Concealed gun permit may be easier to get in Fresno

FRESNO, Calif.

Fresno City Council President Lee Brand introduced the "Citizen's Concealed Weapons Act" that will go before the council next week.

Brand said, "They have a right to defend themselves if the police, they can't be everywhere at the same time."

Brand is proposing an amendment to the concealed weapons city code passed in 1995. The biggest change would allow the average citizen who is not a business owner or involved in a dangerous profession to qualify for a concealed weapons permit.

Anybody can get a gun, whether you get it legally or use it illegally, criminals have guns, that's not the problem," said Brand. "We're giving law abiding citizens, responsible people the opportunity to level the playing field."

And the chief of police supports the idea one-hundred percent.

Chief Jerry Dyer said, "This will give those law abiding citizens an opportunity to come forward and be provided with a concealed weapons permit should they meet the background check."

People would still need to meet state and federal guidelines to apply for a permit, including being at least 21 years of age, have no criminal record and no substance abuse problems.

"I think it's everyone's 2nd amendment right to be able to protect themselves," said Jesse Gibson. "I think it's awesome that more people are going to be carrying guns around."

Gibson is a store clerk at the Range Pistol Club in North West Fresno. He says the new ordinance would be a deterrent for criminals. "Robbers or any other criminals aren't going to want to go around causing crimes if they know that somebody possible has a gun on them."

But some residents are worried this will just make more people carry handguns.

Camille Russell, anti-gun activist said, "The prevalence of handguns is much more harmful to our society than the times when we need to protect ourselves from somebody."

Russell is an anti-gun activist who says the measure would make the streets in Fresno less safe. "I don't want to go into Save Mart or JC Penny or Sweet Tomatoes and be sitting next to somebody who's carrying a handgun that's concealed."

And the controversy is expected to spill into council chambers. One other councilmember we talked to said he's on the fence right now.

The entire city council will vote on the measure next week.

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