San Francisco Residents Seeking Concealed-Carry Permits Endure Long Waits, Fear

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A San Francisco electrician hides his gun case in a backpack and his ammunition in a toolbox when he loads up his van for a day at the shooting range some 20 miles outside the city.

Though he shares many of the liberal values of his neighbors—“I am an equality-loving pronoun-checking, hippie, San Francisco guy”—he conceals his status as a gun owner, worried that they would ostracize him if they knew. 

The 42-year-old is one of 285 residents seeking a permit to carry concealed weapons in public in a city that has long had some of the tightest firearm restrictions in the country.

The San Franciscans who want to carry guns include software engineers, accountants, middle managers and firearms instructors. They fall along the entire political spectrum, but many have at least one thing in common: They don’t want to be identified because they are worried about judgment from their neighbors or employers.

Their names are discoverable under public records law with some exceptions, according to legal experts. 

Cities such as San Francisco that routinely denied such permits have received a flood of applications since the Supreme Court ruled for the first time last summer that the Second Amendment protects Americans’ right to carry guns outside the home for self-defense. In the past, authorities here said they received fewer than 20 applications a year.