RIVERSIDE – During the November 2018 race for Riverside County Sheriff, then-Sheriff Stan Sniff repeatedly said his opponents were looking for a candidate, then-Lt. Chad Bianco, who would hand out carry concealed weapon (CCW) permits like “popcorn.”
About four months after being sworn in a sheriff, Bianco is looking for more space to process CCW applications.
Effective April 8, the Concealed Carry Weapon’s (CCW) Unit has returned to the Ben Clark Training Center, 16791 Davis Avenue, in Riverside, where it once was housed.
This move, according to Bianco’s office, will allow free parking for CCW applicants and a larger office space to process applications, conduct background checks, and issue identification cards to those that are approved to carry a concealed firearm.
The Riverside County Sheriff’s Department has also partnered with Permitium to develop a paperless CCW application process. This new CCW program will allow applicants to apply for a CCW online, upload the required documents, and pay by debit or credit card for a nominal convenience fee. This program also allows applicants to schedule an appointment with the CCW Unit and receive text and/or email reminders. The link for the CCW application can be found by clicking here, then clicking on the “Concealed Weapon Permit” tab at the bottom of the home page.
Since taking office in January 2019, Bianco has authorized four additional training facilities in Riverside County to provide the mandated 8-hour initial firearms safety course and the 4-hour renewal course. This now brings the total of approved training facilities to nine to further expedite the application process and reduce the previous backlog. The authorized firearm training facilities are listed on the Sheriff’s Department website.
Former Sheriff Sniff declined to comment on the move.
During Sniff’s tenure the CCW unit and department executives moved the CCW unit from the Ben Clark Training Center into the downtown administration building to help the efficiencies of the process of carefully screening and approving those approved to carry loaded, concealed handguns out into the public.
Based on news releases, interviews with Uken Report, and the Sheriff’s Department social media postings, Sniff was a strong proponent of issuing CCWs to qualified citizens. He was supported and endorsed by the major firearms advocacy groups like the National Rifle Association and the California Rifle and Pistol Association. He consistently adhered to what he described as a reasonable public policy of carefully vetting of all applicants to protect the public through a reasonable and safe public policy on concealed firearms. He did not believe in handing out permits “like popcorn to anyone and everyone” that applied. Sniff never approved online CCW processing, preferred careful screening, and viewed it as potentially a dangerous public policy.
From public postings updated periodically during Sniff’s tenure, CCW issuance grew to nearly 4,400 countywide even though applicants were rejected. The process included and maintained careful screening until the end of 2018.
Sniff maintained the backlog of applicants was caused by successive budget cuts to the department coupled with overwhelming demand after the Dec 2015 terrorist incident in San Bernardino. He also has said the backlog from two years to just a few months by the end of 2018 when additional funding was added.
History shows that Sniff has long maintained what he has termed a “fair and reasonably policy” on the issuing carrying concealed weapons (CCWs) for Riverside County residents, but repeatedly has said that not everyone would be granted the ability the carry a loaded concealed firearm in the public areas of Riverside County communities.
“My posture has long been that we support the issuance of CCWs, but we also believe that it to be sound public policy that we ‘carefully screen’ all individuals applying to carry on their person a hidden, loaded handgun in our public areas,” Sniff told Uken Report. “There is a big difference between having a ‘right’ to own and possess a firearm, and the legal ‘privilege’ in California to carry a loaded, concealed handgun on our streets, in our movie theaters, going to the market, and at public events.”
“We certainly aren’t going to hand gun permits out on the street corners with wild abandon — that is neither reasonable nor good sense,” Sniff told Uken Report during his re-election campaign. “Our applicant process is both fair and reasonable, and the more moderate gun rights groups support that posture.”
- Concealed Weapon: Shutterstock