Santa Clara County Sheriff Laurie Smith is under fire over her department’s process for awarding concealed weapons permits. For instance, a former police officer who owned an investigative firm had his permit request turned down by Smith, so now the Sheriff’s Department is facing a lawsuit for allegedly handing out the permits in an arbitrary manner.
There are also concerns that many current permit holders shouldn’t technically be classified as residents of the county, so it is not clear how the residency status is being defined for many applicants. For instance, one particularly wealthy permit-holder lives in Russia. Sheriffs from Alameda and San Mateo County noted that they ensure applicants are verified residents of their respective counties. Mercury News reports on those who have been awarded permits in Santa Clara:
“The list of 49 "civilian" permit holders released to this newspaper includes 13 people who donated to Smith's campaigns over the years, either personally or through companies connected to them. Also on the list are people whose permits have continually been renewed, even though the original reason for getting the permit appears to no longer apply.”
Sheriff Smith has dished out fewer permits than counties like Contra Costa, Alameda, and San Mateo. You can find a list of all permit holders in Santa Clara County here. A hearing on the lawsuit is slated to take place in January.