SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- The U.S. Supreme Court has made it easier for people across the country to carry concealed weapons but the process could become more restrictive and expensive for Bay Area taxpayers.
California is among a half dozen states that no longer require people to show good cause in order to qualify for a license to carry a concealed weapon - often referred to as a CCW.
Bay Area impact
The impact is especially hitting the Bay Area as several counties that rarely issued these licenses will be legally required to assume the applicant meets criteria like no criminal record, is a resident of the county and completes a course of training. Some counties have more specific requirements that involve in-person interviews and references.
"We've been bombarded for years for being very conservative with our CCW program," said Lt. Ray Kelly with the Alameda County Sheriff's Office. "Now our hands are a little bit tied."
The Supreme Court ruling has caused demand for CCW licenses to drastically spike.
In Alameda County, Lt. Kelly told ABC7 the number of CCW licenses is expected to double over the next few months from 300 to around 600. And maintaining the influx - won't be cheap.
"It's going to cost the taxpayers and the county more money," Lt. Kelly said. "Every three to four deputies we have to bring in, it's going to cost a million dollars a year to do that."
A similar trend is expected in San Francisco County.
"I haven't issued a CCW in San Francisco and I've been Sheriff for over two years," said San Francisco Sheriff Paul Miyamoto.
Sheriff Miyamoto says since 2002, only 28 people have applied for a CCW license - less than half were approved. Meanwhile, in just the past two weeks Miyamoto has received more than 50 calls from applicants.
"We've had requests for 31 applications, I have five pending on my desk and another two coming in," said Miyamoto.
Changes a new bill could bring to California
With the influx of applications coming in across the Bay Area, there will be more concealed weapons circulating our communities. But a new bill moving through the state legislature aims to restrict where these concealed firearms may be carried and increase the training to at least 16 hours - which is double the current requirement.
"We're making concrete criteria basically making sure that a weapon only goes to somebody who is a lawful person who's not going to do harm and go to a school and shot up a school," said State Senator Anthony Portantino, the bill's author.
If passed, the bill would prohibit concealed weapons from schools, places of worship, hospitals, government buildings, businesses selling alcohol, amusement parks, and sports venues.
"So we'll have this on the Governor's desk in August and I know he's going to sign it," Portantino said.
The legislation would require a two-thirds vote and wouldn't take effect until January.
In the meantime, local county Sheriffs and Police Chiefs issuing these licenses will be reevaluating their approval and denial policies to ensure there's a balance between ones' constitutional rights and public safety.