When state lawmakers removed a cap on carry permit fees in 2019, gun rights advocates warned something like this would happen. 

The Democrat-controlled City Council of Morgan Hill, California last week gave a 4-1 thumbs up for a plan that establishes a fee scale for city-issued concealed carry permits. As the city fundamentally had a "no issue" policy when it came to such CCW licenses, the Morgan Hill Police Department has none in circulation. Those who sought a permit from the city were left to prove a subjective "special need" to authorities. 

However, with the U.S. Supreme Court's Bruen decision last year upending such "proper cause" no-issue permitting schemes, Morgan City's Council got cracking on a fee schedule that instead sets an almost impossibly high bar to obtaining a locally issued CCW.

A staff report approved by the Council on April 5 holds that the cost for a permit would be around $1,366 per applicant. This would include $131 in miscellaneous city feeds, a $150 psychological test, 16 hours of firearms safety training at an approved course for approximately $350, and $20 for fingerprints.

The real zinger, however, is $800 for the CCW itself. 

The Council maintains the $800 processing fee is needed to cover the six hours of review for each permit by a Community Services Officer ($419.52), another hour of review by a police Sergeant ($167.81), and an hour under the eyes of a Police Captain ($209.56.)

For now, renewals for future CCWs would be a bargain at just $227.

The city, an affluent community at the southern tip of Silicon Valley, in the San Francisco Bay Area, expects to begin issuing permits sometime in May. 

The ability to set almost any fee for locally issued CCW permits stems from a 2019 bill, AB 1297, which was among 15 anti-gun proposals signed into law at the same time by Gov. Gavin Newsom. The measure deleted the existing $100 limit on processing fees for police chiefs or sheriffs who issue concealed firearm licenses in the state. The California Rifle & Pistol Association at the time warned lawmakers that the bill “will result in high and inconsistent fees charged throughout the state.”

The move by Morgan Hill is not the first time that local governments have attempted to price out facets of the right to keep and bear arms. In 2016, lawmakers in the U.S. Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands instituted a $1,000 excise tax on handguns that was subsequently found unconstitutional by a federal court. Of note, both the CMNI and California are part of the same federal judicial court of appeals-- the U.S. 9th Circuit. 

Banner image: A beautiful Cabot 1911, which costs just a tad more than a CCW in Morgan Hill, California. (Photo: Chris Eger/Guns.com)

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