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Thread: Article in the Connecticut Law Tribune

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    Article in the Connecticut Law Tribune

    Will State Gun Laws Get Shot Down?
    Connecticut Law Tribune
    Monday, July 05, 2010
    Copyright 2010, ALM Properties, Inc.

    Will State Gun Laws Get Shot Down?


    High court ruling could spur challenge to assault weapons ban

    By DOUGLAS S. MALAN

    Last week, Carlton S. Chen, general counsel at Colt’s Manufacturing Co. in West Hartford, was celebrating the Supreme Court’s ruling in McDonald v. Chicago. “I think it will have a major effect because the ability of law-abiding citizens to own handguns for legitimate purposes will be a benefit to gun manufacturers” in terms of sales, Chen said.

    But he doesn’t believe the ruling will have much of an impact in terms of his home state’s firearms laws. “In Connecticut, no,” Chen said. “I’d be surprised if there’s a challenge to any gun laws.”

    That’s because the state is relatively friendly to handgun owners’ rights, said Chen, who is an avid shooter and member of several gun clubs.

    But Torrington attorney Rachel M. Baird, who litigates gun ownership cases, predicted that “there’s going to be a huge amount of litigation” in the state as a result of the Supreme Court ruling.

    She pointed to particular language in Connecticut General Statutes 29-28(b) that describes the gun permitting process that likely will be challenged by groups such as the National Rifle Association. The law says that local authorities “may” issue a temporary permit upon application as long as the applicant meets 10 eligibility factors, one of them being that the applicant does not have a felony on their criminal record.
    Authorities also must find an applicant “suitable” for a gun permit, a standard that differs among jurisdictions, Baird said.

    The ruling in McDonald, she said, “places the ‘may’ [language] at issue as constitutional, places the ambiguous standard of ‘suitability’ at issue as constitutional and places the burden on the state to demonstrate that within each of the eligibility factors is an overriding governmental interest” to deny a person the right to keep and bear arms.
    Across Connecticut and the rest of the country, attorneys, lawmakers and right-to-bear-arms advocates studied the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark ruling.

    In 2008, the Supreme Court, in striking down a Washington, D.C., law that limited firearms ownership, said that Second Amendment protections apply directly to individual gun owners. Last week, in McDonald, which addressed handgun bans in the Chicago area, the Supreme Court held that the right to keep and bear arms applies to the states as well as the District of Columbia.

    ‘New Era’
    Unlike Chicago and Washington, D.C., Connecticut law already allows residents without a felony conviction to keep handguns in their home without needing a permit to do so.

    To carry a handgun outside of the home, residents must obtain a temporary gun permit from their local police chief. After obtaining the temporary permit, the resident must apply for a state permit and then complete a course in gun safety approved by the Commissioner of Public Safety.

    “Aside from paying two permit fees, it really isn’t a bad process,” said Chen, whose job entails testifying before the legislature on gun control legislation. “I don’t think it’s something that’s going to be challenged” in light of McDonald.

    But others weren’t so sure.

    The National Shooting Sports Foundation, based in Newtown, Conn., hailed the Supreme Court ruling. General counsel Lawrence G. Keane said that “a new era of civil rights begins today.”

    Keane told the New Canaan Patch online news site that his group does support mandatory background check for gun owners. However, he said, it is eyeing a challenge to mandatory waiting period requirements and a bans that stops anyone younger than 21-years-old from owning a firearm. Both restrictions are in effect in Connecticut. “The burden is on the government to show that there is a need for that restriction,” he said.

    Much of the discussion in the state focused on weather the state’s sweeping assault weapons ban, which went into effect in 1993, would have to be revisited.

    Attorney General Richard Blumenthal issued a statement Monday indicating that he anticipates no immediate impact on Connecticut law. In July 1995, the state Supreme Court upheld the assault weapon ban.

    But Sen. Andrew J. McDonald, co-chairman of the legislative Judiciary Committee, said that in light of the high court’s ruling, Connecticut lawmakers may have to rewrite the ban, which lists by brand name specific weapons that cannot be owned in the state, including two Colt models.

    McDonald told the Connecticut Post that the U.S. Supreme Court decision “seems to represent a broad attack on states’ rights.”

    However, state Rep. Michael Lawlor, the other co-chair of the Judiciary Committee, said he did not believe the ruling would affect any current Connecticut laws.

    “I think what the Supreme Court has said is reasonable regulation of firearm ownership is OK,” said Lawlor, as quoted in the New Haven Register. “In Connecticut, citizens have the right to possess arms for self-defense or sporting purposes…There are going to be some rules attached to that, and I think they’re reasonable and they’re not affected by this decision.”

    Lawlor mentioned the background check and a mandatory training course among the reasonable rules.

    Chen, the Colt GC, agreed that the first challenges will likely occur in parts of the country outside Connecticut with stringent gun ownership restrictions.

    For example, Chen noted that when he brings a Colt firearm down to his patent attorney in New York City, he must first obtain written permission from the city’s police commissioner to legally possess the gun within the city limits. “It will be really interesting in the coming months and years,” said Chen, “when plaintiffs start homing in on states with the most draconian laws, like California and New York.”
    Last edited by Edward Peruta; 07-06-2010 at 03:50 PM.

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    Thumbs up Challenges

    Thanks Mr. Peruda, for the article.

    As to challenges, I would add the requirement to have a valid pistol permit to simply purchase a handgun. It is a permit to carry, not a permit to purchase. I've put a number of people through my Basic Pistol Course that attended training because they wanted to buy a pistol to keep at home, only to find that they need to undergo the added expense and effort of getting a permit, or in a few cases just drop the effort altogether.

