SANTA MONICA—Santa Monica is currently facing a potential lawsuit for raising the licensing fees to carry a concealed weapon. Gun Advocacy groups are arguing the costs could discourage residents from exercising their second amendment rights.
On March 14, the Santa Monica City Council agreed the new fees would amount to $767 for both the license and a psychological exam. That amount does not include fees for the training course. Renewal fees for a CCW are now at $150 which is five times more than the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department charged.
Residents are no longer able to get their permits through the LASD, which has stopped processing applications from residents in independent localities in the county in order to cut down on the backlog of applications and improve processing times for concealed carry applicants in unincorporated areas of the county.
Konstadinos T. Moros, an attorney representing the California Rifle & Pistol Association, told the city council before they voted charging those fees for the exercise of a constitutional right is not acceptable. Moros provided a copy of a letter he composed to the city of La Verne threatening a lawsuit over the same fees that Santa Monica was about to approve. He explained that it is Santa Monica’s duty to process CCW applications in a timely manner.
City Council used staff’s estimate that it would take the police department 10 hours of work per application at an estimated cost of $1,093.83, a cost Moros said is overblown. They went ahead and voted for the new fees despite the threat of a lawsuit.
“By charging such outlandish fees, the City is punishing the very people who are law-abiding and respectful of the process,” Moros wrote. “You are encouraging them to give up and, if they still must carry for their own safety, to do so illegally.”
Moros questioned the need for a $150 psychological exam stating “the vast majority of issuing authorities in California do not require,” including LASD.
“The idea that people who go out of their way to get carry permits are a significant criminal threat is self-evidently wrong,” he wrote. “There is no threat here for the City to fear. These are good people. The criminals are already carrying illegally, and won’t be applying for a permit any time soon.”
The majority of states around the country charge between $50 and $150 for a concealed carry license. Other cities in California are charging less than Santa Monica with Whittier and Glendora both charging $243 for a CCW.