San Diego Gun Owners PAC applauds federal guidelines for opening gun shops as essential businesses; gratitude to Sheriff Bill Gore, `condemnation’ for County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher

San Diego County Gun Owners Rostra General Posts 14 Comments


San Diego County Gun Owners (SDCGO), a political action committee (PAC) promoting Second Amendment rights, is applauding recent federal guidelines that have classified gun shop retailers as essential businesses to remain open during the coronavirus pandemic lockdown.

“Despite what you might be hearing from over-reaching, power-hungry politicians, gun shops are protected by the federal government and are absolutely deemed essential,” said Michael Schwartz, executive director, SDCGO. “This virus pandemonium has uncovered politicians who will use a crisis as an opportunity to restrict Constitutional freedoms and threaten everyone’s Second Amendment civil rights. Law-abiding Americans must never be deprived of the right to defend themselves and their loved ones at any time.”

In a memo dated March 28, 2020, the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Agency (CISA) identified “workers who conduct a range of operations and services that are typically essential to continued critical infrastructure viability.” Appearing on page 6 of the 15-page CISA document that lists essential critical infrastructure workforce is the following: “Workers supporting the operation of firearm or ammunition product manufacturers, retailers, importers, distributors and shooting ranges.”

The government document, available at, states its list of essential workers is “advisory in nature” and “intended to help state, local, tribal and territorial officials as they work to protect their communities.”

“While the CISA document is not the law, state and local governments have chosen to rely on federal guidelines regarding what businesses are considered as essential,” Schwartz said. “We expect state and local government will continue to be consistent by following the federal guidelines for the safety of society and first responders. We’re telling our gun shop members to stay open and not be bullied or intimidated by gun control activists or politicians who are intent on an abuse of power.”

Schwartz said he was grateful about recent statements by San Diego County Sheriff Bill Gore who said his department will not force firearm dealers in county jurisdiction to close. Calling their service valuable, Gore asked store operators to follow social distancing rules and find alternative ways to sell guns and ammunition, such as online or by appointment. Gore said he was concerned that forcing gun stores to close would lead to illegal sales in the black market. He said gun stores ensure legal and prudent sales by carrying out state-mandated measures such as background checks.

Gore’s remarks were in stark contrast to Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva who labeled gun stores nonessential and said they would be cited unless they close. A few days later, Villanueva reversed his position after he said county counsel determined that gun stores could be considered an essential business during the coronavirus pandemic.

Meanwhile, Schwartz added he was “extremely disappointed” with what he called “inflammatory” statements by San Diego County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher who also cited opinions from attorneys and said in a recent press briefing, “We consulted with our county counsel. It is not our belief that gun stores are essential businesses based on the governor’s executive order and, so, therefore, they should not be open in the county of San Diego.” (

“We have a harsh condemnation for Supervisor Fletcher and are extremely disappointed with his inflammatory rhetoric about closing gun shops,” said Schwartz. “The Supervisor’s potentially dangerous statements were ludicrous and escalated an already tense situation unnecessarily with bad information. Nathan Fletcher should stop his inflammatory rhetoric and concentrate on the business of running the county.”

Schwartz said the PAC’s 1,800 members have a message for public officials dealing with the virus hysteria.

“Our members have asked us to encourage all elected officials and health professionals to consider their words carefully and proceed with caution when considering public policies that trample on freedoms central to American life and the economic security of the country,” said Schwartz.

“In the case of gun shop owners as small businesses who are struggling to survive during this hysteria, the economic shutdown has been devastating. Of course, gun shop owners believe that every life matters and that it’s important to thwart the spread with social distancing. But, an economic recession and social crisis has been created with extreme measures intended to solve a medical crisis. Gun shops have been castigated for their attempts to simply serve their customers.

“In addition, the situation has been made worse by overreacting politicians who stroke public outrage with their incendiary and reckless comments as they flex their egos in the name of safeguarding public health. During a time when people are trying to make sure they remain safe and secure is not a time to advance your political agenda. For the sake of the safety of all San Diegans, please be a part of the solution rather than creating yet another problem.”

Schwartz noted the spike in gun sales and ammunition fueled by the need for self-defense during the national coronavirus scare. Federal gun background checks — a key barometer of gun sales — are up 300 percent, compared to the same timeframe a year ago, according to the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NICS), the federal background check system.

“As we’ve seen in the past with other national events, Americans are serious about providing for their safety and security,” said Schwartz. “Thousands of San Diegans have purchased firearms in recent weeks, and hundreds of thousands of gun owners across the country want to buy ammunition or need a gun smith. Depending on how long this emergency continues, many Americans may find themselves facing situations where they will need to be their own first responders.”

While every U.S. state has a Second Amendment PAC, along with several nationwide gun rights PACs, SDCGO is believed to be America’s first strictly local, countywide Second Amendment advocacy organization. The local PAC features a diverse and inclusive membership with representatives from the LGBT, Latino, African American, Asian and Pacific Islander communities.

