In Palm Springs, California hundreds of guns line the walls of a Desert Hot Springs police storage room; from rusted six-shooters to semi-automatic weapons, some are waiting to be destroyed. Others are evidence in ongoing investigations.
California has the most gun-restrictive laws in the country, but last month a federal appeals court loosened requirements for carrying concealed weapons.
Nearly all came from criminals who got them illegally, per Police Chief Dan Bressler. Bressler leads one of the most understaffed police departments in the Coachella Valley, in a city struggling with gangs while it grapples with how to pay for public safety.
While crime has dropped compared with years past, the crime rate was more than double the national average in 2011, according to the FBI.”There are a lot of gang members running around the Coachella Valley who are armed, and there are many law-abiding citizens that are concerned for their safety,” Bressler said.
“I think it’s time for us to issue concealed weapons licenses to the law-abiding people of this city,” he said. “I believe this will deter crime and help people feel safer.”
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