Hartford, F-Rating. Worst town so far in the study.

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.


  1. Steve says

    Thanks for the fantastic article…I am going to give your process a shot and see how far it takes me as i’m not comfortable with the release waivers they are mandating.

    Two questions:
    any update on the fingerprint component?

    Do I mail in my my application to the city of hartford or to the DPS in middletown? which checks do i include in the mailing? Do i just include the $70 town fee made out to the “city of hartford”, so do I also include the other two checks of $19.25 and $50 for the DPS.

    I’m confused about the process and don’t want to mess it up. any clarification is appreciated.


  2. Marlon says

    Thanks for the great advice. .also I have many questions on this issue as I am a hartford resident and I am waiting on Detective Johnson to call for my interview (2 months & counting)..is there a personal way of contacting you? If not can you please call when you hav some spare time.. Phone preferred (8607199458 Marlon) Thanks!