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Thread: Defining a "contemporary community standard"

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    This response is alleged to have been sent out by a member of the Department of Public Safety Special License and Firearms Unit.

    TEXT OF EMAIL:

    Hello, Thank you for the question.Please note that this is not legal advice and should not be relied on as such based on the general nature of your question with respect to carrying of handguns.As an initial matter, you are right about Connecticut General Statute sec. 29-28 being explicitly silent with respect to "concealed". The "carry" statute only addresses the carrying of handguns and does not address the manner/way/location in which they must be carried.However,numerous other statutes come intoplay with how, when, and where you can carry.

    The analogy is a motor vehicle license...yes you have a license to drive under the statute, but many other statutes are in place as to how, when, and where you can drive.

    We strongly suggest you consult an attorney to discuss specific carry situation to flesh out your understanding. It might be appropriate to discuss concepts with that attorney related to, for example,the "contemporary community standard"as tothe public at large (in the place of carry) as to when, where, and how they expect to see handguns being carried. As you can imagine a situation where someone was carrying a handgun in their hand while at a movie theater would be different from that same situation at the gun range.



    All the best,

    Tpr. Hatfield
    Special Licensing and Firearms Unit
    1111 Country Club Road, Middletown, CT

    I'm going to ask what these "other statutes" are regarding "manner/way/location" of carrying.
    TO ALL WHO READ THIS POST:

    I'd like to thank the individual who supplied me with this recent response from Trooper Hatfield Esq..

    This response together with SEVERAL PREVIOUSLY OFFERED RESPONSES on this topicoffers anotherglimpse into how the Department of Public Safety interprets, administers and enforces the laws together with how theylooks at situations involving firearms.

    As a DPS certified/recognized instructor, I believe that a clear and concise statementshould be offeredto every valid question posedby permit holders and the general public regardingthe carrying of firearms by VALID PERMIT HOLDERS who have attended and passed an approved DPS course of instruction.

    I for one have started to carry my weapon openly most of the time and have not been surprised by the questions that I have been asked.

    I believe that law enforcement in general have failed to understand the law and incorrectly informed citizens of Connecticut regarding the laws pertaining to pistol permits and the open or concealed question.

    Without question, if you carry your weapon in your hand rather than in a holster, you are going to find yourself in a situation. What Trooper Hatfield deliberately failed to state was that carrying an exposed holstered pistol or revolver while in possession of a valid permit to do so, by itself is NOT a crime.

    Having had a case involvingan individuals concept of a"contemporary community standard", I can tell you that it is not determined by one person or a small group of individuals.

    In my case, Federal Judge Stephan Underhill asked "Who determined the Community Standard", and found in my favor after the individual responded by stating "I did".

    Law enforcement and certified DPS/NRA instructors in Connecticut have failed to properly trainprospective permit holders in the law, and have by their incompetence created a false belief that pistols and revolvers must be concealed.

    It is also quite evident but not surprising that Trooper Hatfield conveniently left out the fact that the issue was presented to the Connecticut State Legislature without success.

    As a DPS certified instructor, I will present my issues directly to the DPS so that I do not present or offer incorrect information to those who seek to have me instruct them in preparation to submit a permit application to carry a pistol or revolver.

    Suggestion:

    Google “Contemporary Community Standards” and you will find many cases on topics regarding PORNOGRAPHY, THE INTERNET and the FIRST AMENDMENT.

    Given the fact that DPS attempted in 2008 and again in 2009 to have the issue addressed and mandated by the legislature failed,seems obviousthat our elected Connecticut officials chose to leave our “Contemporary Community Standard” as it currently exists.

    Having participatedas a plaintiff in a case before a Federal Judge, I am very aware of the fact that that lat east onejudge found it necessary to ask and individual on the witness stand "who decided the community standard?” The witness replied that he had made the decision, and the judge rendered his decision against the individual and Cox Communications.

