CTPistolPermitIssues.com and CCDL Petition for a declaratory ruling

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. 

Issues

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.

Sincerely,

E. Jonathan Hardy

Executive Member, CCDL (Permit Issues and Legislative Affairs)

www.ctpistolpermitissues.com

9 Comments

  1. Mike Verraneault says

    I live in Manchester Ct and I sent in my application for my permit at least 15 weeks ago. When on the ninth week I still had not heard anything via written letter nor phone call, I went to the Police Dept. to see what was the hold up. I explained how long I had been waiting and the Srgt. told me she went on vacation the following week and no apps were sent out until she returned. This past week, I was contacted on 3/28 from her and she explained that my permit was “beiyng filled out as we speak” and I would be sent something in the mail no later then Monday 4/1 to come pick it up. Today is 4/2 and there is still nothing. I called her several times today to see if it had been sent out and she is on vacation again and no one can help me but her according to every officer I have spoke with. My problem is that I purchased a Colt MT6400 a couple of weeks ago and due to the fact that she told me I was approved and it was a matter of 2-3 days before I can get mg permit, I just denied the two week background check for rifles. Now they may pass an immediate ban and I won’t be able to get a rifle I have already paid for. Is there any action I can take against the town for the obvious way they are dragging this process out?

    • Jonathan says

      You should start your appeal.

      Should’ve started that 7 weeks ago!

  2. FairfieldCounty says

    Regarding Point #5:
    The answer to an illegal delay should be summary/expedited process before the BFPE, or a decision in the applicant’s favor and the issuance of a permit directly from the State.

    By channeling aggrieved applicants into the BFPE’s 5-month waiting period, you turn what should be an eight-week process into a seven month wait. The only way to incentivize the issuing authorities and state to adhere to the statutory deadlines is to have the failure to do so result in a decision in favor of the applicant whether by immediate 30-day appearance before the BFPE or immediate grant of the permit. You will see how fast the issuing authorities and the State come into compliance once they realize that their failure to comply will result in the loss of their oversight or discretion over the process.

    As things stand now, delay followed by appeal to the BFPE has the intended consequence of discouraging applications and rendering the statutory timelines essentially meaningless.

    • Jonathan says

      The BFPE doesn’t grant permits. It kicks it back down to the issuing authority when they lose their case.

      The BFPE doesn’t just go “hey, you didn’t get your permit on time? Don’t wait, we’ll give it to you here”.

      It doesn’t happen. You first have to file for the appeal. There is an additional form letter if it is an administrative denial due to the local issuing authority not complying with the statute. They do often have “denial only” days and they are often much faster than the normal appeal timeline. Those days often have two dozen cases to be heard.

      • FairfieldCounty says

        CGS 29-32b(e) states in relevant part: “If any issuing authority neglects or refuses to comply with a decision of the board within ten days after notice of the board’s decision has been given to such issuing authority, the BOARD shall apply to the Superior Court for a writ of mandamus to enforce the board’s decision.”

        So, you can imagine that if the BFPE grants/reinstates a permit, and the IA doesn’t comply…the BFPE can, and is obligated to, go over their heads to the Superior Court.

        • Jonathan says

          I know of this happening only once in the last 3 plus years I’ve been following the board.

          Will be interesting to see how this takes effect when the two new board positions are filled.

  3. Tim Rogers says

    Just FYI, Norwich is saying permits take 14-16 weeks and they say it’s because the State is “back logged”. I filed it today. Let us see how long this takes.

  4. Tina says

    Been waiting in Faifield for 12 weeks. I keep calling since week 9 and they keep extending the week wait. Just called on the day of week 12, was told at the beginning of the conversation, to wait one more week. By the end of the conversation i was told two more weeks. No delay letter from my local authority.

  5. Mystic says

    Groton Town took over 5 months for them to process my permit. And what’s the ruling in the IA conducting interviews before they submit your application or issue a permit?? I heard they weren’t allowed to…