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Should California lawmakers get special status to carry concealed weapons?

March 14, 2011 |  9:08 am

Talk back LASome California lawmakers are saying their jobs have become dangerous -- so much so that they want to be able to carry  concealed weapons.

They are citing the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) in Tuscon and threats from constituents in California as grounds for them to have easier access to permits to carry weapons, the Times' Patrick McGreevy reports.

"I've had guys physically come up to me ready to punch me out," said state Sen. Lou Correa (D-Santa Ana), co-author of a new permit proposal.

Under current law Californians who want to carry concealed firearms must apply to their county sheriff or police chief and show "good cause" for permission. That can include threats of violence or a dangerous job. Under the new bill, being an elected state official or a member of Congress would constitute good cause. The officials would, like others, be subject to a background check, and a sheriff or police chief could still turn down the application.

Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca objects to the idea, noting that elected officials should have to go through the same process that requires them to show good cause for the permit. And, in an unusual show of agreement, both gun rights and gun control advocates agree that elected officials should not have special status.

Do you agree? Are California lawmakers exposed to so many threats that their position alone should qualify them to acquire a concealed permit? Or should they be treated like every other citizen? Tell us your thoughts below.