The Arbitrariness of “3”

The Arbitrariness of “3”

Last Friday, I lectured at the California Rifle and Pistol Association’s headquarters in Fullerton.  We have been invited to offer our Pre-CCW lecture at the CRPA headquarters once a month.

As is always the case when I lecture, I end up learning something interesting in the process.  The nugget that I got from this class involved the number of weapons that we can have on our CCW permit.

There has never been a standardized position statewide regarding the number of firearms that a CCW holder can have on their permit, and that is seriously unfortunate.  To make matters even more… shall we say “dynamic”… the possibility of national reciprocity complicates this issue even more.

In Utah, for example there is no requirement regarding limiting the number of firearms that a CCW holder carries.  So… imagine a world where we now have national reciprocity,  I know… the feeling makes me giddy too but I digress… regardless, we have two individuals.  One lives in Ventura County and is licensed to carry three specifically listed pistols concealed.  His friend lives in Utah, and has a license to carry from there.  The two are visiting in Lake Tahoe.  The Ventura resident is limited to the guns he can carry.  The Utah resident can carry anything he wants.  Literally under this scenario the Utah resident has more rights, (read less potential liability) in California then the citizen of California does.

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So during this class the question was asked “how many guns can I have on a permit?”

I told them that for Orange County the number is pretty much set at three.  A couple of years ago there had been some discussion of extending the number to five, but at the last minute they decided to pull that off the table.

Rick Travis, the Executive Director of CRPA was in attendance.  I asked him if he knew if it were confirmed that the Sacramento Sheriff had authorized five weapons on a CCW holder’s card.

He nodded in affirmation, and went on to tell me that there were counties (albeit rural ones) that have no limit.  (a cursory search of our surrounding neighbors turned up that Riverside allows six guns on a permit!)

Even the mandate to have the firearm registered to you as a specific individual has fluctuated over time.

All of the guns that Sandy and I own were accumulated during our marriage… which by definition means that they are community property.  Community property true… but registered either individually to me or to Sandy.  (Why registration cannot be done in a corporate form for businesses, or husbands and wives is completely beyond me.)

That means that since our CCW permits require specific firearms be registered to us as individuals, I can’t carry Sandy’s gun.  Well, actually that is not an accurate statement… I cannot carry my joint ownership firearm that happens to be registered in Sandy’s name.  The reverse is also true… she cannot carry a gun that she owns but is registered to me.

So, that brings us to the concept of rationalism.

What is the rational behind this rationing concept?

There is none.

A couple of years ago the Orange County Sheriffs dept. was all set to increase the number of guns from three to five.  (A step in the right direction,… even if it is still somewhat arbitrary).

In the eleventh hour they nixed it.


We have no idea.  Someone thought that by increasing the number of guns on a permit there would be a commensurate increase in liability.  How they came to this conclusion is beyond me.

Regardless… that is where we are.  A system of rationing with no rational basis behind it.

Six guns… three guns… five guns… unfortunately the entire system misses the point.  It’s not about the number of guns… it’s about the responsibility of the gun owner to train.  The gun is just a tool.  A very efficient tool to be sure, but a tool none-the-less.

When the focus turns from the law abiding citizen, to the specific tool that they happen to employ a false sense of security arises.  One that can potentially have tragic consequences.

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