Under different sheriffs in recent years past, there may have been as many as 150 or so people in Santa Barbara County walking around with guns legally hidden on them. But ever since Sheriff Bill Brown was elected in 2006, he’s focused on bringing that number down. Today, there are only 52 active concealed carry weapon permits issued countywide, with three actively pending, which is considerably less than any neighboring county (see chart at left).
“Licenses have gone down under my watch, and they should never be easily attainable,” said Brown, but he does issue them for two certain situations: One, your profession involves valuable goods and features a higher than normal risk of robbery; and two, credible threats exist against the safety of you or someone in your family.
Even then, Brown would urge professional training. “I have seen some tragic situations where people who have been armed and not very well trained have employed weapons in the field and it’s become a double tragedy,” he explained. “Most of us are safer if there is not a proliferation of guns beings carried, particularly in the more urbanized parts of our community.”
Toni Wellen, of the Coalition Against Gun Violence, which is the region’s top watchdog, praised Brown’s stance on the issue, explaining, “He’s a wise and very good sheriff in that regard.”