SACRAMENTO, Calif. /California Newswire/ — The California Joint Legislative Audit Committee has approved an audit request by Assemblymember Kevin McCarty (D – Sacramento) to evaluate the negative fiscal impacts and public safety questions raised by Concealed Carry Weapon (CCW) license programs in the state.

Assemblymember Kevin McCartyCalifornia prohibits a person from carrying a loaded, concealed firearm in public unless the person has been issued a CCW license. CCW licenses are issued by a county sheriff or city police departments, with license fees expected to cover the costs of administering the CCW program. Counties such as Sacramento County have seen an explosion in the number of CCW licenses issued on an annual basis.

In 2011, the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department (Department) issued approximately 300 CCW licenses. In 2016, that number increased to approximately 8,000 licenses. This dramatic increase in CCW licenses has led to a quarter million dollar budget shortfall in the Department because current license fees do not fully cover the cost of administering the CCW program.

McCarty’s audit will require California’s independent State Auditor to investigate the counties of Sacramento, San Diego and Los Angeles to determine 1) the number of new, renewal, amended and revoked CCW licenses each year; 2) the degree to which these counties are following existing laws governing the administration of CCW licenses; 3) what factors these counties use to determine who they should issue a CCW license to; 4) the actual cost to administer county CCW license programs, what fees are charged and collected to administer the CCW program and what if any deficit administering the CCW program causes the Departments, harming county budgets and forcing taxpayers to pay for armed civilians to roam the public.

“Taxpayers should not be subsidizing gun owners who want to roam our streets with loaded weapons,” said Assemblymember Kevin McCarty. “The dramatic increase of CCW licenses in Sacramento County alone is alarming and presents a number of important fiscal and public safety questions that I am confident the State Auditor will be able to answer. Today’s audit approval by the Joint Legislative Audit Committee sends a clear message to gun owners and the public that responsible private gun ownership should never be subsidized with taxpayer dollars.”

The State Auditor’s report to the Legislature should be completed within the next six months.

Kevin McCarty represents California’s 7th Assembly District, which include the cities and communities of Antelope, Elverta, North Highlands, Rio Linda, Sacramento and West Sacramento. McCarty serves as Chair of the Assembly Budget Subcommittee on Education Finance.