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Thread: Apirl 10, 2008 Office of Legislative Research on Gun issues

  1. #1
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    I would like to thank Connecticut State representative Minnie.Gonzalez@cga.ct.govfor asking that these questions be answered by the Office of Legislative Research.

    This report was released on April 10, 2008.

    The most important part of this report for those visiting this message board has been highlited in RED and UNDERLINED.

    This report is referred to as: OLR 2008-R-0238





    You asked nine specific gun permit-related questions and specifically requested that we base our responses solely on statutes. Your specific questions and answers follow.

    This office does not give legal opinions and this report should not be construed as such.



    GUN PERMIT-RELATED QUESTIONS

    1. Is there any statute prescribing that firearms must be carried concealed?

    The answer is no. The law does not address this issue. But, with limited exceptions, it is illegal to carry a handgun, whether concealed or openly, without a permit, except in one's home or place of business (CGS § 29-35(a) 29-28(e)[/u]).

    3. Does simple exposure of a firearm justify the revocation of a gun permit?

    The law does not provide an exhaustive list of permit revocation criteria. Rather, it allows revocation for cause. It requires revocation upon the permit holder's conviction for a felony or any of 11 specified misdemeanors. It also requires revocation upon any grounds on which a permit would have been denied. This includes a finding that the applicant (1) is not suitable (which the law does not define) to receive a permit or (2) does not want the handguns for lawful purposes. The law does not define suitability, and it does not provide standards for making the determination (see BACKGROUND).

    The 11 misdemeanors for which a permit must be revoked are:

    1. criminally negligent homicide (excluding deaths caused by motor vehicles) (CGS § 53a-58);

    2. third-degree assault (CGS § 53a-61);

    3. third-degree assault of a blind, elderly, pregnant, or mentally retarded person (CGS § 53a-61a);

    4. second-degree threatening (CGS § 53a-62);

    5. first-degree reckless endangerment (CGS § 53a-63);

    6. second-degree unlawful restraint (CGS § 53a-96);

    7. first-degree riot (CGS § 53a-175);

    8. second-degree riot (CGS § 53a-176);

    9. inciting to riot (CGS § 53a-178);

    10. second-degree stalking (CGS § 53a-181d); and

    11. first offense involving possession of (a) controlled or hallucinogenic substances (other than a narcotic substance or marijuana) or (b) less than four ounces of a cannabis-type substance (CGS § 21a-279(c)).

    The other grounds on which the permit issuing authority must deny and revoke a permit are that the person:

    1. is an illegal alien;

    2. is under age 21;

    3. failed to successfully complete a firearm safety and use course approved by the commissioner;

    4. was discharged from custody in the preceding 20 years after a finding of not guilty of a crime by reason of mental disease or defect;

    5. was confined by the probate court to a mental hospital in the 12 months before applying for a permit or certificate;

    6. was convicted of a serious juvenile offense;

    7. is subject to a firearm seizure order issued after notice and a hearing;

    8. is prohibited under federal law from possessing or shipping firearms because he or she was adjudicated as a mental defective or committed to a mental institution (except in cases where the Treasury Department grants relief);

    9. is under a protective or restraining order for using or threatening to use force and in the case of possession, he or she knows about the order and if the order was issued in-state, he or she was notified and given a hearing opportunity (CGS §§ 29-28 and 29-32).

    4. Can the Department of Public Safety (DPS) revoke a permit without a written request?

    The answer is yes. The public safety commissioner may revoke a permit based upon his own investigation or at the request of any law enforcement official (CGS § 29-32(b)). The law does not specify that the revocation request be made in writing.

    5. How must the public safety commissioner notify a permit holder that his or her is revoked?

    The commissioner must provide written notice to the permit holder (CGS § 29-32(b)).

