Archive for the ‘Suitability’ Category

BFPE 8.14.2014
Case 14-182D, Denial from East Hampton Chief Sean Cox

Chief Cox is a relatively new Chief in East Hampton. East Hampton doesn’t have a history of being a town that violates citizens rights. One would have to wonder if this is a new direction. Former CT State Trooper of 20 plus years, seems to not want to issue a permit.

The appellant had added arrests listed on his application. Voluntary admission for which he DID NOT have to include. Those charges were:

B Drug possession.

Interesting fact: AT 3:50 into the video, Secretary Fishbein asks clearly “You would agree that you have no facts about the underlying cases for which you’ve denied this gentleman a permit”. Further adds no convictions and asks why he was denied.

The Chief says the two arrests and said this case he wanted to take to the board. He was asked by the board if he asked the appellant about these charges. Chief admits he did not. Further gives a really weird answer of he wanted to have him answer these questions at the firearms board under oath. This, is a new one. Make an appellant wait for a hearing to ask a question under oath, rather than in his own department makes absolutely zero sense.

Midway through the video, Secretary Fishbein makes a motion to find for the appellant because he was “baffled” that the town has ZERO issues to deny this appellant. Chairman Blando correctly states that he doesn’t believe that the appellant should have to testify against himself.

Boardmember Greer, as usual, feels the town does nothing wrong. No problem with the chief making a citizen wait for a permit and appear in front of the board even when he hasn’t done anything wrong. Greer often feels that the permit process is too easy. Hilarious, in that CT has one of the most onerous pistol permit processes in the nation.

Secretary Fishbein admits that the Chief simply did not do enough to ascertain whether the appellant was suitable or not.

Motion gets voted on and the board votes in favor of the motion except for Attorney Greer. Think about that bias for a moment: Attorney Greer sees no problem with a town dragging a citizen in front of the board for the sole purpose of having him testify against himself.

Lessons learned:

1. Fill out the application correctly. In a firearms board hearing or on paper, answer questions truthfully while paying attention to the law. Simply put, pay attention to the statutes and answer the questions asked. Get a copy of a criminal record (there are fees to pay, but it’s worth it to not wait up to two years for a hearing!). A person knows if they’ve been arrested or not. Track back and find out what the outcome was of each case.

2. Remember, it’s the job of the issuing authority to find an appellant unsuitable. It is NOT the job of the appellant to help the issuing authority find them unsuitable. Suitability is a very vague word and no need to give the issuing authority any reason to hold up the permit process.

3. Pay close attention to any documents you sign and declare under oath that they are true to the best of your knowledge. If you fail to disclose anything on your application, you legally are lying under oath. You are signing a document in front of a notary and it should be taken with the appropriate level of seriousness. If you fail to disclose anything, the board can draw “adverse inference” and assume that there is a reason you are trying to hide something. Once that happens, it’s difficult to get them to see you in an honest light.

Remember this part of the pistol permit application regarding arrests.

You are not required to disclose the existence of any arrest, criminal charge or conviction, the records of which have been erased pursuant to C.G.S. 46b-146, 54-76o, or 54-142a. If your criminal records have been erased pursuant to one of these statutes, you may swear under oath that you have never been arrested.

Criminal records that may be erased are records pertaining to a finding of delinquency or that a child was a member of a family with service needs (C.G.S. 46b-146), an adjudication as a youthful offender (C.G.S. 54-76o), a criminal charge that has been dismissed or nolled, a criminal charge for which the person has been found not guilty, or a conviction for which the person received an absolute pardon (C.G.S. 54-142a).

With regard to criminal history information arising from jurisdictions other than the State of Connecticut: You are not required to disclose the existence of any arrest, criminal charge or conviction, the records of which have been erased pursuant to the law of the other jurisdiction. Additionally, you are not required to disclose the existence of an arrest arising from another jurisdiction if you are permitted under the law of that jurisdiction to swear under oath that you have never been arrested.

Bottom line:  Be honest, but don’t do the issuing authorities job for them.  They have a LOT more leeway than an appellant when they appear in front of the board.  The board will NOT draw adverse inference from a town that doesn’t follow the statutes when processing pistol permit applications.  I know it’s not fair, but it is what I have observed in over 4 years attending Board of Firearms Permit Examiners hearings.

