SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- As Democratic lawmakers call for stricter gun control in light of the mass shootings in California, one gun law in San Francisco is now loosening.
The San Francisco Sheriff's Department has just approved its first concealed carry weapons permit since a Supreme Court ruling last year eased the eligibility requirements around who can carry a firearm in public.
A concealed carry weapons permit, or a CCW, allows ordinary citizens to legally carry a gun in public. For years, San Francisco law made it nearly impossible to get one. San Francisco Sheriff Paul Miyamoto said that prior to the ruling, only someone considered to be a target, like a judge or a diamond jeweler, could have been eligible for a license.
But, Sheriff Miyamoto said, that has now changed in light of the Bruen ruling.
"The significant change from the Bruen decision was that they took out the 'good cause' requirement for someone who is applying for a CCW license," Miyamoto told ABC7 News. "Which basically means as long as you clear our vetting process, our background procedures, and as long as you take a safety course and demonstrate you're responsible, you're given an opportunity to have a license."
Miyamoto said so far the city is processing 72 applications, and they expect to get nearly 100 to 200 more over the next year. "Which is very different from the four we processed in the past 10 or so years," he said.
According to Miyamoto, a person given a CCW permit will not be able to bring that firearm into government buildings or schools. Private businesses can also refuse service to someone carrying a gun.
San Francisco, Miyamoto said, is also the first county in the Bay Area that is requiring applicants to pass a psychological exam in order to be approved.
The change, however, is a reflection of the increasing obstacles gun control advocates are facing in California as federal judges and the Supreme Court take aim at state and local gun laws. Governor Newsom called out judges by name when calling for gun control after the Half Moon Bay shooting.
In a statement, the California Rifle And Pistol Association said "CRPA is pleased that San Francisco has taken this first important step in finally honoring the right to carry." The group did criticize the city for taking as long as it did to approve the first application.
Meanwhile, city lawmakers say they plan to fight back.
San Francisco Board of Supervisor Catherine Stefani said in a statement she's working on legislation to create so-called "sensitive areas" where firearms will be prohibited.
"The Bruen decision was a dangerous step backwards. In no uncertain terms this will lead to irresponsible and dangerous people carrying weapons in public," the statement said. "My legislation will outline sensitive areas where weapons will be prohibited such as schools, hospitals, daycare centers, etc., and will create additional requirements necessary to obtain a permit."
San Francisco Supervisor Hillary Ronen said she also wants to put limits on people with CCW licenses.
"I would be 100% in support of that," Ronen said of Stefani's proposal.
"San Francisco has been at the cutting edge of gun control," she added. "Guns are not sold in our city, thank goodness. And any move backwards is a loss for us, and we'll fight it every step of the way."
San Francisco mayor London Breed on Tuesday said she was not prepared to comment on the city's loosening CCW laws. ABC7 News asked for her reaction to the effort by federal judges to target local gun laws.
"I do have very serious concerns about people using any and all means necessary to get access to guns, period," Breed said. "Whether it's legally or illegally it's an impact on all of us because, as you can see with these shootings, it's devastating to our communities. It's impacting us in some of the most horrible ways. And we need to definitely address it and not allow legal loopholes to get into the way of being able to stop guns from getting into the hands of people in general."
The first applicant to be approved for a permit in San Francisco still needs to complete a gun training program in order to be issued the permit.
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