    6. Can a person apply for a permit in more than one location if he or she has more than one bona fide residence?

    The law does not address the subject of multiple residences. It reads as follows: “Upon the application of any person having a bona fide residence or place of business within the jurisdiction of any such authority, such chief of police, warden or selectman may issue a temporary state permit to such person to carry a pistol or revolver within the state. . . . ” (CGS § 29-29(b)).

    7. Does the law require DPS to conduct an independent investigation before revoking a gun permit?

    The law does not address this issue (see Question 3).

    8. What limitation, if any, does the law place on the use of erased criminal history or dismissed case records in the permit revocation process?

    The law does not describe the gun permit revocation process or specify what records the commissioner must consider in making revocation decisions. But it allows people aggrieved by a permit revocation to appeal, within 90 days, to the Board of Firearms Permit Examiners (CGS § 29-32b).

    The law requires police, courts, and prosecutors to erase all related records when (1) a criminal case is dismissed or nolled, (2) the offense for which the defendant was convicted is later decriminalized, or (3) a defendant is acquitted or granted an absolute pardon (CGS § 54-142a). (The duty to erase does not apply if the defendant was found not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect or guilty but not criminally responsible by reason of mental disease or defect. ) “Court records” do not include the record or transcript of an official court reporter, assistant court reporter, or monitor.

    Erased records are generally not disclosable. But a court may order disclosure to (1) a defendant in an action for false arrest, (2) a state prosecutor and a defense attorney when the defendant faces perjury charges based on his trial testimony, or (3) crime victims within two years after final disposition of the criminal case (CGS § 54-142c).

    9. How long after a permit revocation must a person wait to reapply for a temporary state gun permit?

    The law does not address this issue. But a person whose permit is revoked on certain grounds (e. g. , conviction for a felony or any of the specified misdemeanors) is permanently barred from getting another permit.

    BACKGROUND

    Connecticut law, as interpreted by the courts, gives broad discretion to officials who determine whether someone is suitable to carry handguns.

    For gun permitting purposes, the gun literature identifies “shall issue” or “may issue” states. In “shall issue” states, the permit or license authority must issue the permit or license if the applicant meets the law's requirements. Connecticut is a “may issue” state, in that the permit-issuing official has discretion to determine whether to issue or revoke a permit.

    A recent Superior Court case quoted an 1882 Connecticut Supreme Court opinion stating that suitabilityis not defined by the law so that its application can be determined as mere matter of eye-sight, but it is left necessarily to be determined solely by the judgment of the commissioners based upon inquiry and information. And that the particular manner of exercising such judgment cannot be controlled by any court is too obvious to require the citation of any authorities” (Lepri v. Board of Firearms Permit Examiners, No. CV 96-0055714, Sept. 29, 1998, citing Batters v. Dunning, 49 Conn. 479 (1882)).

    Many court opinions dealing with suitability for gun permits cite an 1894 Connecticut Supreme Court decision that involved liquor licenses. The word “suitable” as descriptive of an applicant for license under the statute, is insusceptible of any legal definition that wholly excludes the personal views of the tribunal authorized to determine the suitability of the applicant. A person is “suitable” who by reason of his characterhis reputation in the community, his previous conduct as a licenseeis shown to be suited or adapted to the orderly conduct of [an activity] which the law regards as so dangerous to public welfare that its transaction by any other than a carefully selected person duly licensed is made a criminal offense.It is patent that the adaptability of any person to such [an activity] depends upon facts and circumstances that may be indicated but cannot be fully defined by law, whose probative force will differ in different cases, and must in each case depend largely upon the sound judgment of the selecting tribunal (Smith's Appeal from County Commissioners, 65 Conn. 135, 138 (1894)).

    One court dealing with suitability stated that the government's interest “is to protect the safety of the general public from individuals whose conduct has shown them to be lacking the essential character or temperament necessary to be entrusted with a weapon” (Rabbit v. Leonard, 36 Conn. Sup. 108, 115 (1979)). Another court stated that the “personal views of the agency members are necessarily a factor in the decision, and similar facts and circumstances will have varying probative force in different cases” but the facts found by the board should provide a logical inference that the person poses some danger to the public if allowed to carry a weapon outside the home or business (Nicholson v. Board of Firearms Permit Examiners, No. CV 940541048, Sept. 28, 1995).