    This issue is no surprise, DPS islooking everywhere and anywhere they can to justify their actions or statements.

    You might also ask this question – What community are we talking about, the world community, our national community, the Connecticut community or a county or local community.

    Any attempt to enforce a community standard based on existing accepted activities in local communities would lead to a patchwork of different laws and interpretations.

    You might also consider the fact that our Constitution andLaws established by our State Legislature establish our statewide community standards. NOT A HANDFUL OF POLICE OFFICERS WHO ANSWER EMAIL QUESTIONS.


    Examples of "Contemporary Community Standards"

    History tells us that owning slaves in Connecticut was at one time an established"Contemporary Community Standard"

    History tells us that prohibitingblacks fromeating at "Whites only"lunch counterswas an established"Contemporary Community Standard"

    History tells us that segregating students by race and geographical location wasan established"Contemporary Community Standard"

    History tells us that the immediate seizure of driver's licenses from intoxicated individuals without legislation to do so was a "Contemporary Community Standard"

    Currently you will find SPEEDING, DRIVING WITHOUT A SEAT-BELT, TALKING ON A CELL PHONE, OPERATING UNDER THE INFLUENCE AND MINORS OBTAINING ANDCONSUMING ALCOHOL as well established "Contemporary Community Standards" practiced by vast number of individualsin Connecticut.

    The Department of Public Safety considers themselves a 'COMMUNITY' and has always attempted to impose their standards on the general public and when asked to justify their actions, respond with "BECAUSE WE SAY SO".

    Contemporary community standards in Connecticut are clearly established in the General Statutes, which in parts, limit the power and authority ofLaw Enforcement Agencies including the Department of Public Safety.

    To offer another ambiguous public response to a valid question is reckless, confusingand improper on the part of DPS.



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    Regular Member Lenny Benedetto's Avatar
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    ED.

    As you stated and I quote

    "Law enforcement and certified DPS/NRA instructors in Connecticut have failed to properly trainprospective permit holders in the law, and have by their incompetence created a false belief that pistols and revolvers must be concealed."

    Having had my permit to carry for more years than I care to remember, I do not remember what I was taught about open carry, however my wife just took her NRA basic handgun course about 6 months ago and the instructor made it very clear to her class that they only carry CONCEALED!

    This class was taught in CT and there was no discussion about the laws, and how it is perfectly LEGAL to open carry in CT.

    I agree with you about their incompetence and the poor quality of service that they are supplying to these students about the laws involved with carrying a handgun.
    The Connecticut Citizens Defense League is a non-partisan, grassroots organization devoted to advocating rights affirmed by the Constitutions of the United States of America and the State of Connecticut. We are especially dedicated to protecting the unalienable right of all citizens to keep and bear arms, for the defense of both self and state, through public enlightenment and legislative action.
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    Sent: Monday, May 18, 2009 12:17 PM

    To: Doug. Hall

    Cc:


    Subject: Specific Question on carrying pistols or revovers openly or concealed

    Sgt. Hall,

    I have recently been provided with an email regarding openly carrying pistols or revolvers over the signature of Trooper Hatfield Esq. of your department.

    To say that I am confused in an understatement. I am now in possession of at least four different answers to what seems to be the same questions!!

    Therefore this email is my official request regarding the legal right to carry a pistol or revolver openly in the State of Connecticut.

    As you know, I possess a valid Connecticut Permit to Carry Pistols and Revolvers, and am currently certified by DPS as a pistol safety course instructor and am the author of an approved course of instruction by the Connecticut Department of Public Safety.

    I am currently carrying my weapon openly while in possession of my valid permit and have been approached by several individuals who have asked questions regarding my carrying openly.

    My response to those that ask for my opinion is as follows:

    I immediately provide the individual with the fact that I possess a valid permit to carry my firearm.

    I then identify myself as DPS certified instructor and inform the individual that I am familiar with the laws regarding permits to carry pistols and revolvers in Connecticut.

