The Connecticut Citizens Defense League, along with a group of six individuals who are Connecticut residents and members of the organization, have filed a lawsuit against state officials for suspending access to fingerprinting needed to obtain a gun permit.
The gun permit process CT lawsuit was filed by Amy Jones, Todd Skilton, John Lowman, Joseph Coll, Tanysha Brown, and Daniel Gervais, who say they were unable to obtain a permit for firearm use because the state is not currently taking fingerprints for the permits.
The fingerprinting services were suspended as part of the state’s effort to close non-essential services and slow the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. The plaintiffs argue that this refusal violates state law that require the state to allow individuals to apply for permits if they are eligible.
The gun permit process CT fingerprinting lawsuit explains that on March 17, 2020, Governor Ned Lamont issued an Executive Order as part of the state’s effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus. The residents say the order gave police departments the power to “eliminate or limit fingerprint hours” for firearm permits and certificates.
However, the same order reportedly did not apply to all fingerprinting. According to the residents’ gun permit CT process lawsuit, the state does not uniformly enforce the refusal to fingerprint.
They say fingerprints are still taken for other purposes, including background checks, long-term care provider screening, and other purposes. In their eyes, state officials have not provided any reasons why some fingerprinting should be allowed to continue, while firearm permit fingerprinting is suspended.
Because of the order, authorities throughout the state stopped taking fingerprints for firearm permit and certificate applicants, says the COVID-19 gun rights lawsuit.
Allegedly, even residents who had completed necessary training could not apply for a permit, as the law allows. Such was the case with several of the residents who filed the apply for gun permit lawsuit.
In their gun permit process CT lawsuit, the residents assert that the suspension of fingerprinting services for firearm permit and certificate applications effectively stops the only method by which Connecticut residents can apply for a permit.
This allegedly makes it so that there is no way they can legally obtain, possess, and carry a firearm in the state. The residents stress that the state of Connecticut requires its residents to have a permit to carry a firearm.
The apply for gun permit lawsuit then goes on to explain that the government’s suspension of fingerprinting not only affects the residents’ rights to carry a gun in Connecticut, but in other states as well.
According to the lawsuit, Connecticut has a reciprocal agreement with multiple other states that allows Connecticut residents to carry guns in these other states with just a Connecticut permit.
Without a Connecticut permit, the plaintiffs say they are effectively unable to carry a gun in these other states.
The guns rights activists claim that the state’s order to suspend gun permit fingerprinting effectively infringes upon their Constitutionally guaranteed right to bear arms. They note that this right is guaranteed both by the Connecticut Constitution and the Constitution of the United States.
Because of this alleged infringement, the residents ask the court to require the state to either allow them to apply for firearms certificates and permits with the fingerprint requirement, or allow them to “obtain and possess firearms, ammunitions and magazines without a certificate or permit.”
They seek a declaratory judgement deeming the officials’ actions unconstitutional. They also seek injunctive relief, preventing the restrictions from being enforced in the future.
The Hartford Courant reported that the State Attorney General’s office has already responded to requests for a comment about the lawsuit, saying that it has “no merit.” According to State Attorney General William Tong, as quoted by the Hartford Courant, “our state constitution and state laws grant the governor broad authority to protect Connecticut residents and families in a public health emergency, and his executive orders have been very clearly constitutional and fully legally justified.”
Nonetheless, the pandemic and issues around personal liberty have inspired an increase in gun sales, says the news source, as worries about safety mount.
How has the coronavirus pandemic affected processes in your state? Share your experiences in the comments below.
The Connecticut gun rights activists and the Connecticut Citizens Defense League are represented by Craig C. Fishbein of Fishbein Law Firm LLC and Doug Dubitsky of the Law Offices of Doug Dubitsky.
The Gun Permit Process CT Lawsuit is Connecticut Citizens Defense League Inc., et al. v. Ned Lamont, et al., Case No. 3:20-cv-00646, in the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut.
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