored. This is how states like California flout the 2A. It’s time to crush this unconstitutional behavior.

  14. Lanceman

    California’s gone, short of fixing bayonets. You let the minorities turn you into Mexico Norte and soon, Venezuela Norte.

    This is the prime reason no sane society would ever allow parasites a voice at the ballot box.

  15. That guy

    In NJ there are less than 2000 permits with a population of 9.8 million. I’ll let you do the math.

    • Tionico

      Washington State.. population five million, number of active Mother May I Cards, just over five hundred thousand. TEN percent.

  16. AJ

    This article is worthless and fatally flawed. The people who have permits are the ones who are rich, connected, or both. Everything else is irrelevant, since no one who is not rich or connected can get a permit in LA County. It has nothing to do with gender or race.


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