Local News

Tuesday, Nov 17 2009 08:02 PM

Concealed weapons permit violations rare, police say

BY STEVE E. SWENSON, Californian staff writer sswenson@bakersfield.com

People who qualify for concealed weapon permits are generally the good guys, but once in a while they mess up.

A recent example is a Bakersfield man who obtained a permit and three days later shot at his former girlfriend's car.

That man, 61-year-old Lloyd McMullen is now facing felony charges and has had his permit revoked, Kern County sheriff's deputies said.

It is rare for someone who has a concealed weapon permit to be subsequently charged with shooting someone or at someone, Sheriff Donny Youngblood said.

"We don't have a problem with people who get gun permits," Youngblood said. "We have a problem with people who have guns and don't get permits."

In the three years he's been sheriff, there has only been one or two times that a permit has been revoked, he said. The department revokes a permit if someone uses and displays a gun inappropriately, or gets arrested for a crime, Youngblood said.

Bakersfield Police Lt. Mitch Willoughby said he's only revoked one permit in the last year for a man who was arrested on a spousal abuse charge.

The state Bureau of Firearms said that Kern County has 3,308 concealed weapon permits for civilians, assistant licensing chief Steve Buford said. That doesn't include judges or reserve officers, he said. Police officers and deputies don't have to have the permit.

In the last two years, 15 have been revoked, he said. The sheriff's department issues the vast majority of the permits while each city police department issues much smaller numbers.

To get a concealed weapon permit, a person must have no felony convictions, pass a background check that can include of check of his references and employment, and have a good cause for wanting to carry a concealed weapon, sheriff's spokesman Ray Pruitt said. An applicant must also complete a safety training course, he said.

The sheriff's department does not publicly divulge why a person says they need to carry a concealed weapon, Pruitt said.

The local police or sheriff's agency and the state Department of Justice review applications.

McMullen shot at his former girlfriend on Oct. 8, Bakersfield police reports say.

He was arrested on Nov. 1, but he is free from jail after posting $100,000 bail.

McMullen went to court Monday on charges of assault with a firearm and assault with a deadly weapon other than a firearm, but his arraignment was delayed to Dec. 1.

A police search warrant says Kelly Whetstone, who is about 36 years old, came out of the Pour House Lounge on Fruitvale Avenue after midnight. She was with a male friend.

She told police she noticed McMullen, whom she had dated until about five months ago, driving by. He then turned around and started following her.

She said he was afraid and tried to drive away from him.

But she said he chased her and rammed her vehicle several times as she went to the 6700 block of Kodiak Court.

That's where she said he fired two shots at her pickup, the search warrant continues. McMullen ultimately admitted shooting, but said he fired the shots into the ground to scare her, the warrant says.

She drove away again but he rammed her again in the 4300 block of Fruitvale Avenue. He drove away before police arrived at that location.

But police found his pickup Nov. 1 where he works at Valley Equipment Field Service on Standard Road. Police said there was damage on the front end consistent with an accident so they impounded his vehicle.

Later that day, McMullen reported that his vehicle was stolen and that's when police came out and arrested him.

Police obtained a warrant to search a trailer where he had been living and a home where he moved back in with his wife.

Officers seized five handguns, two rifles and a shotgun from those locations, including a .45-caliber Glock handgun that police believe was used to shoot at Whetstone's vehicle.

When McMullen was arrested officers immediately issued a protective order to keep McMullen away from Whetstone.

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