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Thread: Ingels v. Morf

  1. #1
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    I'm convinced using permit fees to increase General Fund is unlawful.

    I found a US Supreme Court case from 1937 that involves states burdening interstate commerce (a recognized right) by charging fees. While the Supreme Court had previously decided that charging a fee to defray the cost of providing a service within it's constitutional power (roads), they determined in this case that contributing to any other expense (general fund) is an unconstitutional burden.

    http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/script...s/300/290.html

    Selected quotes:
    The challenged statute defines 'caravaning' as the transportation, 'from without the State of any motor vehicle operated on its own wheels, or in tow of another motor vehicle, for the purpose of selling or offering the same for sale * * * to any purchaser' located within or without the state. Sections 2 and 3 prohibit caravaning without attaching to each vehicle so transported a special permit issued by the State Motor Vehicle Department, for which a fee of $15 is exacted... Section 6 directs that the fees collected be paid into the general fund in the state treasury, and declares that they are 'intended to reimburse the State treasury for the added expense which the State may incur in the administration and enforcement of this act and the added expense of policing the highways over which such caravaning may be conducted, so as to provide for
    298 U.S. 407 , recently before this Court, the Caravaning Act of New Mexico, containing some features similar to the present act, was likewise assailed as burdening interstate commerce by the imposition of a fee, of $7.50 for each vehicle moving by its own power, and $5 for each vehicle towed by another when moving in caravan. The statute made the privilege of using the highway conditional upon payment of the fee. The fees collected were devoted in part to highway purposes. We held that the fees were a charge for the use of the highways, not shown by the taxpayer to be unreasonable, which the state might lawfully demand.235 U.S. 610, 624 ; Interstate Busses Corporation v. Blodgett, 276 U.S. 245, 249 , 250, 231.

    To justify the exaction by a state of a money payment burdening interstate commerce, it must affirmatively appear that it is demanded as reimbursement for the expense of providing facilities, or of enforcing regulations of the commerce which are within its constitutional power.277 U.S. 163, 169 , 170, 504, 62 A.L.R. 45; Interstate Transit, Inc., v. Lindsey, 283 U.S. 183, 186 , 381; Postal Telegraph-Cable Co. v. Richmond, 249 U.S. 252, 259 ; Clyde Mallory Lines v. Alabama, 296 U.S. 261, 267 , 196. This may appear from the statute itself, Morf v. Bingaman, supra; Clark v. Poor, 274 U.S. 554, 557 , 703, or from the use of the money collected, to defray such expense. Hicklin v. Coney, 290 U.S. 169, 173 , 144; see Kane v. New Jersey, 242 U.S. 160, 168 , 169; Aero Mayflower Transit Co. v. Georgia Pub. Serv. Comm., 295 U.S. 285 , Compare Hendrick v. Maryland, Sprout v. South Bend,
    276 U.S. 245, 249 .

    ...

    Hence we must look to the statute itself to ascertain the purposes for which the permit fees are collected. On this point it is explicit. It declares (section 6) that they are intended to reimburse the state treasury for the added expense of administering the Caravan Act and policing the caravaning traffic. This negatives any inference of the purpose of the collection which might otherwise be drawn from the statute, and from its provision that the permit is prerequisite to the use of the highways. Compare Morf v. Bingaman, supra. It is true that this declaration is not an appropriation of the moneys collected
    [300 U.S. 290 , 296] and it does not foreclose the use of the fund for highway maintenance, should the state elect to do so. But until such appropriation is made the statute itself states the legislative purpose, and precludes state officials from asserting that the fees are collected for any other.

    ...

    We cannot say that the evidence does not support the conclusion of the trial court that the cost of policing would be amply met by a license fee of one-third of the amount so charged. The administrative expense of issuing the permits appears not to have been included, but the testimony that that expense was about $5.00 per car does not bridge the arithmetical gap, and does not impeach the court's conclusion that the permit fee bears no reasonable relation to the total cost of regulation, to defray which it is collected. It rightly held that the licensing provisions of the statute impose an unconstitutional burden on interstate commerce.


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    Further proof that the state is aware of this case and that they refuse to recognize the right to bear arms:

    Sec. 29-36h. Fee for eligibility certificate. Expiration and renewal of eligibility certificate. (a) The fee for each eligibility certificate for a pistol or revolver originally issued under the provisions of section 29-36f shall be thirty-five dollars and for each renewal thereof thirty-five dollars, which fees shall be paid to the Commissioner of Public Safety. Upon deposit of such fees in the General Fund, the fees shall be credited to the appropriation to the Department of Public Safety to a separate nonlapsing account for the purposes of the issuance of eligibility certificates under said section.
    The law establishing the fee for the eligibility certificate requires that all funds for an eligibility certificate be placed into a non-lapsing account specifically for the cost of issuing eligibility certificates. During the latest budget they did not increase the fees for an EC.

    The reason is likely because in the special session during which the budget was proposed and passed could no legislation could be brought up that didn't have a significant impact on the State's finances. Since no money is going towards the general fund from EC's, raising the fee wouldn't impact the State's finances.

    However, I believe at some point the legislature was made aware that they could not pass a law unconstitutionally burdening the exercise of a recognized right. Since the State recognizes only the right to keep arms and not the right to bear arms, they felt they were within their constitutional powers to attach an excessive fee on the right to bear arms. This excessive fee would be any money exacted from applicants for permits to carry that is deposited into the general fund and not apportioned to DPS for the purposes of administering the issuance of permits.

    The cost of administering the issuance of permits is statutorily defined as $10. The state legislature did not raise this amount (because they likely couldn't during a special session) with the passage of the budget. DPS has also drafted proposed legislation hiking the fees on permits (see link below). Their proposed take of the permit fees is $30, with an additional $70 being deposited into the general fund.

    I believe if this issue were brought before a court, the DPS proposed legislation and the statute defining fees for ECs would be used to determine that a fee of more than $30-$35 at the state level for a Permit to Carry is unconstitutional. As to how much we have to pay to the towns for administration of the issuance of temporary permits to carry is a whole other issue.

    http://www.ctgunrights.com/03.Politi...-30%20fees.pdf

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    Now that McDonald has declared the right to keep and bear arms a fundamental right that applies to the states, I felt the need to bring this thread back from the dead.

    It seems to me that it has to be unconstitutional for the state to make a profit from the only legal way for CT citizens to exercise our fundamental right to self-defense via handgun ownership. One could hardly fault them for collecting just enough in fees for the processing and issuance of carry permits, but collecting an amount in excess of that cost is, for lack of a better word, excessive.

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    Regular Member Rich B's Avatar
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    One could hardly fault them for collecting just enough in fees for the processing and issuance of carry permits
    I can fault them for it. It is just taking your money and throwing it away. It accomplishes nothing except for providing a hurdle between law abiding citizens and their right to possess a firearm.

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    I should have qualified it with "If a permit system has to be in place, who can fault them..."

    While I'd love to get rid of the permit system, it's not going away any time soon. If we're going to have a system, it should pay for itself and nothing more.

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    I personally would like to see a Universal Permit System in place. Would make it nicer if you visit a friends vacation home in another state.

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    Regular Member Rich B's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cbnlnk121 View Post
    I personally would like to see a Universal Permit System in place. Would make it nicer if you visit a friends vacation home in another state.
    Even better would be universal constitutional carry.

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