Here is the video of the hearing.

Posted by Jonathan at 17 January 2013

Category: Issues - State of CT, Opinion, Suitability

At the January Board of Firearms Permit Examiners (BFPE) meeting, I submitted a six point petition for a declaratory ruling.  A declaratory ruling is where the BFPE rules on issues that they have authority.  For example (but not limited) if a person is having a problem with a town that refuses to follow statutes, then the BFPE can indeed give them a hearing.  Based on that authority, and previous declaratory rulings, I have written a six point petition on several issues – one of which has been previously addressed (3 letters of reference) but some still scary waivers and hold harmless waivers are still floating around out there.

Below is a copy of the petition I recently submitted.  I hope to be able to persuade the BFPE that these issues exist and are a barrier to citizens and firearms/permit rights as outlined in CT General Statutes 29-28 and 29-29.

Here is the letter/petition:

Board of Firearms Permit Examiners

20 Trinity St. 5th floor

Hartford, CT 06106

Attn: William Knapp, Board Secretary

Dear Mr. Knapp,

This letter is a request for a BFPE declaratory ruling based on several complaints from citizens in CT. 


One: Sufficient submission of permit application under CT 29-28a

As you are aware, I represent my own website where I assist citizens having issues obtaining a permit and I’m also on the executive board of our states largest single issue firearms rights group – Connecticut Citizens Defense League where I am receiving several more complaints on the same issue.

Over the last five months we have seen a sharp increase in citizens in regards to CT General Statutes 29-28a and an attempt to submit an application to a local issuing authority.  In particular, refusal of an issuing authority to accept the application unless they have an appointment.  SEVERAL towns are notifying residents to come back anywhere from 10 weeks and up to several months.  This is simply is not acceptable.

Between November 10thand January 4th, I have received 17 complaints on this issue alone. 

Two:  Towns charging extra fees not compliant with CT 29-30

Several towns are charging additional fees not prescribed under CT statute 29-30.  Under this statute, fees are clearly outlined as:

The fee for each state permit originally issued under the provisions of subsection (b) of section 29-28 for the carrying of pistols and revolvers shall be one hundred forty dollars plus sufficient funds as required to be transmitted to the Federal Bureau of Investigation to cover the cost of a national criminal history records check. The local authority shall forward sufficient funds for the national criminal history records check to the commissioner no later than five business days after receipt by the local authority of the application for the temporary state permit. Seventy dollars shall be retained by the local authority. Upon approval by the local authority of the application for a temporary state permit, seventy dollars shall be sent to the commissioner.

Some towns are simply charging more outright.  Others are charging additional finger print fees.

Canaan – $80

Manchester – $25.00 –fingerprint fee

Granby – $20.00

Torrington – $25.00 for fingerprinting

This is not a complete list, but examples of town paperwork are attached with this request. 

We understand that a town may use a different system (electronic) for fingerprinting. It is our position that if they choose to use such systems, that the cost is paid from the $70.00 paid to the town, not by the applicant. If the town refuses to take the application, then we believe the applicant can send a certified application with the check for $70.00 as we outline in issue six below.

Three:  Local Issuing Authority requirement of additional letters and waivers

Many towns have complied with this boards previous declaratory ruling regarding extra information.  Many are still refusing to accept applications without additional paperwork, passport photos, etc..  Some of these extra documents pose possible severe repercussions for the applicant.  “Hold harmless” and “medical release” waivers by some towns include asking for a signed document to interview employers and such is simply going too far.  We understand that a town can ask for this information.  We are just asking for clarification that a town can not make any of the additional requirements MANDATORY except for those outlined in Connecticut General Statutes and this boards previous declaratory ruling.

Four: Notarized documents and a “raised seal”.

A few towns have denied citizens (this was tried on me until I demonstrated the law as I’m a Notary) that an application have a “raised” seal. This raised seal is not required under CT laws and I question that this requirement simply does not fall under the domain of the local issuing authority.  The office of the Secretary of the State has stated so in the CT “Notary Manual”.  Page 12 of the March 2012 edition is enclosed for verification.

