This is What Passes for “Shall Issue” in Connectiut

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A reader who wishes to remain anonymous writes,

After a spree shooting I know there is a reigniting of the gun “control” debate for some. Let me tell a story of what happened to me a couple of years ago. Some of my friends may be familiar with this story. I currently reside in Connecticut and work at a nuclear power plant as an armed security officer. As such, I need a state gun permit allowing me to use firearms and open carry on the site of the power plant. As to my background . . .

I served sixteen honorable years of active and reserve time in the Marines prior to this job. I was trained and handled weapons all during that time, qualifying as a rifle expert multiple times, pistol sharpshooter, and trained on explosives and bunker-buster munitions as an anti-tank assaultman in the infantry. At one point I had a top secret SCI clearance for my military specialty and deployed in the late 1990’s to Japan and in the Mediterranean and after 9/11 to the Mideast and Iraq. I have a Bachelor’s degree and my worst criminal infractions are speeding tickets going between Camp Lejeune and New Jersey in the nineties.

I grew up in New Jersey and had a permit for long guns as I owned a shotgun, but never really used it much. But when I finished college at the end of 2010 I decided to move in with my future wife in Connecticut. After finding and then being hired for the job at the power plant I was told I’d have to apply for a Connecticut gun permit which I did soon after Independence Day 2011. And that’s when the games began . . .

I was surprised to find out after moving here that Connecticut is a “shall-issue” state with one permit. Unlike New Jersey or other states, that single permit allows you to carry long guns, pistols, even concealed or open carry.

You apply at your town’s police department where they do a check and if your background is clean then they are obligated to issue you a temporary permit. You take that temp permit to the state’s Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection where they issue the multi-year state permit. The town is the big hurdle in the process; no one I know of has been denied a state permit after receiving a temporary permit.

There were moments during my permit application process that first day that were surreal. Like when I was told by the office administrator that my military experience safely handling firearms as listed on my discharge papers “was not applicable” to firearms safety. Or that the background checks that the Navy, Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and the public utility did on me in the past, all of which I passed, “. . . would actually be a bad thing. The state investigative agency will see all of those investigations, and do an even more thorough and lengthy background check.” These quotes were from the clerk working at the police station.

After about a month I wondered what was going on with my permit. I had not heard anything back from the police and a buddy of mine who was hired at the same time, but living in a different town had already received his temp permit. I began to grow concerned: Why is this taking so long? Will this affect my job?

The police had a problem with the certificate my company provided for the safety course I received while training at work. I ended up making two additional trips to the police station over what was a simple formatting issue with the document; not a problem with the content or failing to meet the state training minimums. I wondered to myself why they hadn’t explained to me the right format in the first place.

After about two months I would call every two to three weeks or drop by, always politely asking what the status was on my permit. Every single time I felt like I had to explain that this was related to my new job, the one that requires I carry a gun.

Now before anyone says I should have made an issue of the town dragging its feet, please keep in mind this was for my job, a good, well-paying job. Since the training took a few months I wasn’t losing any money (yet) due to this process. And people at work told me that my town had a reputation for taking its sweet time with issuing new firearm permits or doing renewals. Great.

One reason the town said it was taking so long was tropical storm Irene and the subsequent four-day blackout in October. Another time it was that the one (and only) person who needed to review the permit at that stage was on vacation, and no one in the building knew when he would be back. Yet another time at the start of December the reason was end-of-year budget meetings. After Christmas I was told by a city employee that “no one told me this was for your job.” Really?

My brother-in-law had been on the town council a couple of years earlier. He sent an email on my behalf to the police chief around this time to try to expedite things. Maybe that did the trick, or maybe it was because we were reaching the six month mark. I don’t know but finally they had my temp permit ready.

On the day when I finally picked up my permit in January, 2012 I was quizzed from across the desk by a police officer on my name, birth date, height, and other vital stats – even when the person quizzing me was holding my driver’s license and passport and could see photos of me on both of them. 

And yes, names/titles have been left out to protect the city employees. Remember, I began this process around July 4th of 2011. I wonder how long it would have taken for me to get a gun permit were it not work-related. As it stood, I had a six month waiting period imposed on me just to get the permit. And since there is no alternative, you basically have to shut up and take this nonsense, lest you annoy some government bureaucrat.

Notice too, all of this happened before the Newtown shooting in my state.

The point of all this is that I’m a firm believer that “control” of guns isn’t lax from where I stand. The problem, like at the Navy Yard, Fort Hood, and Aurora is that the shooters — in spite of what any sane person would call “red flags” — were still able to legally buy firearms because those same red flags were never acted on or put in a permanent record. Everything I’ve read about these tragedies points to this: no one wants to make the tough judgment call that may end someone’s career or put them in jail. Laws about background checks, mental health, and waiting periods for firearms are worthless if nothing is ever red flagged by authorities.  