  2. #2
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    Good Afternoon!

    I just found you site, registered, and this is my first post.

    I have wondered about open carry (with a permit) in CT for some time. While the answer to question #1 is a resounding "NO", this "NO" answer is based ONLYon the statutes concerning FIREARMS,correct?

    If this is true, then isn't it ALSO true that if you DO open carry (with permit) in CT, you STILL CAN BE ARRESTED SIMPLY IF SOMEONE COMPLAINS, ON THE BASIS OF A NON-FIREARMS STATUE SUCH AS "DISTURBING THE PEACE"?

    Please help me understand this. Clearly, being arrested on a single charge of "disturbing the peace" because the mere sight of my open carry firearm "upsets" someone realistically NEGATES the "NO" answer to question #1 relative to whether or not you can open carry in CT without risking being arrested, correct?

    Thanks, Supe

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    In an attempt to answer your questions, consider this.

    If someone wears a Nazi emblem on their shirt in a Jewish restaurant, and upsets the Jewish costomers, can he be arrested for disorderly conduct?

    If a mother exposes her breast to feed her infant in a restaruant, and her conduct upsets other patrons, can she be arrested for disorderly conduct/

    This situtation is still being addressed in various courts, and will be cleared up sometime in the future.

    Just keep following the information.

    You might want to visit www.ourrockyhill.com where you can read and listen to various aspects of this issue.

    Ed Peruta

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    Sir, I was generally aware of the situation with the Firearms Examiners Board from reading about it in the paper several months ago, but I was UNAWARE of the other issues/cases until I read your link. Thank you for directing me to it.

    I have a quick story, and a suggestion.

    About 9 months ago, I was preparing to travel to Virginia for a family reunion. I wanted to take my pistol with me, knowing thatI was beginning my trip FROMa location (CT) where I could legally keep and bear, but NOT knowing if I would be ending my trip ATa location (VA) where I could legally keep and bear. These two conditions are part of what is colloquially known as the "Interstate Transport Law" which would "cover" me (at least from a legal "defense" point of view) while I was in-transit between CT and VA. So I contacted the Virginia Citizens Defense League (http://www.vcdl.org) and had a lengthy conversation with the head of the organization. I was truly amazed to learn that as a citizen of the U.S. I could legally OPENcarry in VA without any permit at all, but thatI would have to have a VA non-resident permit if I wanted to carry concealed. So I drove to VA and open carried. No problem, anywhere.

    Now please forgive me if you're already familier with VA and the VCDL,but I don't know what you do/don't know.

    Thereason I relate this story is that I suggest that you contact the VCDL. From my lengthyconversation with its head, it certainly appears that they have long experience with the open carry / concealed carry issue, and they have supported / pushed laws to support it through theVirginia Legislature.If they've tread this path, we should take advantage of their experience.

    Thank you again,

    Supe



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    Supermarine wrote:
    Good Afternoon!

    I just found you site, registered, and this is my first post.

    I have wondered about open carry (with a permit) in CT for some time. While the answer to question #1 is a resounding "NO", this "NO" answer is based ONLYon the statutes concerning FIREARMS,correct?

    If this is true, then isn't it ALSO true that if you DO open carry (with permit) in CT, you STILL CAN BE ARRESTED SIMPLY IF SOMEONE COMPLAINS, ON THE BASIS OF A NON-FIREARMS STATUE SUCH AS "DISTURBING THE PEACE"?

    Please help me understand this. Clearly, being arrested on a single charge of "disturbing the peace" because the mere sight of my open carry firearm "upsets" someone realistically NEGATES the "NO" answer to question #1 relative to whether or not you can open carry in CT without risking being arrested, correct?

