Sandra Hutchens

Orange County Sheriff Sandra Hutchens. (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times / May 4, 2009)

By Jill Cowan
March 3, 2014, 7:46 p.m.

Orange County has been deluged with more than 1,000 concealed weapons applications since rolling back restrictions in the wake of an appellate court ruling, and officials are preparing to hire more than a dozen retired deputies to handle the crush.

Under a proposal that comes before county supervisors Tuesday, the county Sheriff’s Department would hire 15 retired employees to handle the applications, which have flooded in since the court ruling a little more than two weeks ago.

The volume is nearly double what the department normally handles in an entire year, and if all or most of the applications are approved, it would effectively double the number of people permitted to carry concealed weapons in Orange County.

The pro-gun ruling by the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals would affect every county in the state, but Orange County was among the first to eliminate the requirement that residents who wanted to carry a concealed weapon must show a specific, individualized need to do so.

Ventura County also has signaled it will loosen its restriction. Other jurisdictions — such as Los Angeles County — have decided to wait to see if the ruling is appealed.

State Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris last week announced that her office planned to appeal if San Diego County Sheriff Bill Gore does not. Gore was the named defendant in the original case.

Still, O.C. Sheriff Sandra Hutchens told supervisors last week that her department plans to follow the law as it now exists, though she said applicants are being encouraged to submit a statement of “good cause” given the uncertainties.

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