The Orange County Register
February 24, 2009

The Orange County grand jury has a message for county supervisors, gun rights advocates and everyone else who disagrees with Sheriff Sandra Hutchens’ plan to reduce concealed weapons permits: “Let the sheriff do her job.”

That’s the title of the grand jury report to be released today, according to a confidential copy obtained by The Orange County Register.

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Hutchens has spent months arguing with local lawmakers and gun advocates over her plan to make it tougher to get gun permits.

Critics have said that Hutchens, a former division chief for the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, is mistakenly bringing an L.A. standard to a staunchly Republican county. Hutchens argues she is just enforcing state law and refuses to use the permit issue to advance policy beliefs on gun rights.

“An orderly society is the goal. Public safety is the paramount consideration,” concludes the grand jury report. “The fact that public clamor has reached the ears of politicians is irrelevant.”

Hutchens was muted in her reaction to the report, thanking the grand jury through a spokesman for “looking at this issue from a factual and dispassionate basis.”

Under California law, sheriffs and police chiefs have wide discretion in deciding what residents have a “good cause” that would enable them to carry a concealed gun in public. Former Sheriff Mike Carona established a policy that greatly expanded the number of permits during his tenure.

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