    If needed, I then go on to explain that there is currently no mandate to conceal a carried pistol or revolver by those in possession of a valid permit to do so.

    I acknowledge and explain to any individual that asks, that carrying a pistol or revolver openly may cause individuals unfamiliar with state law to report an openly carried firearm to members of law enforcecement.

    If necessary, I personally offer the individual an opportunity to summon a member of law enforcement for an official response to any concerns they may have.

    As a permit holder and instructor, I am aware that one or more members of law enforcement, (in the performance of their duties), may respond to the call and confront any individual who is carrying a pistol or revolver, including the undersigned permit holder/instructor.

    As an individual, permit holder and instructor, I accept the fact that law enforcement personnel, (for their own safety), will more than likely take precautions to insure their safety during any interaction with a person carrying a pistol or revolver regardless of the facts.

    As an individual, permit holder and instructor I understand that law enforcement personnel may require that a valid permit to carry pistols and revolvers be produced during any interaction.

    As an individual, permit holder and instructor it is my belief that in the absence of verifiable allegations of intent to cause alarm, the valid permit and pistol or revolver should be promptly returned, and the individual allowed to continue about their business without any further law enforcement action.

    Given the obvious ambiguity and differing opinions that exist in the minds of citizens, permit holders and members of law enforcement on this topic, I am compelled to seek a simple direct answer to the basic questions surrounding the right to carry openly and/or concealed.

    The question posed by this email:

    Given the fact that concealment of a pistol or revolver is NOT specifically mandated by Connecticut law, I am compelled to request an answer to the following question.




    QUESTION

    May an individual who is in possession of a VALID PERMIT to carry pistols or revolvers carry their pistol or revolver holstered and exposed without fear of being arrested or having their permit or weapon confiscated or seized by members of law enforcement?

    YES OR NO




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    Regular Member Lenny Benedetto's Avatar
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    I can hardly wait for the answer. Even though I suspect that there will no such answer coming soon.
    The Connecticut Citizens Defense League is a non-partisan, grassroots organization devoted to advocating rights affirmed by the Constitutions of the United States of America and the State of Connecticut. We are especially dedicated to protecting the unalienable right of all citizens to keep and bear arms, for the defense of both self and state, through public enlightenment and legislative action.
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    I went down and spoke to Sgt. Hall this morning and brought this situation to his attemtion.

    Sgt. Hall advised that the way the question was posed is why the recent answer said what it did.

    I suggested and Sgt. Hall agreed that if I pose a properly worded question that I would get an answer. He also stated that the question and DPS response would be submitted to higher authority.

    This confusion needs to end with a simple yes or no answer to a very straight forward question.

    I am now carrying openly on a regular basis unless I'm in a situation where carrying is NOT permitted.

    I personally perfer to carry concealed, but will only do so when and after the proper response to the question is made public by DPS.

    Ed Peruta





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    Ed

    I commend you on the stance that you are taking. Especially since you prefer to CC.
    The question will be sent to the higher authorities and if it was anyone else posing the question to them it would filed in the trash.

    I know with you pushing for the answer they will not be able to duck this issue for much longer!!!!

    Keep fighting the good fight!!!

    Thank You
    The Connecticut Citizens Defense League is a non-partisan, grassroots organization devoted to advocating rights affirmed by the Constitutions of the United States of America and the State of Connecticut. We are especially dedicated to protecting the unalienable right of all citizens to keep and bear arms, for the defense of both self and state, through public enlightenment and legislative action.
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    I also can hardly wait... The walls are closing in on th DPS with regards, and there are only so many corners to try to hide in.



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    Thanks for all the time, effort, and expendature Ed. The rest of us are forever grateful that you're willing to do what many of us don't have the time or resources to do.

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    What relevant criminal statute incorporates a "contemporary community standard" hegre? I bet, none. this is BS.

