S.E. Williams

There was nearly a 64% year over year jump in the purchase of firearms in 2020. This represents the purchase of nearly 23 million weapons in a single year.

Not surprisingly, the former card-carrying member of the Oath Keepers and Riverside County’s Constitutional Sheriff extraordinaire, Chad Bianco, has done his part to add to the exploding number of gun owners and concealed weapon carriers in the County.

During a recent sit down with CRAPTV, although he took time to address the Oath Keepers’ controversy and other subjects, Bianco also bragged extensively about how he has accelerated the process for weapons’ permits in the county.

“America is drowning in guns. Even if they were all banned from midnight tonight, it would probably take a century or two to get them all out of circulation and maybe not even then.”

Stewart Stafford

To say accelerated the process would be an understatement. The number of permits has exploded in the county from about 4,400 when Bianco took office to about 16,000 today. That’s an increase of nearly 364%.

Beyond bragging about the 16,000 permits, Bianco boasted how his department has about two thousand additional applications pending. “We can get you processed in two weeks,” he boasted as if approving these permits are at the top of his priority list.

I guess Bianco is turning to the second amendment to change the subject from his affiliation with the Oath Keepers, but his love of weapons’ permits is not an aberration for him because it is not too far from the second amendment clinging philosophy of the Oath Keepers and other extremist organizations like them. 

During the interview, Bianco was quick to slander the county’s former sheriff by claiming , “Their direction was to only handle so many a day, to intimidate people from applying, to keep numbers down.” But in Biancoland, “If you want a permit and you are not permitted from having one–you should,” he seemed to encourage.  

This opinion piece is not meant as an argument against the second amendment, but an argument for thoughtful consideration of the dangers of an overly armed community—something the sheriff might be capable of doing if he thought more about the safety of all the members of Riverside County than he does about his own political posturing.

Riverside County Sheriff Chad Bianco appears relaxed during interview with CRPATV. (source: youtube.com)

This should be a primary consideration as political uncertainty continues to reign, conflict over COVID-19 mandates persist, and despite economic progress after a disastrous 2020, growing concerns over inflation are serving to add more uncertainty to an already weary public.

When these concerns are coupled with a group of right-wing extremists who continue to spread falsehoods about the election, attempted to topple the American government on January 6, are fighting against all efforts to contain the virus, and have pledged their fealty to a golden—I mean—a bloated-red-faced-idol–a gun toting society is certainly reason for concern.  

In no way, however,  do I mean to infer that all weapon(s)’ owners and/or permit applicants in the county are extremists—I know they are not. Nor is it my intent to disparage gun owners. I raise this issue merely as a concerned citizen and out of an abundance of  caution because we have seen gun sales skyrocket across the country and these are truly dangerous times.

I raise this issue because, as reported by Reuters in April, there were 120 guns for every 100 Americans.  That is unnerving in and of itself. What is more interesting though, is a PEW research report in September which shows  only four in ten U.S. adults say they live in a household where someone owns a gun, and this includes the 30% who say they personally own one. So, who is hoarding all  of the weapons in this country and why?  

(source: pewresearch.org)

During Bianco’s interview with CRPA he also boasted,  “Permit carriers have stopped crimes.” He then offered, “We’ve had several,” he stated. But then went on to say the reason the public does not know about this “good work” is because “the media” just will not report on these incidents. Really?

I think we can all agree that Riverside County needs a lot of things–good paying jobs, housing, an end to homelessness, etc. 

I also think most of us will agree, one  thing the county does not need is a group of vigilantes taking things into their own hands. We’ve seen what happens when these scenarios have unfolded in other places around the country. Just ask the families of Trayvon Martin or Ahmaud Arbery; or the families of the victims of Mr. Kyle Rittenhouse including  Anthony Huber and Joseph Rosenbaum who were killed, and Gaige Grosskreutz who was seriously injured.

CRPA TV channel describes itself as “your source for news and educational video productions relating to the right to keep and bear arms and the right to choose to own a gun…”

This seems like the type of media outlet Bianco would gravitate to as a way to soothe his bruised and outsized ego. This was certainly affirmed by the fawning of the host who sang Bianco’s praises referring to him as, “the constitutional sheriff of everything in Riverside County.”

Bianco noted during the interview that, “Law-abiding citizens don’t commit crimes.” Well, that statement was certainly a blinding flash of the obvious. Of course, law abiding citizens do not commit crimes. If they did, they would not be law abiding. Duh! This is the kind of thought-less wisdom we’ve grown to expect from this sheriff. 

The enthusiasm Bianco expressed during the interview over his department’s wildly exploding approval of weapons’ permits in Riverside County makes him appear tone death to the tensions that are continuously being fueled by right wing extremists—groups both the FBI and CIA have identified as extremely dangerous–and that are being sanctioned by Republican Party officials who now represent a party without a moral compass or core. But then again, this is who Bianco is. This is what he believes. This is how he runs the sheriff’s department. And, this is just one more reason he must be voted out in 2022.

Of course, this is just my opinion. I’m keeping it real.

S.E. Williams

Stephanie Williams is executive editor of the IE Voice and Black Voice News. A longtime champion for civil rights and justice in all its forms, she is also an advocate for government transparency and...