It’s obvious why Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones, who is running for Congress, would want help underwriting his ability to bestow concealed weapons permits for the asking. It’s politically popular with the pro-gun crowd, and it doesn’t pay for itself.
But for the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors to continue effectively subsidizing Jones’ gun-a-palooza is a public disservice. So it was unfortunate that the board on Wednesday passed on a golden opportunity to redirect the $240,000 or so a year that the county has been kicking in from the general fund so that Jones can issue concealed carry permits by the thousands.
The money may not amount to much in the larger scheme of the nearly $4 billion budget. But there are far better uses for it.
On Wednesday, Supervisors Phil Serna and Patrick Kennedy suggested taking the subsidy from Jones to plug a gap in funding for Birth and Beyond, a home visitation program serving families with children.
Many in Sacramento, including this board, are uncomfortable with the sheriff’s claim that more guns make this county safer.
Supervisors Susan Peters, Roberta MacGlashan and Don Nottoli backed away from ending the gun permit appropriation and instead paid for the children’s program out of cable commission funding.
But as we have editorialized in the past, taxpayers shouldn’t have to foot the bill for a privilege that, as Jones himself claimed, only appeals to “1 or 2 percent” of the population. And we and many others in Sacramento are uncomfortable with his claim that more guns make this county safer.
Since Jones took office in 2010, the number of concealed carry permits has soared from 350 to nearly 8,000. That’s more than in all but two counties in California – Orange and Fresno. Jones told the board that, given demand, he might end up issuing as many as 10,000 more permits before applications level off.
He called the proposed funding shift “disingenuous” and “politically motivated” and warned that, if the board yanked his general fund money, he would dip into his own budget to pay any costs that weren’t covered by the county’s inadequate, but state-mandated, permit fees.
He should. And the board should stop underwriting this program.
It may be important to Jones, but 8,000 people walking the streets with concealed weapons – let alone 18,000 – sounds less like a public service than an accident waiting to happen. Let Jones pay for his own priority.