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    To Mike,

    There is NO provision in Connecticut Law regarding Contemporary Community Standards. The phrase is more towards pornography than carrying a firearm.

    The beauty of the internet is that you can do a word or phrase search and see where it is used most frequently.

    This phrase as used by the Connecticut Department of Public Safety goes a long way to expressing their mental attitude towards those that have permits and carry openly.

    It's just another bump in the road by a person with authority.

    What we need to do is share our experiences and correspondence with each other to keep track of what's going on.


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    Regarding the "Contemporary Community Standard," I am convinced it holds sway within the DPS alone. I just returned after renewing my permit. I was there almost ninety minutes, for a total of twelve minutes of face time at the window. The entire time there, various officers would walk by the line and with obvious disdain looked at the line almost as a nuisance. I'll chalk that up to 'public sector' attitudes that most public employees have. Not all, but most do. (Flame on!)

    I wanted to question the birth certificate requirement, and the fact that a government regulatory agency does not take cash, but decided against it as my time on that line would be increased considerably if I did. I have other things to do.

    Just my .02 cents

    javascript:emoticon(':celebrate',%20'images/emoticons/banana.gif')
    The Constitution shall never be construed... to prevent the people of the United States who are peaceable citizens from keeping their own arms. Samuel Adams

    "Here sir, the people govern." -- Alexander Hamilton (speech in the New York ratifying convention, 17 June 1788) Reference: The Debates of the Several State..., Elliot, vol. 2 (348)

    "I would rather be exposed to the inconveniencies attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it." -- Thomas Jefferson

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    Rights do not require permit or license. Rights are not negotiable or renewable.

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    LQM wrote:
    Regarding the "Contemporary Community Standard," I am convinced it holds sway within the DPS alone. I just returned after renewing my permit. I was there almost ninety minutes, for a total of twelve minutes of face time at the window. The entire time there, various officers would walk by the line and with obvious disdain looked at the line almost as a nuisance. I'll chalk that up to 'public sector' attitudes that most public employees have. Not all, but most do. (Flame on!)

    I wanted to question the birth certificate requirement, and the fact that a government regulatory agency does not take cash, but decided against it as my time on that line would be increased considerably if I did. I have other things to do.

    Just my .02 cents

    javascript:emoticon(':celebrate',%20'images/emoticons/banana.gif')
    The question about Passports, Birth Certificates or Voter's Registration is currently on appeal to the Second District Court of Appeals in New York, and a new request to the Commissioner of Public Safety on the issue is being drafted at this time.

    The question of why a current permit holder must present one of these three documents is questionable at best.

    We'll see where it goes.

    As to Contemporary Community Standards, we will also adress this issue if it becomes some type of policy.

    Thanks for your interest and the comments.

    Ed Peruta

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    Great Thread, I OC all around my neighbourhood now. I am increasingly encouraged by this website to OC wherever I can.

    Courage building

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    Hey Jay, how are you out there? Those were some incredible pics from the helicopter.





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    Fantastic work!

    A "contemporary community standard" doesn't apply to carrying a gun. DPS SLFU may not *like* it, but open carrying is legal and that's the way the legislature decided it should be. Agencies like the DPS are responsible for enforcing laws, not making them. There are very good reasons why we keep the law-makers and the law-enforcers mutually exclusive in this country.

    I don't really think its right for the SLFU to be responding to emails with misleading answers like the one posted. If they don't know how to answer a question correctly, they should just say that they don't know.

    --- (edit) ---

    Also when I got my pistol permit I was explicitly told that the pistol must be concealed at all times, and that I could be arrested for printing.

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    Hello All,

    I am new to gun ownership. My interest is to encourage my friends and neighbors to be responsible gun owners like I desided to become. I also believe that OC is benificial to deteriorate the social stigma of firearms. For years I supported gun rights, but didn't do much practical gun ownership. Therefore, I call myself a pencilneck gun supporter (I hope I am over that now; if not, getting over it).