Five:  Failure to send out prints when taken under 29-29b

            Notification of permit approval or denial within one week under CT 29-29c

Many towns are refusing to send out prints in a timely fashion as written in CT 29-29b or notifying applicants that prints have been received and a decision to approve and deny.  The portion of 29-29 we are arguing is:

    (b) The local authority shall take the fingerprints of such applicant or conduct any other method of positive identification ……. The local authority shall record the date the fingerprints were taken in the applicant’s file and, within five business days of such date, shall forward such fingerprints or other positive identifying information to the State Police Bureau of Identification which shall conduct criminal history records checks in accordance with section 29-17a.


      (c) …..the commissioner shall send a copy of the results of such national criminal history records check to the local authority, which shall inform the applicant and render a decision on the application within one week of the receipt of such results. If such results have not been received within eight weeks after a sufficient application for a permit has been made, the local authority shall inform the applicant of such delay, in writing……


It is our argument that if a town does not comply with these statutes, then the applicant can file for an appeal.  The BFPE does acknowledge 29-29C on their website, but we are having issues with towns not sending out fingerprints to the State Police Bureau of Identification for processing as outlined in 29-29b.

Six:  We seek a decision of the Board of Firearms Permit Examiners regarding an acceptable practice for issuing authorities that do not comply with Connecticut Statutes.

As a practice, we would like the board to acknowledge and accept the following procedure as a process to appeal for an administrative denial when a town refuses to accept an application for any of the reasons above:


  1. Applicant has fingerprints taken at either state     trooper barracks or Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection     in Middletown, CT.
  2. Applicant sends certified copy of application     and the town $70.00 fee to the police chief of the town and notify them     that the fingerprints have been taken at DESPP and results to be forwarded.  Applicant will notify issuing authority     in this letter that this is considered day one of the application process     as set forth in CT General Statutes 29-28 and 29-29.  We also acknowledge that the issuing     authority may not request the two checks for background investigation as     they are paid when prints are taken at the State Police Bureau of     Identification.
  3. Applicant will inquire from the State Police     Bureau of Identification when results were sent to issuing authority.
  4. When issuing authority has had one week, ask for     a decision on the application.  If     the issuing authority has failed or refused to issue a permit, start the     appeal process with the CT Board of Firearms Permit Examiners.

Since I am at almost every BFPE hearing, I am available at any time to answer questions on or off the record.


E. Jonathan Hardy

Executive Member, CCDL (Permit Issues and Legislative Affairs)

Posted by Jonathan at 27 February 2012

Category: Suitability

Here we are, eight more towns added to our growing database of town paperwork.  Some interesting “requirements” not statutorily required with a few towns.  A couple “A” ranked towns in there as well.  If you want to download and view the paperwork, click on the link for “town by town” information.

Here is a breakdown of what we have this month:

East Hampton, B, Town states police chief determines what reasonable time training certification.  NRA certification does not expire.

Farmington, F, States resident or business owner must have been in Farmington for 90 days (I must verify the legality of this, but the F still stands for the waiver mentioned below), WAIVER – waiver for criminal background.  The PD has access to any criminal background information they need.

Groton, A, No issues on paper.  February, 2012, report that the process in person went rather well with no issues.

Hamden, B-, Both minor, local town paperwork (really small) and passport photo.

Monroe, C, 3 reference letters, passport photo

Naugatuck, A, Paperwork has no issues.  I question the demanding of your permanent permit check up front.

Stamford, C, They REQUIRE a separate form to be filled out with quite a bit of detail from the NRA or course instructor (not required by statute) and Stamford will take a digital photograph.

Vernon, C, Notary must have raised seal (not required in CT per Secretary of the State), extra  $10.00 fingerprint fee.

Posted by Jonathan at 11 February 2012

Category: Suitability

I won’t go too deep into it, you can read the article here:

Suffice it to say, this is exactly why we need to end suitability in CT.

The towns can’t get it right, the state can’t get it right, the only way to fix it is to go with the federal guidelines.

Posted by Jonathan at 11 November 2011

Category: Suitability

I have serious issue with the Doutel case.  Ed Peruta has information regarding this case on his site  This is one of those topics that come up from time to time regarding what happens when one half of a couple lose their civil rights regarding firearms possession and ownership.  Granted, that can be a whole ‘nother topic, but I digress.  I suggest reading up on Ed’s page about the Doutel case, it makes for rather interesting reading.

