Sheriff Lee Baca at a Los Angeles gun buyback. From Facebook.
The L.A. County Sheriff’s office has been tainted by numerous scandals and allegations:
“…fallout from 18 current and former deputies being indicted in December for an array of alleged crimes, a Justice Department investigation in 2013 that found deputies made unconstitutional stops and used excessive force against minorities in the Antelope Valley, and hiring practices that saw many deputies being hired with criminal records”
In addition to corruption and abuses, Los Angeles County gun owners are likely to be very interested in how the current contenders for the office feel about the issuance of Concealed Carry Weapons Permits.
No doubt, the recent Lu v Baca ruling will be a contributing factor in whatever the new Sheriff’s policy will be.
Some, who are involved in helping Angelenos apply for CCWs feel that former Assistant Sheriff Paul Tanaka, ousted amidst controversy, is both a front-runner and pro-CCW.
Tanaka’s campaign web site outlines his stance on CCW thusly:
“I understand the need for caution when allowing civilian residents to legally carry firearms in public. However, as a strong supporter of the Second Amendment I also believe in a person’s right to defend themselves, their families and their homes from possible threats; if it is done in a responsible manner. When elected Sheriff, I will ensure that every CCW request is evaluated on an objective and individual basis without favoritism. If there is a compelling and justified reason for one to be issued, and the applicant meets all the conditions required under the law, I will ensure that the application is duly processed.” – http://www.paultanaka.com/issues
However, this may be politically expedient doublespeak, as pointed out by an LA Weekly article:
“Paul Tanaka is making a pitch to the gun-rights community by promising to reform the way the department handles permits for concealed weapons, or CCWs. In a statement on his campaign website, Tanaka calls himself “a strong supporter of the Second Amendment,” and laments that L.A. is one of the toughest counties in the state in which to get a permit.
Yet Tanaka’s record of handling concealed weapons has been more complicated. For a two-year period when he was Baca’s undersheriff, Tanaka was in charge of issuing concealed-weapons permits. In that time, he denied the vast majority of applications he received. Of the few he approved, one went to a billionaire movie producer who is now a key supporter of his campaign.”
Tanaka was, in fact, responsible for the LASD CCW program for at least years. While the total number of CCWs in L.A. County is very high (the highest in the state, according to some), its per-capita rate is disproportionately low. And this speaks poorly of Tanaka’s track record.
A summary of Tanaka’s career can be found on his wikipedia entry:
- A career law enforcement officer
- January 7, 2005 to June 2011, he was the an Assistant Sheriff
- March 7, 1988, Tanaka was involved in a controversial killing of an unarmed Korean American in Long Beach, sparking outrage among Korean American community leaders
- He has been criticized for his affiliation with the “Vikings”, a secret police organization brought to light amidst police misconduct litigation in 1990. He appears somewhat evasive about this period of his life in a KFI interview
A recent LA Times article summarizes some of the other candidates:
Jim Hellmold, a 25-year department veteran (and perennial favorite in the deputy union’s member-voted ratings) is also running. He rose from Baca’s driver to assistant sheriff, is well-liked among the rank and file, sought to distance himself from the embattled Baca. A blog entry found through a Google search seems to sugggest he may have been involved in preferential issuance of CCW to Sylvester Stallone.
Long Beach Police Chief Jim McDonnell is also reportedly running, boasting a long list of supporters including Dist. Atty. Jackie Lacey, her predecessor Steve Cooley and Los Angeles police Chief Charlie Beck. Political observers say he should be considered a front-runner His CCW stance is not clear. Google results with his name and “CCW” do not yield any information.
Assistant Sheriff Todd Rogers entered the race the day that Baca pulled out. He is currently serving as a councilman and Vice Mayor for the city of Lakewood. A Calguns.net member relates him to be “a nice guy, very personable”. He offers his town’s paper’s report on Rogers entering the race: http://www.loscerritosnews.net/2014/…-sheriff-baca/ No verifiable information on his CCW stance available at this time.
Bob Olmsted, another of Baca’s former top aides is also running. A call to the PR group handling his election PR regarding his CCW stance has not be returned. Another Calguns.net member provides a link to Olmsted’s statement on CCW:
“Olmsted will ensure CCWPs are given out in a fair & evenhanded way to those who can demonstrate a clear and present need. Olmsted will increase training requirements and fees for those who apply for CCW permits.”
The statement says Olmsted also wants to require re-application every two years.
Additional candidates include:
Patrick Gomez; a retired sheriff’s lieutenant. A message left at the number listed as Gomez’s campaign contact has not been returned.
Lou Vince; a Los Angeles Police Department detective supervisor and sheriff’s reserve deputy. Judging by the comments on his Facebook page, he is anti-CCW: https://m.facebook.com/CitizensAgainstLouVince
Baca endorses Todd Rogers and James Hellmold as strong candidates to replace him.
A thread established for the collection of information on the candidates’ CCW stance can be found here.