    Anyway, suppose, for a moment, that this idea of a "contemporary community standard" is valid. What do we do to change it? I have said to friends that we should OC, but do so in familiar territories first. Move the line slowly. I suppose we should start a new thread about stratagies on that.

    Any thoughts?

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    Welcome to OC atrule! A number of members here that post in the CT forum belong to CCDL. It is a new organization that hopes to have an open carry march, or clean upday soon. Our thoughts are to invite the media to cover it, like many before us in other States have done.Joinour Face Book Pageat www.ccdl.usand welcomehere, this is a great place!

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    Regular Member atrule's Avatar
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    Actually, I joined it a couple days ago. I wanted to go to the last meeting on Tuesday, and was looking for info on where it was to be held. Sigh, to no avail.

    I would like to go to a little meetup for this.

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    atrule welcome to the world of gun ownership and the open carry forum. Thank you for joining the facebook group and we look forward to seeing you at our next meeting. If you still need info on when and where for the meeting, please feel free to contact myself "Lenny" (one of the founding members) or any of the other people listed under officers on the facebook page. Please also remember that all are welcome so feel free to bring along all of your friends and neighbors.
    The Connecticut Citizens Defense League is a non-partisan, grassroots organization devoted to advocating rights affirmed by the Constitutions of the United States of America and the State of Connecticut. We are especially dedicated to protecting the unalienable right of all citizens to keep and bear arms, for the defense of both self and state, through public enlightenment and legislative action.
    Join Here: http://www.ccdl.us/membership

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    So, this was about 4 weeks ago. Has there been a response yet to the simple Yes or No question?

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    DPS RESPONSE to the questions posed in emaildated June 2, 2009 to Sgt. Douglas Hall

    June 9, 2009

    Edward A. Peruta
    American News and Information Services, Inc.
    38 Parish Road
    Rocky Hill, CT 06067-1051

    Re: Your E-mail to Sgt. Douglas Hall Dated June 2, 2009

    Dear Mr. Peruta:

    I am writing in response to your e-mail to Sergeant Hall dated June 2, 2009 in which you pose various questions regarding the applicability of the firearms statutes. While it is not explicitly stated in your correspondence, it appears that your questions present a request or requests for a declaratory ruling in accordance with Connecticut General Statutes Sections 4-175 and 4-176. As you know, the case of Peruta v. Department of Public Safety, et al is currently pending before the state Appellate Court, which is an appeal of your claim to the Superior Court for a declaratory judgment concerning the same issues raised in your e-mail to Sergeant Hall. Due to the pendency of the appeal, it would be premature for the Department of Public Safety to respond to your requests.


    Very truly yours,

    Jennifer Janeiro
    Legal Affairs Unit
    Cc: Sgt. Douglas Hall
    Lt. Mark Cassista
    AAG Matthew Beizer





    My response to DPS letter date June 9, 2009

    Attorney Jennifer Janeiro,

    I am in receipt of and have attached your letter dated June 9, 2009 in which you state your belief and opinion that my email of June 2, 2009 to Sgt. Douglas Hall amounted to a request for a Declaratory Judgment.

    This appears to fly in the face of the fact that previous emails containing similar type questions were NOT considered requests for Declaratory Judgments. This statement of my belief is made due, to the fact that your department and the Office of the Attorney General have maintained and stated repeatedly that I did not exhaust my administrative remedies prior to filing the Peruta v. DPS action you reference in your letter.

    Regardless of the current case that is on appeal, my email to Sgt. Hall contained a question not currently being appealed. The question posed on June 2, 2009 is as follows:

    6. Are the decisions, opinions or rulings made by The Connecticut Department of Public Safety regarding the manner under which firearms are carried binding in any manner on sworn officers of local law enforcement agencies?