Flash forward to the 11.10.11 Board of Firearms Permit Examiners (BFPE) hearing.  I observe these hearings so that I can gather information to help others with the permitting process, but also to help when I work during the legislative session.  Often, there are cases that are shockers.  Yesterday didn’t disappoint.

Glastonbury had a few cases on the agenda, one involved a woman (I will not publish her name here) who was denied a permit by her local issuing authority (Glastonbury).  When prompted during her hearing as to why she was denied, it had NOTHING to do with her.  The case rested solely on her relationship with her husband.  He, indeed, legally cannot handle a firearm.  Understood on that front.  She, has enabled his habits a time or two (often the “path of least resistance” in situations like this).  In this particular case, over a past drug debt and her husbands drinking.  Two instances in an otherwise long marriage.  There “may” have been abuse, but no real confirmed data on this issue.

When outlining his case, the Chief admitted that she, in and of herself, would’ve been granted a permit under other circumstances.  It’s her marriage and prior restraining order (which she did not request because she felt she wasn’t in any danger).  The board, all six members also agreed that she wouldn’t be denied in other circumstances.  But, citing suitability, she was denied 5-1.

The basis for the denial, in the chief’s own words, so she doesn’t become “a future victim”.  Really?  This is basis for denial under suitability?

Now, practically in-arguably, she was her own worst witness.  The topic came around to target shooting (her original reason, she even compared it to bowling).  Then when told her husband wasn’t allowed to even handle the firearm, was going to withdraw.  Discussion then went to not needing a permit to rent a firearm at a range.  A point, I feel, is moot (even though most ranges will indeed require you to have a permit before you can rent).  Then she decided to continue so she could go to the range with her sisters.

It is at this point, I felt that she should have her permit.  But it brought up an interesting topic.  Is there a process in the State of CT system to grant her a permit, but not allowed to have a firearm in the home.  It was discussed and I think the result was no.  Either way, I still think it’s moot.

So, in the end, they all agree she is suitable in and of herself.  The board also felt that she shouldn’t have a permit in that scenario.  Which then brings up the other issue:  What if she just obtained her eligibility certificate?  She would indeed get that certificate as it has a lower burden of suitability.

Either way, all that suitability did in this case is prevent a woman from recreational shooting with family or possibly the ability to defend herself.  For the record, that low crime town of Glastonbury also had a home invasion the same time of this hearing –

I believe the BFPE has an open seat.  Maybe the governor should fill the seat with a woman.

Posted by Jonathan at 3 October 2011

Category: Suitability

OK, so this study has a few purposes.  Data is being used to gather information to help on the legislative front, but also to help people navigate the insanity of our 169 cities and towns.  Not all towns are bad, but Hartford (where I was raised) is actually the absolute worst town so far.

Background information:

I knew something was wrong with Hartford for a couple of months now.  I ran a pistol course for my ex’s nephew and he is a Hartford resident.  As a general rule, I have students pick up copies of the local paperwork so I can answer any questions they may have.  I am also a notary, so I notarize at no additional charge.  Hartford PD would not issue a copy of the paperwork.  That, in and of itself, is a clear violation of CT statutes 29-28a:

Upon written request by any person for a temporary state permit not on a prescribed application form, or upon request by any person for such application form, the local authority shall supply such forms. When any such request is made in person at the office of the local authority, the local authority shall supply such application form immediately. When any such request is made in any other manner, the local authority shall supply such application form not later than one week after receiving such request.

Hartford, refuses to comply with this statute.  A call to the Detective responsible for permit fees informs me that they do not have to comply with the statute as “Hartford has their own policy”.  Now, this is total nonsense, but until a lawsuit is filed, they will get away with this nonsense (or until more residents refuse to cave in to their demands).  The paperwork, however, is now available on this site on the “town by town” page for the study.

Ct’s newly branded “Department of Emergency Services and Public Safety”  was also of no help.  They stated that they spoke to the Detective in Hartford and that they will not interfere with the town as they have stated they have their own policy.  Yes, you heard that correctly.  A state agency, tasked with firearms licensing, refused to get involved with a rogue town.  Shocking right?  Didn’t think so.

But wait – there’s more!