In a way, the town’s games backfired on them. Prior to this episode I wasn’t a passionate Second Amendment supporter. Now I am.

comments

  1. avatar MamaLiberty says:

    Anonymous… all the “red flags” mean nothing in a great many cases, and are false in so many others. Nobody can truthfully predict when some person – regardless of background or anything else – may decide to harm others or kill him/herself.

    I’m a health professional, and I know from long experience that I can’t predict what people will or will not do. Giving any government the power to decide these things is counterproductive at best, and extremely dangerous for the rest of us.

    The only thing that will stop bad people from hurting other people is the decided, trained, rational act of a good person… then and there. Best case, the action is taken by the intended victim, and any bystanders present as well.

    All the “laws,” rules, lists, registries and so forth in the world can’t change that necessity. All they do is make sure far fewer of the intended victims and bystanders are ABLE to respond appropriately, and swiftly.

    And if a “good job” is worth all of that bureaucratic song and dance to you in order to obtain their kind permission to exercise a right… well, I’m truly sorry for you.

    1. avatar Scrubula says:

      He was hired for the job before even submitting the request for a permit (if my reading comprehension is correct).

  2. avatar John in CT says:

    Many CT towns also require three letters of recommendation to allow you to apply for your pistol permit. Of course, in a place that’s so hostile to the second amendment in general, it can be tough to ask your friends for said letters.

    “What are you so afraid of?”
    “Oh god you’re one of those gun people? Absolutely not”
    “I… I don’t think I know you well enough to write something like that on your behalf”.

    And all of this is as someone that had been living in the state for 20 years at that point. I can only imagine how hard it would be for someone that had just moved in.

    1. avatar Don from CT says:

      You can ignore those requests. All you need to complete is the state form.

      This was covered in a declaratory ruling by the BFPE years ago.

      http://www.ct.gov/bfpe/lib/bfpe/bfpedeclrule.pdf

  3. avatar Joe R. says:

    I used to live across the sound and it is sh_t there too. These people are not the founding fathers, nor are they GOD so they are not the purveyors of any “right” further it is WRONGFUL not just wrong for them to say that any of their efforts would protect you individually. If Germany got it goin their way a little better in WWII, and we survived as a country, you would have been issued a howitzer. DOE snipers are supposed to be Legion/LEGEND/and the small patch of muff called CT doesn’t deserve them or you, or the damn power plant.

    Your right to keep and bear arms will outlive anyone’s right to infringe. MOLON LABE blue state beotches, hope today gives you a permanent twitch.

  4. avatar Paul G. says:

    The process is doing exactly what it is designed to do. “Safety” is keeping guns off the streets, to the gov. The more difficult the process, the less people will jump through the hoops to exercise their right (privilege). Some people even are likely to exercise the right without official permission (Awwwwww……), get caught, and lose their right entirely. This works great for the government, one more meddlesome citizen disarmed. How dare they think a right is a right.
    The writer, in decrying the system of ensuring “safety”, yet calling for yet more and stricter policies, seems a little unclear on the concept.

  5. avatar Ralph says:

    Nonresidents with an out-of-state CCW have an easier time obtaining a CT license than residents do. No temporary permit is required, no references or other stupid bullsh!t. You file your paperwork (including your proof of training), pay your money and wait.

  6. avatar Wood says:

    With all the gun manufacturers leaving the NE in droves, you’d think the fed would start to worry about Civil War 2.0. The south has something they didn’t last time, lots of arms manufacturing capability. A lot more transportation corridors too.

    Hopefully today we will flush a few statists out of the senate.

  7. avatar Stinkeye says:

    It seems like New England is almost as big a joke as Olde England at this point.

    1. avatar pod says:

      Vermont and New Hampshire beg to differ. Vermont (other than no NFA items) is in line with how things should be. Constitutional Carry. OC, CC, it’s up to you, the individual, on which method is the best to carry your gun. VT also honors every other states’ permits by default. You could fly with your gun from Miami to Burlington and OC the minute you get off of the airport grounds. VT is pretty damn close to being a libertarian state. People don’t get themselves involved in each others’ business.

      NH has a permit system, but it’s shall-issue in line with places down South. Maine, too.

      It’s only Mass, CT, and RI which are the outliers. They got bit by New York.

  8. avatar The Reluctant Nutmegger says:

    @Stinkeye NH is still a lovely place!