Founded in 2015, the San Diego County Gun Owners is a registered political action committee (FPPC ID #1379388) and advocacy organization focused on organizing the gun industry and community and protecting the U.S. Constitution’s Second Amendment right to bear arms. With a membership exceeding 1,800 individuals, the PAC provides news and information on new gun laws and Second Amendment advocacy. Its sponsored events include gun safety classes, small gun shows, sporting clay shoots, social gatherings and pistol, rifle and shotgun experiences taught by professional instructors. For more information, visit


Comments 14

  1. ““This virus pandemonium has uncovered politicians who will use a crisis as an opportunity to restrict Constitutional freedoms and threaten everyone’s Second Amendment civil rights. Law-abiding Americans must never be deprived of the right to defend themselves and their loved ones at any time.””

    Well said Michael!

  2. SDSO has currently put all CCW applications on hold…..even if you have a complete app/supporting documents/payment/appointment. I have a great idea. The entire nation is thinking “outside the box”. How about SDSO waive the instruction/have it online and the shooting test (for those who have already shown shooting proficiency like for military) and just get prints? Someone at the SDSO can review your app, checking things like the weapons on it are indeed registered to the person making the app, etc. This is the STANDARD for many states (actually MORE). Give them the CCW NOW and when things are safe they can do an in person shooting test if anyone really thinks that necessary. Right now NYPD has 1,000 officers positive for COVID and it’s my guess our LE agencies will see their ranks diminished. Is now really the time to freeze CCWs?

  3. @Michael Alena I am the LAST person to “defend” Gore’s restrictionist CCW policies but might we look at this temporary application suspension through a “practical” lens?

    If San Diegans are supposed to be staying at home, how important is a license to carry in public?

    Again, I am no apologist for Sheriff Gore but I want to work with the man as he becomes more and more reasonable about our natural rights

  4. Brian, you must not be on the freeways. More and more vehicles are on the road every day. MANY, from military to grocery workers to truck drivers to healthcare professionals, etc. are still working. In addition, they are working more hours, more 24 hour operations that didn’t used to be…from stocking shelves to deliveries, etc., not to mention enterprises who have increased their employee numbers. How many MORE are working at hospitals due to an increased patient load (current and projected)? How many MORE are working to stock shelves, drive trucks, etc.? It’s my contention that there is a GREATER need for CCW now. I’m not even going to ask Gore and the rest of the Chiefs, etc. how many sworn are calling in sick, on quarantine, tested positive, etc…..but I don’t want the bad guys to know if/to what extent LE is degraded. This is exactly the situation that the Second Amendment is vital for. For what it is worth, at our house, my wife, who is retired Army, makes sure her weapon is load and available…as I am considered “essential” and still going to work each day….and she knows SHE is responsible for our family’s safety and home…with degraded LE and criminals being let out of jail

  5. I am on the freeways every day; it’s a breeze compared to rush hour…compared to ANY hour.

    I appreciate that your retired soldier has the homestead defended (as my wife does too); neither need a CCW to defend it.

  6. If you “had” an appointment for a CCW “interview”, you’re getting an email telling you it has been cancelled due to COVID-19 and SDSO will let you know when it is rescheduled. So, let’s see. Putting aside for a minute that most states don’t need an “in person” interview, does SDSO know it’s 2020 and there’s this thing called “telework” or something called “teleconferencing/videoconferencing”? (You know, like the BOS is doing.) Let me pre-address their probably replies. SDSO: We need copies of your app/supporting documents. Us: Why? We uploaded everything to your new “system”. SDSO: We need your prints. Us: OK. We can do that with two people, one of yours and the applicant. Stand 6′ away or behind a barrier or via video and walk us through it as we do the live scan. SDSO: You need a class and test. Us: OK. We will do it via “teleconference” (or sit 6′ away) and do the test at an outdoor range like behind P2K (maintaining 6′ “social distance” while wearing masks). We can even do it via an appointment like most gun stores are operating now. Now that have shown SDSO how to do it, can it get on with letting people exercise their rights?

  7. Michael Alena, new CCWs and renewals are being processed online. You can upload all documents. Almost all certified CCW instructors are teaching some kind of modified class that complies with new health departments/COVID-19 requirements.

    Here is the link from the sheriff’s website that has the information and link to get started.

    Please be patient with them. They are strugg with manpower right now . Call me if you need help, but please be patient with me too. 858.335.9320

  8. Michael,

    Here’s email they’re sending out. (This went to a person who has already submitted everything, including payment. The appointment was this month…after waiting for five months. How much more patience should we exhibit?)

    “You have an upcoming CCW appointment with the Sheriff Licensing Division. Due to the COVID-19 crisis, our office is currently closed for all CCW transactions, so please do not come in. All April appointments have been canceled.

    We are keeping track of all customers who are forced to miss their appointment due to our lobby closure, so please be assured you won’t “lose your place in line.”

    After this self-quarantine health crisis is over and we are allowed to see customers again, we will announce it on our website. The plan is to see customers in the order of their scheduled appointment, starting with March 30.