So, now we have a Detective that says their town does not have to abide by state law, does not have to furnish an application by law, but also thinks they are further exempt in how the application is processed.  I was also told that if an applicant turns in an application without all the additional (not required by state law) information, they will be denied.  This tactic isn’t new in and of itself, other towns do the same.  But he stated that the applicant shouldn’t be allowed to bring a permit to the class for assistance.  In his own words “that alone is a reason to deny based on suitability”.   Really?  I asked if he can tell me where the basis for that legal opinion can be found.  Nothing.

Detective Johnson of Hartford PD, really thinks they do not have to follow state law.  I disagree.

Enter recent interaction with a Hartford resident that is or will be getting a pistol permit.  I was going to file a “Freedom of Information Act” request.  Don’t have to any longer.  One was submitted to me for the purposes of helping other residents.  Here is why Hartford is being secretive on handing out their application:

They have an interesting information release (that they want notarized) that states asks for a full disclosure of all records containing (this is all a quote except the rewording of applicant instead of “me” on the actual document):

  1. Educational Institutions
  2. Commercial or retail credit agencies (including credit reports and ratings
  3. Medical or psychiatric treatment and/or consultation, including hospitals, clinics, private practitioners, and the Unites States Veterans Administration
  4. Employment and pre-employment records, including background records, efficiency ratings, complaints, disciplinary matters and/or grievances filed by the applicant or against them and salary records.
  5. Records of complaints, arrests, trial and/or convictions for alleged or actual violations of law, including criminal and/or traffic records, probation records, complaints of civil nature made by the applicant or against the applicant and the records of recollection of any attorney representing the applicant or any person in a case which the applicant presently have and/or have had an interest.

It finishes off with the statement:

I fully understand that the refusal to grant this authorization will make it impossible for the Hartford Police Department to consider my application.

As the famous pitch men would say “but wait, there’s more!”

They also want the instructions to be notarized as well (and wouldn’t you know, they have a person on site to do the notary work for the state allowed maximum of five dollars each time!).  I still have no idea why an information sheet needs to be signed and notarized, but it also asks for more information not required by law:

  • passport photo
  • additional proof of residence.  This one is odd, as it asks for a combination of FOUR documents.  Not just a bill and a drivers license (bill already not required) but they also would like a combination of utility bill, voter registration card, state ID, passport, any bill or letter mailed to your house with your name and address on the letterhead.

They are also asking for an additional fingerprinting fee of $20.00.  Keep in mind, the fingerprinting fees are built into the town fee (maximum of $70.00) and the two checks to DPS for $19.25 and $50.00.

So, what do you do if you decide not to comply with the regime in Hartford?  I have asked a few people for a good workaround (attorneys and people involved with the permit process) and have come to this conclusion (this conclusion is my own, consult an attorney if you wish)

  1. I’d fill out the state application only.  This is the form labeled “DPS-799-C”.
  2. Make two copies.  One for yourself, one to have on hand for when you file an appeal with the Board of Firearms Permit Examiners.
  3. Mail the original application, notarized and with money orders or certified checks (keep copies so you can prove they were cashed).  Mail this form certified, return receipt requested.  Make two copies of the return receipt when you get it in the mail.  Put each copy with the copies of your application.  Mail this packet of information to the Chief of Police.  You can write a cover letter simply stating that here is your application as required by state law.  You choose not to give the personal, and not required information.  However state that you have no problem coming down to the police department at a mutually agreeable time for an interview to assist in the processing of the application.
  4. Wait.  You now have 8 weeks from the time that the application was received.
  5. On the 60th day, call the police department and ask them what the status is for your application.  Hopefully, they contacted you by now for fingerprints and any interview.  If not, all is OK.
  6. Contact the CT Board of Firearms Permit Examiners at:  860.566.7078 and explain your situation and you would like to file an appeal.

At this point, the ball will indeed get rolling on your appeal process.  As long as you have no criminal or psychological disqualifiers as outlined on the state application “DPS-799-C”, you should be fine.  I have observed hundreds of denial cases and found the BFPE to be rather fair in their determination of suitability.  In the situation you find yourself in with Hartford, they have already made it very clear.  It is their job to find you suitable or not, not your job to prove lack of suitability.

As of this writing:  10.3.2011, I am awaiting confirmation of how to handle fingerprints.  I know you can go to the state of CT, Dept. of Emergency Services and Public Protection and have your fingerprints taken (possibly at local State Police barracks as well).  When I get confirmation on that procedure, I’ll update this post.