    Thanks, Supe

    I recently discussed open carry with a permit with an off duty New Haven police captain and he said that he would arrest a person openly carrying for causing alarm form the public. It does negate the NO answer. Police officers don't normally know that it is legal to openly carry with a carrypermit.

    I would love to see a really short elderly person who can't see over the steering wheel but with a valid drivers licence, get pulled over and arrested, handcuffed and have there car impounded just by merely "causing alarm", I pitched that logic to the captain and he had nothing to say about that.



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    To eraumon & Supermarine,

    You may rest assured that the issue you raise is being addressed in the United State Federal Courts, the Connecticut Superior Court in New Britain, by the Board of Firearms Permit Examiners and the Connecticut Police Training Academy in Meriden.

    The facts are very simple:

    Police officers in Connecticut have not been properly trained in the law.

    You can in fact be arrested at any time by any police officer who does not know the law.

    The winds of change are beginning to blow in a different direction, and more and more individuals are beginning to see the effects.

    I am perfectly prepared to answer any questions you may have and make referrals to attorneys who are actively defending the rights of those who openly carry in a legal and responsible manner.

    You may contact me directly via email at: edperuta@amcable.tv on any topic concerning gun laws in Connecticut.

    You may also visit http://www.ourrockyhill.com or http://www.ycgg.org to learn more on what is happening.

    Here are some links you might find interesting:

    http://www.ourrockyhill.com/Goldberg...int_112807.pdf

    http://www.ourrockyhill.com/Goldberg.Files/Memo.1.htm

    http://www.ycgg.org/legal_pg.html

    Semper Fi
    1966-1969
    1973-1975


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    Ed,
    I've been lurking and reading everything I can get my hands on including the ourrockyhill.com site too.

    I'm in the annoying waiting phase between getting fingerprinted and getting my town permit (Stratford). Chomping at the bit so to speak.

    I've been following the open carry stories from the PAFOA website also, very interesting. I think open carry in CT would be a great thing indeed especially since CT was the major producer of firearms in the country.

    Keep us in the loop on developments!

    thanks

    RC

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    GoldCoaster be prepared to wait at around two months from the time you submit the paperwork to the local police for the temporary pistol permit. And pray your town isn't like New Haven where I had to wait three days shy of six months for my temporary permit.

    I too have been following the ongoing saga that befell those people who OC'ed out in Pennsylvania at that restaurant and the many mistakes that were made all around. OC "would" be great to do in CT but as we've seen in the James Goldberg case even CCW'ing around here can get you arrested. There are too many people who wet their pants at the sight of a gun holstered (open or concealed) in this country. People either assume it's a police officer orits a criminal. Add to that the many local police departments around herewho question why people even need a handgun. New Haven asked me that question and a bunch ofothersduring my "interview" with them for the temporary town pistol permit. As long as CT remains a veryblue state with it's confusing gun lawswe'll never be able to OC or CCW without fear of being detained and (really likely) possibly of being arrested for the vague crime of "disturbing the peace". Heck even Christopher Shay, a Republican no less, hasco-sponsor a new assault weapons ban bill that now bans every long gun I own (I'll be grandfathered in but I couldn't buy a new one). The new proposedAWB introduced a few weeks ago is called H.R. 6257, the "Public Safety and Recreational Firearms Use Protection Act."

    What really scares me is if Obama gets elected and also gets a super majority of Democrats in Washington.Obama's stance on guns is well documented. He hates them and will ban them if he gets the chance.Ifhe's electedI wonder how quickly (first 100 days?)they will move to pass another AWB (maybe even the one Shay's has cosponsored) and also move to restrict ammo sales like NY is trying to do and Cali is also doing. Rough waters ahead for those of us who own guns. the only ray of hope will be the SCOTUS DC vs. Heller decision expected out either today or tomorrow.





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