FILE - In this Jan. 26, 2015 file photo, a demonstrator helps hold a large "Come and Take It" banner at a rally in support of open carry gun laws at the Capitol, in Austin, Texas. Texas, the second-most populous state, is joining 44 other states in allowing at least some firearm owners to carry handguns openly in public places. Under the Texas law, guns can be carried by those with licenses and only in holsters. (AP Photo/Eric Gay, File)

Connecticut to Increase Cost of Exercising Constitutional Right

Governor Malloy of Connecticut is proposing an increase in the state’s fees charged to citizens wishing to buy or carry handguns.

If this article were about any other Constitutionally-protected activity, people would think this proposal is ludicrous.  After all, who in their right mind would propose fees or restrictions for bloggers or others exercising their First Amendment Rights.  Yet, if it involves the Second Amendment, then people are too quick to discard their liberties and submit to onerous fees and processes required by the government to exercise this right.

Connecticut gun laws are already burdensome on law-abiding citizens.  They are so complex, in fact, that many news reports on the proposed fee increases do not accurately reflect the total all-in costs.  This is because there are different permits available in Connecticut, and to get the permit in question (the “State Pistol Permit”), requires an applicant to go through a two-step process and pay fees to both local and state police agencies.  If reporters are unable to understand the process, then perhaps it is too complicated for those who wish to follow it to actually obtain a permit.

Thus, to summarize Malloy’s proposal, his proposed increases are related to the “state’s portion” of the “State Pistol Permit” fees.  This permit is good for carrying handguns outside the home.  Note that this is different than the “eligibility certificate” which is required to buy a handgun or rifle.  This is also different than the licensing requirements for grandfathered “assault weapons.”

To obtain the State Pistol Permit, an applicant must complete a two-step process.  First, he must apply with his local police authority in order to get a “temporary” permit.  After he receives this (a process taking up to 8 weeks), he can then go to the state police headquarters (there is only only possible location) and apply for the “real” permit; he has 60 days to do so.

All-in, the current costs of getting a State Pistol Permit is $202 (fees paid to the local police and fingerprinting costs); including the costs of the required safety course, this rises to at least $262.  Obviously, this doesn’t include the necessary time off from work to go complete all these tasks.

With Malloy’s proposal, the all-in costs will increase to $387; including the costs of the required safety course, this rises to at least $447.  Again, the applicant also has to take off work to complete the required tasks before he can exercise his Second Amendment rights.

The complexity and fees of the Connecticut process unnecessarily burdens law-abiding citizens, particularly the poor, who simply wish to protect themselves and their families.  Again, if it is too complex for reporters to accurately report on the proposals, then it is too complex for well-meaning citizens to follow.  Americans need to start considering their Second Amendment rights as important as their First Amendment rights.

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Aaron Simms

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