After viewing the above video of San Diego County Sheriff Gore talking about his concealed carry permit (CCW) polices at a Latino American Political Association (LAPA) meeting, San Diego County Gun Owners PAC (SDCGO) is compelled to clarify some statements by Sheriff Gore that could easily mislead voters. Clear, accurate facts and a candidate’s ability to deliver those facts are important factors when voting.

SDCGO is positive that Sheriff Gore is an honorable man so the misleading information was surely unintentional. Still, understanding the facts is important in order to make a good decision in next June’s election.

Below in bold are direct quotes from Sheriff Gore to LAPA members followed by additional clarifying information from SDCGO.

Sheriff Gore’s statement: Referring to San Diego’s CCW polices, “For 35 years, in San Diego County…going back to John Duffy…the policy has been the same.”

Concealed weapon permits or CCWs are California permits issued by a sheriff (or police chief). All the policies are defined clearly in the California’s Penal Code except for the state’s “good cause” requirement. California law requires the issuing authority to have a “good cause” policy, but the definition of “good cause” is left to each sheriff or police chief. The policies of Sheriff Gore’s predecessors may be similar, but Sheriff Gore’s policy is his to define and state law gives him latitude to change it any time.

“….this all started in 2008 with the election of Barrack Obama. And the big threat was, ‘he’s going to take away all our guns’ I guess.” And “that’s when all the pressure came on to change the law.”

It is unclear what Sheriff Gore means when he suggests that voters worried about federal gun confiscation, would respond by pushing to improve county CCW policies.  It appears he is conflating two issues. The right to keep arms and the right to bear arms are two separate issues, but protected by the same federal law. There is no link between a fear of federal confiscation of firearms and Sheriff Gore’s policy of banning sane, trained, law-abiding people from carrying concealed in order to protect their life.

Modern CCW reform started in the late 1980s with Florida. In 1987 Florida made their CCW policy objective and non-discriminatory for law-abiding, trained citizens. Statistics have proven that Florida’s CCW policy modernization has enhanced public safety by bolstering the ability for potential victims to protect against violent attack. Most other states have followed Florida’s success and CCW modernization spread across the country and across the vast majority of California’s counties with one of the exceptions being San Diego County. (please see map below)

“Some Sheriffs in very rural counties in the middle part of the state, they give out CCWs for good cause. I can’t control what they do.”

There are 58 counties in California. Of the 58, 35 of them issue CCWs using “self-defense” as good cause and an additional 8 use a “reasonable” good cause policy. The graphic provided shows how each county issues. The changes we are asking Sheriff Gore to make would take him out of the extreme category and align him with the 35 to 45 counties who generally allow their law-abiding, trained residents to protect their life and their family’s life when outside of the home.

Counties like Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, Sacramento counties (and others listed) are not “very rural” counties. Regardless, a person living in a urban or suburban neighborhood places the same value on the importance of their life as people in a rural neighborhood.

When referring to the 40+ other sheriffs in the state who issue CCW permits to people for self-defense, “I see no reason to change my…uh our…policy we’ve had for 35 years for San Diego County.”

The biggest reason to change Sheriff Gore’s CCW policy; specifically, his definition of “good cause” is because it is subjective and vague which leads to discrimination. The ability for trained, sane, law-abiding San Diegans to protect their life and the life of their family is being deeply affected by Gore’s outdated policies that (by his own admission) have not been revised in at least 35 years despite watching the rest of the country and state modernize their policy with positive results.

“We have 1500 concealed carry permits out there. That’s 300 more than LA county….”

Los Angeles County and San Francisco County have the most restrictive CCW policies in the state. Orange County is far more similar to San Diego County in population and demographics and they have over 10,000 CCWs issued. Please find the graphic attached to this email showing each county’s CCW policy.

“Michael (from San Diego County Gun Owners), you say my policy is vague and needs more explanation so I put together a group with Michael and another member of his Board. We sat down and hopefully in the next week or two there will be a new policy up that hopefully broadens the categories.”

Sheriff Gore’s statement implies that SDCGO approves of or had a say in changing Sheriff Gore’s CCW policy, but neither is accurate. Sheriff Gore asked to meet with SDCGO to help make his policy “more objective” and “broadened beyond based on risk”. It was made clear in our meetings and conversations that SDCGO’s position is that the only way to make his “good cause” policy objective and non-discriminatory is to accept “self-defense” as good cause. “Self-defense” is the only legal reason a person can use a concealed weapon, but it was made clear in the meetings that Sheriff Gore will not change his policy to accept “self-defense”.

SDCGO provided the sheriff with 16 objective qualifications and the reasons the categories fit into Sheriff Gore’s current policy. SDCGO’s suggestions can be viewed by clicking here. The document Sheriff Gore supplied to us did not include one word we suggested to him. Sheriff Gore’s suggestions can be viewed by clicking here.

It is confusing that Sheriff Gore started his talk to LAPA by saying he will not change his polices because it has been the policy for 35 years and then go on to say he is changing his policy after meeting with SDCGO. To clarify, Sheriff Gore’s proposed “changes” are not changes in his policy at all, but are slightly better explanations of his current policy. The explanations also shows just how subjective his policy is and amounts to nothing more than a new list of ways to say “no” to anyone brave enough to apply for a CCW.

“I’m not anti-gun. I have 6 guns myself.”

The claim and thought by most is that Sheriff Gore is anti-CCW. Unfortunately, that claim is backed up by the tiny number of CCWs issued in San Diego County that has a population of almost 3.5 million people. That fear is further confirmed with Sheriff Gore’s additional explanation of his overly restrictive CCW policies. It really doesn’t matter how many guns an elected official has. Nobody is trying to prevent government officials and law enforcement from self-defense. What matters is how elected officials view a person’s ability for self-defense.

“I have an obligation to follow the state law.”

It is understood that following the law is far more than an obligation; it is a requirement. Changing Sheriff Gore’s policy to accept “self-defense” as “good cause” is allowed by California’s law. The State does not define “good cause” and leaves it up to each sheriff (or police chief) to define with total liberty. As Sheriff Gore mentioned in his talk to LAPA, many other sheriffs issue permits using “self-defense” as “good cause”. We are not asking Sheriff Gore to do something that isn’t already being done in 40+ other counties. We are simply asking Sheriff Gore, to improve public safety by modernizing CCW policies so they are objective and not discriminatory.

Michael A. Schwartz

Executive Director 

San Diego County Gun Owners PAC


Founded in 2015, the San Diego County Gun Owners is a registered political action committee (FPPC ID #1379388) and advocacy organization focused on organizing the gun industry and community and protecting the U.S. Constitution’s Second Amendment right to bear arms. While every U.S. state has a Second Amendment PAC, along with several nationwide gun rights PACs, SDCGO is America’s only local, countywide Second Amendment advocacy organization.

CCW Correspondence with Sheriff Gore and Santee County Councilman Rob McNelis Starting in January 2017

Letter from Santee County Councilman Rob McNelis to Sheriff Gore

McNelis Letter to Gore #1

Letter from Sheriff Gore to Santee County Councilman Rob McNelis

Gore to McNelis Letter #2-1

Gore to McNelis Letter #2-2

Letter from Santee County Councilman Rob McNelis to Sheriff Gore

Letter to Sheriff Gore

Letter to Sheriff Gore

Letter from Sheriff Gore to Santee County Councilman Rob McNelis

Letter to Sheriff Gore

Letter to Sheriff Gore

Paid for by San Diego County Gun Owners Political Action Committee | P.O. Box 124667, San Diego CA 92112 | FPPC ID # 1379388