Posted by Jonathan at 20 September 2011

Category: Study Data Requests, Suitability

Three more towns added, only one has a “decent” rating (Fairfield).  Quick breakdown:

Fairfield, depending on app interpretation, asks for utility bill and/or drivers license.  Also asks for passport photo.

Granby is a hot mess.  Asking for an additional check of $70.00, identification form (they even want to know where you may be pierced or tattooed!) and three letters of reference.

Torrington, is another in a scary trend.  They are asking for an additional fingerprinting fee of $25.00.  They also want three character reference letters and openly state that the process takes 8-12 weeks (the law says eight weeks).

Until I get more…..


Posted by Jonathan at 5 August 2011

Category: Suitability

Yes folks, as if fixing the server issues weren’t enough the past few weeks, we still have even more updates.

Some towns actually did OK this time, but we have one very bad issue – another “hold harmless” waiver.

The towns that did OK were Bloomfield, Newington, Southington and Trumbull.  I have a pretty bad complaint coming in this week about the process in Newington.  It seems they are claiming backlogs (like Hartford) and taking up to sixteen weeks.  This is unacceptable. Southington is making the silly demand for 3 letters, but they say the letters MUST accompany the application.

If anyone is near the Trumbull area, I’d like another copy of their paperwork to make sure it’s current.  If it is, the fee structure is wrong, but they don’t have any severe issues.

There always has to be one bad apple….. this time it’s Simsbury.  They want you to fill out a form/questionnaire with some sensitive questions and they want you to sign a hold harmless release form.  The release form I have stated is a bad procedure as it clearly gives them carte blanche immunity to poke around, ask employers, etc.  Not good.  The questionnaire is just a frustrating process.  It’s not required and the motive here is they want you to prove that you are a worthy candidate.  That’s not your job.  If the issuing authority deems you unsuitable, it is their job to prove it.

I’m supposed to be at the Blue Trail Pig Roast this Sunday if anyone wants to drop off any town paperwork.

As always, thank you for your support during this project.


Posted by Jonathan at 14 June 2011

Category: Suitability

I just added 11 more towns to our study.  They are:

Wethersfield, Windsor Locks, Norwalk, New Haven, Woodbridge, Wallingford, Stratford, Orange, Meriden, Manchester and New London

I’m glad to report that some towns really aren’t bad.  They are actually compliant (look for the A’s).  There are a few “B” towns as well that aren’t horrible, but still not compliant with the Board of Firearms Permit Examiners declaratory ruling.

Of note:  Check out the insanity with Norwalk, Woodbridge and New Haven.  They are still asking for additional information and some downright scary stuff.  Including release waivers for medical information, permission to notify/investigate employer data, etc.  Gotta hand it to them, they are slick though – they want you to release the information so you can’t sue if you lose your job.

More of the usual stuff this time with letters of reference, passport photos, utility bills, etc.  That data can all be found by clicking on the “Town by Town” link.

Posted by Jonathan at 1 June 2011

Category: Suitability

OK, I made a ton of changes to the site, so I can now go to bed!

I did, however, want to make you folks know of some of the insanity I just posted (more to come, these were the docs I already had in some digital format or another).  These are the towns I ranked as “F” so far.  The reason why we need to end this suitability and local issuing authority nonsense.  At least some form of preemption or something!

Hartford – telling citizens that there is a 90 day wait just to drop off your paperwork……. and here’s the interesting part; they won’t give you paperwork until they tell you they are ready!

Salisbury –     Medical records release, 3 character references (on their own form), 8-10 week turnaround.  MEDICAL RECORDS!!!!!!!

Seymour – “SPD Pistol Permit Waiver Form – they want to contact your present or past employer and notarize that you give them permission.  .  Self addressed stamped envelope, 8-14 weeks to process.  Ummm….. don’t think I want them contacting my employer!!!  “hey, did you know your employee wants to carry a gun!”.

West Hartford –     Supplemental form, notarized, asking for blanket permission to contact anyone and also permission to, and I quote,  “checking references, past criminal activities, employment history, credit checks, obtaining motor vehicle history and educational background.” CREDIT – ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME!!!!

At least when the next legislative session comes around, we’ll be even more armed with data on problems with the pistol permit process.  Thanx for the support this year, we already started using the data during the 2011 legislative session and it was indeed helpful.