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Freeze on new concealed weapons permits in Sacramento County

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All new applications for a permit to carry a concealed weapon in Sacramento County are on hold until July, the Sacramento County Sheriff's Department said.

"It's costing me my safety," said Mariah Rivera, a college student whose appointment with the Concealed Weapons Unit was abruptly canceled by email.

"So this being postponed really sets me back," Rivera told KCRA 3.

Sheriff Scott Jones declined to respond on camera Tuesday, instead issuing a statement to KCRA 3, in which he called the decision a "slowdown in CCW application processing."

The Concealed Weapons Unit is shut down until July for new applications, and is processing only renewals because of budget concerns, "that include cuts to on-call hours in the CCW unit, which necessitated the cancellation of some scheduled appointments for May and June," Jones wrote.

His department has been hearing from plenty of concerned people like Rivera.

"I'm a single female and I live alone," Rivera told KCRA 3. "Prop 47 recently let a lot of criminals back out onto the streets and I'm worried about protecting myself."

The sheriff's department told KCRA 3 in a statement that the cutbacks, which include overtime and other spending across the board, will remain in effect until the new fiscal year - and new funding kicks in on July 1.

"Be patient is all we can advise," said Sam Paredes, executive director of Gun Owners of California.

Paredes told KCRA 3 the sheriff is a strong advocate of concealed weapons permits.

"He has issued close to 8,000 concealed weapons permits," Paredes said. "That's more than the five previous sheriffs combined throughout their entire tenure."

Those anxious to get new CCW permits will just have to wait another seven weeks until appointments begin again in July.

Obtaining a CCW permit requires rigorous screening by law enforcement. It can cost hundreds of dollars for fingerprinting, application fees and a 16-hour mandatory weapons training course.