Self-Defense is Not a Privilege, It’s a Necessity

Here in California we already have some of the most egregious and unreasonable gun control laws in America, the worst of which are two separate “assault weapons” bans (banning weapons by name and cosmetic features), and a 10 round magazine capacity limit.

Did these laws stop the shooter Friday? Have gun control laws stopped anyone from doing anything? Someone with a concealed carry permit could have.

In California, only the Sheriff of the county of your residence is allowed to issue concealed carry permits, and in Santa Barbara County, unless you are rich, white and make a sizable “donation” to Sheriff Brown’s election campaigns, you will not be issued a permit. In some counties the Sheriff requires prospective applications to go through the police academy, buy $1,000,000 in liability insurance and undergo a psychiatric evaluation. Imagine if they had the same requirements to attend the church of your choice or to protest a certain cause.

To obtain a permit, two of the (many) requirements are to show “good cause” and to be of “good moral character,” which give Sheriff Brown and his deputies a huge “out” to subjectively deny who can carry a concealed firearm. From what I understand, even inquiring about an application will cause an automatic denial when the paperwork is filed. The “correct” way to obtain a permit is to get a judge or elected official as a “sponsor” thus ensuring approval. But only rich white people have those connections, and a brown graduate student like myself does not. Then again, those same people are the ones who live in Montecito or Hope Ranch behind quarter-mile-long driveways and hire off-duty police officers for security, so they only carry a firearm when they’re in Downtown Santa Barbara or Old Town Goleta when around people who are aren’t as rich or white as they are.

The list of concealed carry permit holders is not subject to any privacy regulations, which defeats the purpose of obtaining a permit if anyone can find that you have one (except for police, judges, prosecutors, politicians and anyone else whose life the government has deemed more important than yours). In addition, concealed handgun permits are only valid for a short time, can be revoked for any reason by an existing or newly elected sheriff and you can only carry the firearm specified on your permit.

A concealed firearm could have saved George Ied’s life. A woman with a concealed firearm could make rapists and muggers think twice. Someone with a concealed carry permit could have done something against the shooter the other night. A concealed carry permit could benefit those who are beat up, robbed and stabbed (or worse) by the aggressive panhandlers and others in Downtown Santa Barbara. Concealed carry permit holders could actually do something against many of the violent drugged-up criminals who would attempt to attack them. But here in Santa Barbara Country, self-defense is a right reserved only for the rich and well-connected, which doesn’t make it a right at all. More like a privilege that only “special” people can have.
V. Shasty is a third-year mechinical engineering graduate student.

A version of this article appeared in the Thursday, May 29, 2014 print edition of the Daily Nexus.
Views expressed on the Opinion page do not necessarily reflect those of the Daily Nexus or UCSB. Opinions are submitted primarily by students.