San Jose District Attorney Jeffrey Rosen has announced that four people connected to the Santa Clara Sheriff’s Department have been indicted for their involvement in a corrupt “pay-to-play” concealed carry bribery scheme.
According to reports, only those who offered generous campaign donations to Sheriff Laurie Smith were granted concealed carry permits within her jurisdiction which, because of its location in California, makes this a difficult process.
Rosen alleges that Capt. James Jensen, attorney Christopher Schumb, attorney Harpaul Nahal and local business owner Michael Nichols all conspired with the CEO of a private security firm to secure a $90,000 bribe in exchange for “generous access” to the department’s concealed carry permitting authority.
These four individuals appear to have worked together to ensure that only campaign donors were granted “permission” to obtain concealed carry permits for their firearms, while everyone else was presumably denied.
“My concern is not whether the sheriff grants many or few CCW licenses, but whether they are being granted or denied for the wrong reasons,” Rosen indicated. “CCW licenses should not be given out in exchange for campaign donations. They should not be for sale.”
Concerns about how the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Department grants concealed carry permits date as far back as 2011 when accusers first started to come forward with allegations that only politically connected donors were obtaining them.
“Pro-Second Amendment concealed carry laws would forbid this form of alleged corruption, as law enforcement agencies in ‘shall issue’ states are forbidden from restricting permits from any lawful gun owner for arbitrary reasons,” writes Richard Moorhead for Big League Politics about how it works in other states.
“Obtaining a concealed carry permit in California, which is a ‘may issue’ state, is considerably more difficult.”
The practice of issuing concealed carry permits only to those in the “inner circle,” whether they be city employees, campaign donors, or other politically connected elite, is apparently a widespread problem in “may issue” states, and one that gun rights activists have been working hard to expose.
In California especially, sheriff’s departments will often try to stonewall concealed carry permit applications for ordinary folks while fast-tracking those submitted by their friends and buddies. This “pay-to-play” setup is illegal, and what is now happening in Santa Clara would seem to be the warning shot for other departments that are engaged in similar criminality.
In Santa Clara, it took 18 months of investigation to uncover the dark underbelly of this two-tiered system, which deprives law-abiding citizens of their full Second Amendment rights.
Following the announcement about the indictments, Jensen was immediately placed on administrative leave. The sheriff’s office further indicated that it “will continue to monitor the situation” and has “no further information at this time.”
As for AS Solution, the firm that handles the permits, the company claims that it “has provided its full cooperation” to the investigation, though it declined to comment on the indictment, citing the investigation that is still ongoing.
“The AS Solution team is committed to ethical and lawful practices and full cooperation with law enforcement,” stated Brian Jantzen, the company’s executive vice president. “We are focused on continued service to our clients and ensuring that our ethical standards are upheld.”
Prosecutors say that up to 12 AS Solution employees were granted concealed carry permits in exchange for $90,000 in donations to Smith’s reelection. More details about the case and what has thus far been uncovered and revealed is available at this link.
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