    Obviously, I have a problem with being prohibited or blocked from seeking clarification on any further issues pertaining to firearms during the appeal of the three basic questions which resulted in my having to seek the assistance of the courts.

    It was my understanding the court in New Britain was informed that the Commissioner and Department of Public Safety were willing able and ready to render Declaratory Rulings on questions posed by citizens.

    If this is not the case, or if I am going to be denied an answer to my specific question regarding the binding effect of DPS Declaratory Rulings on local law enforcement agencies and personnel, I request leave to retain legal counsel to seek an answer from the courts in a new civil complaint for a Declaratory Ruling.

    Given the fact that I find this information necessary to function as a certified firearms instructor, I request a timely response on whether the department now believes that I have exhausted my administrative remedy on this specific single question.

    Respectfully,

    Edward A. Peruta
    38 Parish Road
    Rocky Hill, CT 06067




    THIS REPONSE FROM DPS HAS PROMPTED A MOTION TO BE FILED IN COURT.











  23. #23
    Regular Member Lenny Benedetto's Avatar
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    They wont be able to hide from your questions for much longer!!
    I would ask you to keep us up to date, however I feel that my request is not needed, and you will keep us all informed.

    Thanks again for fighting the good fight for all of us in Connecticut!!!


    The Connecticut Citizens Defense League is a non-partisan, grassroots organization devoted to advocating rights affirmed by the Constitutions of the United States of America and the State of Connecticut. We are especially dedicated to protecting the unalienable right of all citizens to keep and bear arms, for the defense of both self and state, through public enlightenment and legislative action.
    Join Here: http://www.ccdl.us/membership

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    I am not a lawyer by any stretch, I am extreemely interested in the answers to these questions as: a citizen of the state of CT, a holder of apermit to carry pistols and revolvers in the state of CT, and a pistol/revolver firearms instructor. I understand the hoops needed to be jumped through. I also already see fruits of the labor. I have seen changes to the Board of Firearms examiners pages online. I wondered what brought about the changes and that search has led me here. I am now trying to inform myself of the progress of the steps being taken to clarify the legal aspects of Carrying pistols and revolvers.

    I have just become aware of the CCDL. I am pleasantly surprised to find so many people active at such a crucial time.

    Mr. Peruta, I am trying to follow along this winding road and I am hoping to have the understanding correct. Please inform me if my understanding is close.It appears the initial case was against the Board of Firearms examiners and it was dissmissed due to" did not exhaust my administrative remedies prior to filing the Peruta v. DPS action." Also included in that ruling was that the DPS would grant Declaratory rulings on questions asked?

    Currently that is being appealed.

    So now Declatory rulings are being posed to the DPS and they are refusing to answer citing that the questions have already been asked and there is a pending appeal. One questionposedis not included in the initial requestand you are asking for a direct declaratory ruling on that single question.

    A motion has been filed on that new singular declaratory ruling request from the DPS.

    Does that sound close? It is hard to jump around so many posts and dates to try to timeline all of this stuff. Add to that so many different agencies involved and I can appreciate your frustration and I share it with you. I have spent a single day trying tocatch up on this and I am alreadydisgusted with the agencies working "for" us. I sickens me how much personal politics and opinionsgreatly influence agencies who's jobs it is is to simply enforce the statutes as they are written.

    I will be spreading the word on these issues and I am hopingsomeone can verify my understanding of the situations as corrector not. I do not want to be spreading faulty information. Thanks for your time, guys.





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    ESCH,
    Please come and join us (CCDL) on the second Tuesday of the month 7pm at the Middletown Elks club for our monthly meetings.

    Invitations are sent out to those on the mailing list, also if you're into Facebook we have a group on there which you can join and receive updates as well.

    Ed has taken the opportunity to discuss with us during the breaks in the proceedings various aspects, nuances, and plain idiocy in some areas of law regarding the carrying of firearms in the state. I'd encourage you to visit us and extend a warm invitation to see what we are about.

    Regards

    Robert

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