COSTA MESA (CBSLA.com) — The number of concealed weapons permits issued this year in Orange County could double after officials implemented a more relaxed standard earlier this year, according to a report.

A federal court ruling in February has prompted Sheriff Sandra Hutchens to ease documentation requirements when applying for a concealed carry (CCW) permit, the Los Angeles Times reported. Hutchens’ decision came after the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals deemed many urban counties in California too restrictive.

Prior to February, applicants had to document why they needed a concealed weapon. Those previously granted approval typically would have been a reserve police officer or a business owner.

Now, the law finds an offer of self defense a sufficient excuse.

“In this most recent court case decision has essentially taken a lot of, or most of, the discretion away from the Sheriff,” said Lt. Jeff Hallock of the Orange County Sheriff’s Department. “Rather than having the ability to evaluate somebody’s good-cause statement and make a determination, the most recent court case decision basically tells them if someone is requesting a CCW based on protection or self defense, they in fact meet that requirement. And denying it because of that would be a violation of their Second Amendment right.”

In a county with more than three million residents, 1,640 of them are licensed to carry a concealed weapon. More than 2,800 more have pending applications with the Orange County Sheriff’s Department.

Felons are ineligible to apply for a CCW permit. Sheriff’s officials say applicants must exhibit good moral character and undergo a background check and training.

If the permit is issued it is legal to carry a loaded gun in public areas.

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