    On another note, I have been told by a few people, to include an LEO, that a minor child can not shoot a handgun, even under supervision. As far as I am aware, the statute only bans the purchase or possession of a handgun by a minor. Is my daughter "in possession" and thus in violation if she is shooting next to me at the firing line?

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    Quote Originally Posted by LQM View Post
    As to challenges, I would add the requirement to have a valid pistol permit to simply purchase a handgun. It is a permit to carry, not a permit to purchase. I've put a number of people through my Basic Pistol Course that attended training because they wanted to buy a pistol to keep at home, only to find that they need to undergo the added expense and effort of getting a permit, or in a few cases just drop the effort altogether.
    The law in no way requires that you have a permit to carry in order to purchase a handgun. You can go through the cheaper, less arbitrary, process of getting your Eligibility Certificate which does not have a suitability requirement and does not rely on the local issuing authority. The other requirements for the eligibility certificate are the same as for the permit to carry. (e.g. pistol training, finger prints, background, etc.)

    Applications for Eligibility Certificates are made directly to DPS.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gluegun View Post
    The law in no way requires that you have a permit to carry in order to purchase a handgun. You can go through the cheaper, less arbitrary, process of getting your Eligibility Certificate which does not have a suitability requirement and does not rely on the local issuing authority. The other requirements for the eligibility certificate are the same as for the permit to carry. (e.g. pistol training, finger prints, background, etc.)

    Applications for Eligibility Certificates are made directly to DPS.


    thats still an unreasonable prior restraint if RKBA is a right. Its pretty rediculous to say that its a right because you need no permit to keep one at home but you need a permit if you want to buy one. The eligibility certificate in effect is really a purchase permit, its a sad attempt to get around the fact that you need a permit to buy a gun since 1994. You are eligible to own a handgun because you are in America.

    Ct's laws need revision regardless of this ruling. We should need no permit to buy, transport or carry a gun openly.

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    I agree...the permit/elg cert to buy need to go away...a long with AWB/waiting period

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    Challenges

    I failed to mention the eligibility certificate, Gluegun, but the premise is the same. One can move into the state and as part of one's household possessions bring a firearm. If I then choose to carry it outside my home, I need a permit. I can almost live with that. But as a current resident, the new arrival is one step ahead of me; he brings his gun as his property, I don't yet have one but I need permission to obtain one so as to enjoy the same property right. To me that doesn't make sense. If I'm off base by all means correct me.

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    I think your on the money LQM.

    Many people who should know better think you need a permit to own a gun in CT because you need a permit to buy one. Forest & Field in Norwalk has some of them working there. The guy told me he needed to send all his guns to an FFL when he moved back to CT & then get them after he had his permit. I thought he was joking but was dead serious & said its how his brother in law, a cop said to do it. The police often refer to guns as being registered, as in Rich B's recent case, because if you buy it here it pretty much is, at least to the initial purchaser. At any rate this guy reguraly told people that CT registers guns, you cannot buy or even posess one with no permit, if you owned one & had no permit you were a felon, etc, etc. I brought him in the statutes a few days later but domt think it was changing his mind.

    But the bottom line is you have a right to own a handgun unregistered, in the state of CT. For that to really mean anything you should be able to buy one by passing NICS and bring it home or anywhere you want. A permit for carrying a loaded gun for protection is not unreasonable, but CT's current laws are.

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    Challenges

    Leverdude,

    I then refer back to my original post. Could the permit requirement to purchase a handgun be a valid challenge according the the article that Mr. Peruta posted?

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    I think so, but I'm not a lawyer. Honestly, without the education lawyers politicians & other similar critters have I cant see how even requiring a permit to carry does not constitute infringement by itself, let alone requiring it just to acquire a gun.

    I think we have been BS'd for so long from so many sides that most of the population has been desensitized to the infringement of the RKBA. Most dont view it as a right equal to free speech, religion etc. But it obviously is, and lacking constitutional amendment, I think the more the courts are forced to address it the more it will become obvious that the truth is, we have allowed & in many cases supported the systematic violation of many peoples civil rights.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Leverdude View Post
    A permit for carrying a loaded gun for protection is not unreasonable
    I wouldn't say 'unreasonable' as much as 'useless' and 'illogical'.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Leverdude View Post
    I think so, but I'm not a lawyer. Honestly, without the education lawyers politicians & other similar critters have I cant see how even requiring a permit to carry does not constitute infringement by itself, let alone requiring it just to acquire a gun.

    I think we have been BS'd for so long from so many sides that most of the population has been desensitized to the infringement of the RKBA. Most dont view it as a right equal to free speech, religion etc. But it obviously is, and lacking constitutional amendment, I think the more the courts are forced to address it the more it will become obvious that the truth is, we have allowed & in many cases supported the systematic violation of many peoples civil rights.
    Apologies for the delay,

    As I stated in my post, I can 'almost' live with having to get a permit to carry outside of my property. Strictly speaking, the fact that I need a permit to carry 'my property' is in line with your thinking that it may constitute infringement.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LQM View Post
    Apologies for the delay,

    As I stated in my post, I can 'almost' live with having to get a permit to carry outside of my property. Strictly speaking, the fact that I need a permit to carry 'my property' is in line with your thinking that it may constitute infringement.
    Personally I'd say requireing a permit at all is infringement, especially since we have an instant system to check a persons record in place. Being able to buy a gun means your not prohibited from owning one.
    I can rationalize permits being ok in my head as long as they are given out fairly, "shall issue" should be the rule of the day. But at the end of the day a permit places a prior restraint upon a constitutionally protected civil right so I cant really see how it can not be infringement.

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