As Sheriff, I Will Safeguard Your Constitutional Right to Keep and Bear Arms (CCWs)

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Guest Commentary
by John Hemmerling

The upcoming election for Sheriff is of vital importance to San Diego County. Crime is up on our streets and morale is down in our Sheriff’s Department. There is an old saying that “a new broom sweeps clean.” I will bring real change and strong leadership as your new Sheriff!

I am committed to focusing on what matter most: strengthening public safety, treating community members with dignity, defending individual rights, and safeguarding victims of crime.

I will use bold, focused law enforcement techniques to root out violent criminals and reduce gun violence on our streets. I am also committed to improving San Diego County’s processes for concealed carry permits (CCW’s) so individuals may fully exercise their constitutional right to keep and bear arms. These priorities are fully consistent.

During my time as the Chief Legal Counsel to San Diego Police Chiefs William Lansdowne and Shelley Zimmerman, I provided extensive legal review and advice on many topics, and statutes, including the topic of CCW’s. I know the law. Don’t be fooled by politics and election disinformation.

Sheriffs in California are, by statute, entrusted with the role of approving CCW’s. San Diego County is one of the least CCW-friendly counties in the state. Of the 58 county sheriff’s offices in California, 50 have less restrictive “good cause” requirements than San Diego. Only seven (Alameda, Amador, Los Angeles, Mendocino, San Francisco, Santa Clara, and Sonoma), are as or more restrictive.

Many of you have been made to wait months and even years, only to be told you were denied a CCW due to insufficient proof of “good cause.” Our current CCW process is overly burdensome and nearly impossible for many responsible gun owners to navigate successfully. Unlike most counties, San Diego applicants “may” demonstrate “good cause” only if they provide proof of such “criteria” as: an attempt by a second party to do great bodily harm to the applicant; a high-risk business or occupation; transportation of large sums of money or valuables for business; or verifiable, documented threats to the applicant, their family of employees. “Nonspecific, general concerns about personal safety are insufficient” in San Diego County. [See San Diego Sheriff’s CCW policy, Rev. 8-19-21,]

My firm belief is that the “good cause” evaluation process must allow each individual to assess their own need for personal safety or self-defense. Four counties (Monterey, Ventura, San Joaquin, and Sutter) explicitly state just that: that personal protection or self-defense are sufficient to establish good cause. When I am Sheriff, San Diego County will follow suit. I will direct the Sheriff’s Department to issue CCW’s to all applicants who meet the statutory requirements, including the completion of required training and passing the background investigation.

The status quo is not good enough. Look at my record on public service and leadership, whether as a decorated San Diego Police Officer, Marine combat veteran, or Chief Criminal Prosecutor in the City of San Diego. We need fresh, new leadership for a real change in how we safeguard our neighborhoods, run our jails, treat victims of crime, and promptly grant CCW permits for all applicants who meet the statutory requirements.

That is why I’m endorsed by a strong coalition of conservatives and influential groups, including the California Republican Party, the Republican Party of San Diego County, former-Mayor Kevin Faulconer, retired-Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman, San Diego City Councilman Chris Cate, Mayors Richard Bailey (Coronado), Bill Wells (El Cajon), John Minto (Santee), the San Diego Deputy City Attorney’s Association, San Diego Asian Americans for Equality, and many others.

Please vote for John Hemmerling for Sheriff on June 7th. Your support is essential so I may provide the fresh new leadership, transparency and accountability that we need to restore law and order and keep our community safe!

John Hemmerling is the San Diego City Attorney’s Chief Criminal Prosecutor; he is a retired Marine Corps Reserve Colonel; a decorated Gulf and Iraq War veteran; and a former San Diego Police Officer. He is endorsed by the California GOP and Republican Party of San Diego County for Sheriff. For more information, go to


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