by Jake Dima

Los Angeles Sheriff Alex Villanueva announced on Wednesday that his department is set to expand the number of approved concealed weapons permits as the area experiences a rampant uptick in violent crime.

In May, the county experienced a 95% uptick in murder, 7% increase in rape, a 13% jump in aggravated assaults, a 40% rise in grand theft auto, and a 22% uptick in arson incidents, compared to the same time frame in 2020, the law enforcement boss disclosed in a video. Villanueva, who said, “We have less cops on the street, more crooks, less consequences,” promised to lower the “good cause” standard to obtain a carry permit, though he does not plan on making the area a “shall issue” region.

Shall issue states and municipalities are required to hand out firearms permits to those who have a clean background and comply with certain training requirements. Much of the Golden State falls into the “may issue” category, in which local leaders have the final say on who can obtain a concealed carry weapon, a policy move that’s sharply criticized by proponents of the Second Amendment.

“We’ve increased our capacity to process CCW permits,” the sheriff said. “We made the ‘good cause’ standard achievable, and we’re recognizing that the threat to the residents is increasing, so we’re responding accordingly.”

Villaneuva, who oversees the most populous county in the United States, said he has issued only 904 permits since assuming office in 2018. A total of 360 are still being processed, and he expects the total issued to reach 1,000 in the coming days.

The crime surge follows a decision by the city of Los Angeles to slash its department funding by more than $150 million last July after the death of George Floyd. The measure passed by an overwhelming 12-2 margin, and the funds will be redistributed to social services.

The sheriff lashed out against the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors for failing to address the uptick in criminal activity.

“I’ve yet to hear a single motion from the board of supervisors addressing this,” he said Wednesday. “Not one.”

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