Good morning, My name is Jim March from Richmond.
California’s Constitution, Article 1, Section 7B says:
"A citizen or class of citizens may not be granted privileges or immunities not granted on the same terms to all citizens."
Right now, in this county, Sheriff Rupf's policies on issuing concealed weapons permits grossly violates this section of the Constitution. Permits are being handed out on the basis of wealth and political connections; Judges, Assistant DAs and others have no problems getting permits, but cabbies or people working late in bad neighborhoods and facing much higher risk of attack are routinely denied. Rather than evaluating people's risk of violent assault, the current system is based on "who's life is more worthy of self defense". We either have equal protection under the law, or we have an armed aristocracy lording it over unarmed peasants, wildly contrary to American ideals of justice.
Worse yet, the Sheriff has a policy of absolute non-issuance in the predominantly minority towns of Richmond and Pittsburgh, and will not even allow residents of those towns to submit applications. Gun permits in California are almost universally being issued on an elitist, racist and in some cases outright corrupt basis, but Sheriff Rupf’s "no guns for the minority towns" policy is absolutely the most blatant current example in the whole state of the original design behind California’s "discretionary gun permit system" established in 1923.
Our permit system was patterned after earlier Southern statutes, such as the one Florida finally reformed in 1986. In Florida, in 1941 a white gent was hauled into court for packing sans permit, and the case went up to the Florida Supreme Court. In the majority opinion releasing the guy, Justice Buford said:
"I know something of the history of this legislation. The original Act of 1893 was passed when there was a great influx of negro laborers in this State drawn here for the purpose of working in turpentine and lumber camps. The same condition existed when the Act was amended in 1901 and the Act was passed for the purpose of disarming the negro laborers and to thereby reduce the unlawful homicides that were prevalent in turpentine and saw-mill camps and to give the white citizens in sparsely settled areas a better feeling of security. The statute was never intended to be applied to the white population and in practice has never been so applied." - Watson v. Stone, 4 So.2d 700, 703 (Fla. 1941)
And if you don’t see a connection here, let me remind you that California’s permit system was put in place during a time when the KKK could garner 100,000 for a march on DC and "Birth of a Nation" was a hit movie.
I am asking you, the County Supervisors to help me convince Sheriff Rupf to voluntarily end this last vestige of Jim Crow. He needs to institute a gun permit policy that is applied uniformly to all citizens regardless of race, "old boy’s club membership", economic status or recent campaign contributions. He can set the requirements as tight as he wants within current state law, so long as all citizens are treated equally under the law. I need to know how to contact the County’s legal advisors, who will quickly see that the current system will cause any Judge in the state to gag.
I brought copies of this speech with my contact info. Look me up, let’s begin discussing reforms…because there’s no way in hell the Sheriff’s current permit policies will withstand court scrutiny, nor do you want a civil rights violations lawsuits naming these causes of action, or word of them appearing in local papers. Regardless of your personal views on civilian self defense, the injustice in this matter can no longer be ignored.
Thank you. I’ve also brought copies of a document from Sacramento County that shows just how bad the gun permit corruption issue has gotten, plus a one-page outline for a non-discriminatory permit system.
Jim March, Richmond, CA – home: 510-xxx-xxxx, Email: email@example.com