On Metblogs LA: An Open Letter to Senator Feinstein about S.388

Over on Metblogs LA, Sean Bonner posts an open letter to Senator Feinstein asking her support for a bill before the Senate to make a CCW license valid in all 50 states. Sean has many good points, and I want to add that I am someone who is close to an openly trans woman in politics, and she has routinely received death threats for the years I have known her, and sometimes has strangers threaten her near her house. She would be first in line for a CCW, as would I. I’ve reposted Sean’s text with permission, below:

“I’ve written before, perhaps exhaustively, about the state of CCW laws here in California, but also specifically in LA. The issue that stands above all others here is fairness, and I’m never going to shut up about a situation where one group of people are extended rights that others are denied based on nothing but their street address. There is a senate bill called S.388 being proposed right now which would make a CCW license similar to a Drivers license – pass the requirements for it in one state and it’s valid in all 50 others. (There is a similar bill before the house) Since 39 states apply fair “shall issue” policies to CCWs, this is actually something that makes sense to most of the country. And why shouldn’t it? (…)


A set of requirements that you either meet or don’t is is far more fair then one guy decided if he thinks you should have the same rights his friends do. Naturally I support this bill, and as a resident of California the best thing I can do is write to my Senators and ask them to support it as well. I was talking with a friend of mine about this, and since Senator Feinstein used to have a CCW herself we thought she would be the perfect person to get behind this bill. Here’s the letter my friend wrote to her, asking her for her support, text of it after the jump…

Dear Senator Feinstein,

I am writing to urge you to sign on as a co-sponsor of S.388, “A bill to amend title 18, United States Code, to provide a national standard in accordance with which nonresidents of a State may carry concealed firearms in the State.”

This bill would make any state CCW valid in any other state, just like drivers licenses are today. It’s a great bill, and I know it will appeal to you personally.

You personally had a California-issued CCW for quite a few years, so you know the comfort and safety that a CCW brings. After you let your CCW lapse you got a special Federal status which allows you to carry in every state and in Washington DC, so you know the convenience of being able to carry everywhere without having to worry about the differences of state laws or figuring out the tangle of state reciprocity policies. This bill extends the same safety and convenience that you have enjoyed to the rest of the citizens of California and the US, so it is a natural for you to join fellow Democrats in co-sponsoring this bill. I would also urge you to put pressure on the various committee chairs to get this bill out of committee and to the floor for a vote.

Once again, the main reason for you to support this is that it will extend to the rest of us a situation you have personally been enjoying for years now, so it would make sense to everyone for you to sign on as a co-sponsor. I look forward to your written response to this issue of fairness and a confirmation that you believe that the rest of the citizens of the US should enjoy the same freedoms and safety you enjoy, or else a detailed explanation of why you should have these protections but your constituents should not.

I’ll keep you posted on the reply he gets to this note. Should be interesting either way.

10 Comments so far

  1. sw (unregistered) on February 8th, 2007 @ 5:42 pm

    Uh, not just no, but HELL NO. I dont want some podunk village in Montana handing out CCWs that are good in California to any old schmuck. Seriously, there are places where any Joe off the street can get these. Luckily, CA is a lot more strict about it.

    I’ll be sending my own letter to DiFi. Thanks for the heads up.

  2. sean bonner (unregistered) on February 8th, 2007 @ 5:55 pm

    “Seriously, there are places where any Joe off the street can get these.”

    Anything to back that statement up, or are you just making it up on the spot? Because I can’t think of a single place that any Joe off the street can get one. Background checks and multiple hours of training are the norm.

  3. CCWer (unregistered) on February 8th, 2007 @ 7:35 pm

    What’s wrong with people from villages in Montana? Is your object because you think that Californians are more dangerous and less trustworthy than people in 40 other shall-issue states (including Montana), or is it just a personal animosity against rural people? Curious.

    Oh by the way, villages in Montana don’t just hand out CCWs. Every state that issues CCWs requires a background check including an FBI fingerprint check, and I think they all require training also, California is one of the few states that issues CCWs printed on rice paper. Almost all the other states issue laminated plastic licenses that are similar to drivers licenses and which indicate to law enforcement personnel that the holder has gone through an extensive background check and some firearms training.

  4. sw (unregistered) on February 9th, 2007 @ 7:46 am

    In CA, you need a good cause to get a CCW. If you are just an average person with no stalker or high-profile job, my understanding is that it is very difficult for you to get a CCW. In a more rural, less crime-ridden place like many areas of the country it is probably entirely appropriate for just about any one to carry. Not around here. In those areas, you dont need a good cause, you just pass the background check.

