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Sheriff Jones Criticized Over How County Issues Conceal And Carry Weapon Permits

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (CBS13) - Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones is under fire after a state audit found inconsistencies in the way his department issues conceal and carry weapon permits.

The audit, released on Thursday, also looked at the sheriff's departments in San Diego and Los Angeles and found similar inconsistencies and a lack of training by personnel.

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Over the last three years, no sheriff has issued more conceal and carry permits than Scott Jones. He has approved 6,336, while San Diego issued 464 and Los Angeles Sheriff Department has issued just 66.

"The law does allow discretion on how to implement that," explained Margarita Fernandez with the State Auditor's Office.

She says Sacramento has a loose definition of "good cause" for needing a CCW.

An audit by her office found that Sacramento, San Diego, and Los Angeles sheriff's departments didn't comply with their own rules on issuing gun permits.

"They should be following those policies and procedures," said Fernandez, "they're intended to protect the public."

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Fernandez says Sacramento employees lacked proper training when reviewing applications. Auditors looked at 25 permit samples from each sheriff's department The audit found that one-third of the applications in the sample lacked complete information about background checks. One-third of the samples didn't have sufficient residency documentation and three out of 25 sample applicants either failed to fully complete a required gun safety course or did so outside the 180-day time period.

The audit doesn't lay out explicit violations of the law, but Assemblyman Kevin McCarty, who commissioned the audit, said in a statement, "Sheriff Scott Jones has maliciously neglected his sworn duty to follow the law when issuing CCW licenses."

Sheriff Jones says McCarty's actions are political and refutes McCarty's assertion that he broke the law. He issued a statement saying, in part, the audit "found that none of my permits were issued in violation of state law."

Earlier this week, before the audit was published, Jones posted on social media some of the findings. Fernandez says releasing information from a state audit before it's published could be considered a misdemeanor.

But Jones says that law only applies to the auditor and not the agency under scrutiny.

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