    Your part:
    Watch your email, (inbox and spam folders)
    Upload any documents we request through Permitium
    Be ready so when we call you in there won’t be any further delays
    Print your application directly from Permitium after you complete it.
    You will need to bring in a copy of all your supporting documents along with your Permitium application. You will be leaving these documents here for us to keep. You can go into Order Tracker to print your application. If you have any trouble with Permitium, contact

    Our part:
    Announce on the Sheriff Licensing website any/all changes to current lobby closure
    Review all incoming applications in Permitium and communicate with customers via email or phone

    As always contact us with any questions and thank you for your patience.

    San Diego County Sheriff
    Licensing & Registration Division

    | 9621 Ridgehaven Ct, San Diego, CA 92123 | Office: 858-974-2020 |
    | Fax: 858-974-2093 | Email: | Website:”

  9. Michael,

    I think you and your organization have your hearts in the right place, but I am confused. People are told that there is an “online” application system for a CCW, but then told to print everything off and bring it in. I’m being told people are being asked for all kinds of documents (the license for their business/employer, etc.) but nowhere do I see what documents are really required or for what reason. We’re asked to provide a picture ID but then 2, not 1 but 2, documents showing our home address. Once a person dots every “i” and crosses every “t”, and pays their money, he/she is given an “appointment” day/time months in the future….which really isn’t an “appointment” because SDSO can invalidate it at any time. And here we sit. While everyone else, e.g. the trainers, etc. come up with work-arounds to complete the process during this time, SDSO just says…”We’ll get to you when we get to you.”

    None of us can influence the hiring of people for the licensing division nor provide a safe place to do business, etc. Only Sheriff Gore can, and it appears he chooses to take the path of denying as long as possible (as well as making the process as complicated as possible) to get a CCW.

    What really confuses me is that the majority of the BOS has an “R” after their name, as does Gore, yet they don’t act that way.

    “Are we at last brought to such humiliating and debasing degradation that we cannot be trusted with arms for our defense? Where is the difference between having our arms in possession and under our direction, and having them under the management of Congress? If our defense be the real object of having those arms, in whose hands can they be trusted with more propriety, or equal safety to us, as in our own hands?” -Patrick Henry

  10. Michael Alena,
    3 years ago a CCW in San Diego was close to impossible to obtain. SDCGO changed that. We are proud of that fact.

    Part of our efforts to make things better after the change is to introduce the San Diego Sheriff’s Licensing Department to Permitium. It is a low cost program that runs their CCW process. The transition to that platform started in early Masrch and then the world melted down due to COVID-19.

    It sounds like you are caught in the transition and that is unfortunate.

    Normally, before COVID-19, SDCGO teaches 6 or 7 classes a month on how to get your CCW. Most of those were free or less than $20. Should it be such a complicated process than a class is required? Nope. But because California is just about the only state that requires “proof of good cause” and because CCWs are basically new to San Diego, we provide classes.

    We also have a 12 minute video on our website. It has not been updated to show the new Permitium changes, but most of the information is accurate like what documentation is required and how to write your good cause statement.
    Find that video here:

    Because of our advocacy and because of our educational efforts, we’ve seen a 400% increase in issued permits in the last 3 years. (About 3000 additional permits since the policy change and about 120 are being issued every month. )

    All that should be required is:
    – Complete the Permitium application online here:
    – Provide them with your CA driver’s license or CA issued state ID.
    – Provide them with proof you reside in San Diego County like 2 bills on a monthly billing cycle. This can be a utility bill, credit card bill, phone bill. If you do not have, don’t worry. You won’t get denied based on that. They will have to prove you live in San Diego another way. Giving them 2 bills is just the easiest way to do it.
    – Proof of good cause. Your good cause statement plus some kind of back-up (proof) of good cause. Your proof will depend on what your good cause is. If it is based on what you do for a living, then provide proof of what you do for a living. If it is based on a hobby or activity, then provide proof you do that thing for a hobby or activity. If it is based on a health condition, provide proof of that health condition.

    You really should not need much more. You should be able to upload all of that via Permitium. I don’t know why you would need to bring it with you to your appointment if it is uploaded to Permitium, but i also don’t know why bringing it with you is hard to do. They are probably making sure people are overly prepared. Once they have fully integrated to Permitium, thee will be no need for people to bring physical copies of the paperwork they upload.

    If you still need help, call me or email me.
    Michael Schwartz

    I agree with you that California makes their CCW process difficult, but I have been working with Sheriff Gore’s staff for years now and I can say, without hesitation, they are trying to make things as best for the applicant as they can while adhering to state law.

    I also agree with you about the County Board. Cox, Jacob, and Fletcher are horribly anti gun. And they have been for a while. Fletcher used to be Mr. NRA, but then he changed parties, friends, and wives. Suddenly all his views changed. What a coincidence.

    Anyway, a lot of people worked hard to make sure you can get a CCW. If you need us to fight harder, we will. It would be great if you could help us in our efforts. Become a member of SDCGO and pitch in to the effort:

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