  5. sean bonner (unregistered) on February 9th, 2007 @ 8:36 am

    SW, you are completely wrong. CA leaves the interpretation of good cause up to the sheriff and chief of police, more counties in California do issue than those who don’t, which means someone who lives in Orange County for example can get a license and stand in front of your house with a gun legally and you can’t. The issue is that in some counties in California “personal protection” is valid good cause, while in others “I’m a rich celebrity” works better, or “i contributed a lot of cash to your campaign” works as well. It’s elitist. There are over 200 different agencies in CA that issue and each make up their own rules as to what is valid and what isn’t, there are situations where people on one side of a street can get licenses and those on the other can’t. Reform needs to happen not so any yahoo can get a license, but so that an equal standard is applied to everyone.

  6. brando (unregistered) on February 9th, 2007 @ 8:58 am

    Well said, Sean. We do have a Constitution that states equal protection. Also, the bill mentioned in the article will give other state’s CCW permit holders the right o carry under that permit anywhere in the USA, much like your DL is accepted in all 50 states.

    Glad I live in OC. I have noticed how very little violent crime we have, comparing notes to recent, multiple shootings in certain parts of SF. Most of our crime is imported from out of the county.

  7. Nick (unregistered) on February 9th, 2007 @ 10:03 am

    Wait a minute SW. For what LOGICAL reason do you have a problem with this? I’m guessing you drive a car don’t you? So, you most likely don’t have a problem with just any old Joe getting a drivers license, which is good in any state. Yet vehicles kill more people every year than all of guns combined, yet you have no problem giveing full reigns to operate this deadly machinery to 16 year old kids, and felons. Did I also mention that they cause way more property damage?

    Cars = more deadly and destructive, but get us from one place to another.

    Guns = not quite as deadly and not nearly as destructive, but can save your life, or the life of a loved one.

    Funny, how we are more willing to risk our lives over convenience, but we are not willing to have the option of defending our lives. Man, we all must be subconciosly suicidal!

    So, I ask again, what logical reason do you have to oppose this, other than your emotions. It is unfortunate that so many people nowadays make decisions based on there emotions and not logical conclusions. Please, for the love of God, start useing your brain, more than your heart.

    “Any people that would give up liberty for a little temporary safety deserves neither liberty nor safety.” Benjamin Franklin

  8. Matt R. (unregistered) on February 9th, 2007 @ 1:05 pm

    Though a CCW valid in all 50 states is laudable, and despite SW’s illogical Montana village fear, SW has a valid concern about dangerous people, including felons, easily obtaining these permits–this was just in the news last week in the state of Florida. Of course, it was in Florida, so enough said. But it is a valid concern that such a federal statuate require strict hurdles and oversight so that counties and states, as in Florida, don’t inappropriately hand out CCWs.

  9. sean bonner (unregistered) on February 9th, 2007 @ 1:56 pm

    Very good point Matt, and with anything the execution is only as good as the oversight. It looks like one person at the FL board is a major idiot and messed up a bunch of applications. Although, it’s a seriously small %. Of 410,000 permits they have issued 216 went to people with active warrants, 128 to people with restraining orders, and 9 to people with felonies. The warrants weren’t detailed in the story, but those *could* be for things like unpaid parking tickets, technically. That said, a warrant for an unpaid parking ticket in CA would prevent you from getting a permit even in the counties that do issue. Of course, we’d all be hard presses to find any government agency where someone didn’t screw something up.

  10. JMH (unregistered) on February 15th, 2007 @ 12:38 pm

    Matt, EVERY state that issues CCW’s requires a background check. CCW’s aren’t handed out ANYWHERE out on every street corner. Every applicant everywhere has to have a background check done. In Shall-Issue states, you fail that, you’re a no-go. You pass, and you have training, you’re good to go.

    On top of all this, many states have CCW’s that are accepted in other states. Nowhere have I seen any sort of mass problems in those states. Nowhere. If someone goofs up OR your warrant/felony records haven’t caught up to your info in the system, it’s possible you could be issued a CCW. It would be revoked upon discovery that you are not eligible and you could be charged with illegal CCW, fraud on a state application, etc. Period.

    And Seanbonner is right… someone who has a California CCW can go to any county in California and legally CCW there, as long as they still reside in the county where they got their CCW. The local Sheriff or Police Chief can NOT impose their rules/restrictions on that person.

    So not ONLY is issuance eletist, there is a hodgepodge of rules (no uniform standard) as to what must be followed by everyone everywhere. A Driver’s License in California, issued to a person in California, is not only valid state-wide, but the rules governing that issuance is identical statewide and the rules the driver has to follow are essentially identical statewide too! Not so for CCW… which is the ONLY major discretionary firearms license in California that I’m aware of.

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