    Yeah I got my CT out-of-state permit as a NH resident, took three or four months because it was Post-Sandy Hook but it did come, and without the run-around from the town.
    Contrast this with current NH permiting process (not required for open carry): CLEO is required to sign your permit (a 4×6 inch card with some basic information and the CLEO’s signiture) within 10 business days and conduct a screen for domestic violence, felonies, and to ensure you have a pulse. All for a $10 processing fee.
    Contrast that with the ~$300+ I spent on the CT license. And if you wanna EDC open or EDCC anything more hefty than a sub compact or pocket pistol, fuggidaboudit!

    Live Free or move to Connecticut.

    1. avatar Joe R. says:

      Cash ‘n Carry with the FBI check at the counter, in the OK. The rest of ya are just attempting to spread A_ _ rape on the rest of us and we reject your stupidity.

    2. avatar Don from CT says:

      You can OC in CT. Hundreds of people do it every day. No problem.

  9. avatar pod says:

    In most, if not all, shall-issue states, a DD-214 suffices as evidence of being trained in the safe handling of firearms. CT shall-issue is definitely a sham it seems.

    1. avatar Joe R. says:

      IT “SEEMS” ???? Which portion of infringing a-hole-nation is CT not dishing?

      Wake up peeps, there is no illegal gun, just illegal gun regulation. I would trust a felon with a gun over a gun-grabber, a felon will live up to your expectations far more regularly and isn’t going to ask me for tax money before they tell me to bend over and smile. You enclaves of moronimity are sickening. In the next Civil War you will fare poorly, and in the War with China, you will be fodder for them while we are filling our hydration packs.

      1. avatar pod says:

        I guess my humorous tone didn’t carry over too well in that post. CT shall-issue is a sham!

      2. avatar Tom says:

        When is the next civil war and the war with China happening?

        Which model hydration pack are you packing?

  10. avatar GS650G says:

    You are a vet, of the unpopular wars no less, and more qualified than the cops are. Of course they aren’t going to let you carry, you might take over the town.

  11. avatar Robert Inguaggiato says:

    By state statue local police department has eight weeks maximum issue or not issue a temporary permit. Local police department does not do background checks it sent to the state police FBI once I get a black case close to process it immediately and give it to you but they don’t. You could have filed with the state border firearms and taking them to the board and I reviewed there. You could have gone and talk to the mayor or the first selectmen of the town they do have authority over the Police Department normally it does no good you wind up having to take him before the firearms commission but after eight weeks I would Definitely have filed a complaint with firearms commission and review board.

  12. avatar Pascal says:

    It depends on the town. Many towns do the min required and then give you a temporary permit. The larger cities are the worst.

    Believe it or not, it is better today. It used to be much worse.

  13. avatar Tom in Oregon says:

    as my kids would say, that’s not just ridiculous, that’s recockulous.

  14. avatar RetMSgt in Pa. says:

    As a once-upon-a-time Nutmegger, I voted on high taxes and excessive government intrusion with my feet. I’d rather live to enjoy life than suffer all sorts of stress just to have a “good paying” job.

    I wanted a license to carry here in Pennsylvania (we don’t need one just to own one). Down to the County Sheriff’s office, filled out the one-page application, forked over $35.00 (now only $20.00), and that was it. About one month later I received my license to carry – no training, no fingerprints, no psych evaluations.

    To you “subjects” of oppressive states, you do have my sympathies.

    1. avatar Pete says:

      Just got my Pennsylvania permit as well. 20 bucks four weeks thank you very much

    2. avatar 19D Joe says:

      Don’t too smug Sarge, PA just elected a Dem as Gov. and seems to be turning bluer in the last few election cycles (Your state voted for Gore in 2000, Kerry in ’04, and Obama in ’08 AND ’12) Your Dem. Atty. Gen. is no friend of the 2A. Philly could be writing the rules for the rest of your state, just like NYC, Chicago, LA, etc., do for theirs…… before you know it.

  15. avatar Ted says:

    A right delayed is a right denied.

    1. avatar JDS says:

      A permitted right is no right period. If you need to request permission your right has been illegally turned into a privilege. Rights are something your born with. Nobody can require that you request them. Do you need a permit to secure your other rights granted by the constitution? If the police show up at your home and demand to search without a warrant do you need to show them a permit that allows you to decline the search? Do you need a permit to get a trial? Why should you need permission to buy a pistol (some states) or to carry a gun for protection? I will assert that the 2nd amendment is dead in any state that requires a permit for anything gun related.

  16. avatar Jay in Florida says:

    Ive had a non resident Connecticut permit for about 20 years.
    I still renew it every time as Connecticut doesn’t recognize any permit other then its own.
    Even though the odds of my ever going back there are zero. One never knows.
    Iv had my NY State full carry non restricted good for life till revoked permit for about 30 years.
    All I had to do is apply in my case in Danbury 1st, I got it on the spot back then.
    The Sheriff said if your good enough for NY your good here too.
    Took my Danbury permit and drove to Middletown CT about an hour or so from Danbury.
    Applied for the State permit.
    It was in my mail box about 10 days later.
    I don’t know how hard it is today but back in the day.
    Permits weren’t a big deal, even in most of NY.
    Once out of the NYC area, Life is very different.
    As all the crap about the Safe Act has caused in most of NY.
    Its still a very rural state and has a lot of “normal” folks then NYCs Libitard population.
    Unfortunately for the folks of both New York and Connecticut. Most of both states land areas are rural,
    But the population base is isn’t. As in 7+million in 24 square miles of NYC. The other 10 million don’t get to have a voice.
    Put tooo many people in one place and their dammed votes control the rest.
    Both states need to split up to be fairly representative of their given areas.

    I should add I also had zero problems with the Sheriff of Harrisburg PA at the same time. Had my permit on the spot . 2 states non resident permits within 10 days,

  17. avatar Mike says:

    WHY? Why are you protecting the bureaucrats?? NAME THEM. It’s like a dog crapping on the carpet, it’ll never stop until it receives negative feedback.

  18. avatar Kyle in CT says:

    For all CT residents: pay attention to the Connecticut Carry website http://ctcarry.com/Permits/AdditionalRequirements . You should not be waiting 6 months for a temporary permit. State law prescribes that the local authority has 8 weeks to approve or deny your application for a temporary permit. If they take any longer, you should file a complaint with the state board of firearms permit examiners. In some localities this is actually the only way to get your permit, as the locality blatantly violates the law by not giving you the appropriate paperwork (which you can only get from them), not taking your completed paperwork, or requiring fees, recommendations, etc. which are not spelled out by state law. DO NOT FOLLOW THESE ILLEGAL PROCEDURES. The following is an excerpt from a 2010 ruling by the firearms board:

    “In light of the strong legislative policy favoring “a uniform application for state-wide use by issuing authorities”, it is the determination of the Board that the statute does not permit an issuing authority to require submission of additional material at the time an applicant files his application on a form prescribed by the commissioner together with the required statutory fees and proof of (a) completion of a course approved by the commissioner in safety and use of pistols and revolvers, (b) that the applicant is not an alien illegally or unlawfully in the United States, (c) that he is not less than twenty-one years of age, and (d) fingerprints for a criminal record check. Refusal to submit additional material with the initial application, such as letters of reference, does not, ipso facto, render the applicant unsuitable. Further, such failure to submit this additional material does not relieve an issuing authority of its statutory duty to conduct an investigation into the applicant’s suitability and to process the application within the statutory time frame. Accordingly, an applicant’s failure to submit these additional materials with the initial application would not constitute “just and proper cause” for denial. “

  19. avatar barnbwt says:

    At some point, one has to wonder if these permitting processes don’t themselves drive previously law-abiding citizens to being dangerous psychopaths…This article reads like the backstory of some lame bureaucracy-themed Batman villain. The only thing missing is “…and that’s when I decided to make them suffer for wasting all my precious time, by building a giant Red Tape Cannon!”

  20. avatar Yngvar says:

    Sometimes, when they drag their feet, they’re just fishing for a bribe.

  21. avatar Karl says:

    Here on Long Island depending on county it can take close to a year to get a Sportsman permit (there are no CC permits for the general public). Mine took months.
    I recently took a Utah approved firearm safety course here on Long Island. Sent the application with $51 and will receive a CC permit (or a denial) within 60 days (Utah state law). Their permit is reciprocal with 32 states, NY and other Communist states not included.

  22. avatar Brian says:

    I live next to CT in “upstate” NY. Took me 16 months to get my permit to own a handgun. That’s with a clean background and nothing holding up the process. The northeast is obviously not very gun friendly. I always cringe when I hear people say it took them a long week to get their carry permit.

  23. avatar Steve in RI says:

    I want to get out of RI and move to TX or AZ. I am jealous of RF. He did it.

    I just need a job. Anyone in AZ or TX need a Desktop/Network Tech with 20 years of experience?

    I would like to work for Mercury One (?) – Glenn Beck’s media group.

  24. avatar Matt says:

    Another CT resident here. It took about 7 months for my permit to come through and that was 3 years pre Sandy Hook.

    Its all well and good that people say it should be 8 weeks max, but that simply does not reflect reality.

    Wish I knew at the time to file a complaint with the state board. I think what eventually got my permit approved was I started calling and/or stopping by the police station every day. that only had to go on for about 2 weeks before I got my permit 🙂

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