Approximately two-thirds of Connecticut citizens who were denied gun permits by the local police are getting a second chance thanks to the state’s Board of Firearm Permit Examiners.
This is good news for prospective gun owners with a less than stellar criminal history. Police often deny gun permits to people who have a history of violent crimes, restraining orders or other red flags.
The Board of Firearm Permit Examiners exists to protect the rights of gun owners and stand as a defense against arbitrary or unfair decisions by police. The BFPE will even go so far as to help people who have been denied a permit overturn the ruling at the state level.
"I have heard plenty of stories of the board taking the side of the applicant, essentially providing them a script on how to win an appeal," said Police Chief Matthew Reed of South Windsor.
Unsurprisingly, Connecticut police are not particularly thrilled about the BFPE undermining their decisions. These overturned decisions mean that there are hundreds of people in Connecticut carrying a gun despite the fact that police consider those people unfit for firearm ownership.
Milford police Chief Keith Mello argued, “Law enforcement agencies are putting in effort to determine someone’s suitability. When we deny someone, it is because we have determined them to be unsuitable, so it is disturbing when the board overturns those.”
Of course, the BFPE might not have to overturn so many permit denials if the police always did everything by the book. The chairman of the Board of Firearm Permit Examiners, Joseph Corradino, told reporters that they often intervene because the police weren’t following the law closely enough.
"When the chiefs follow the law they win,” he said.
Corradino’s assertion has ominous implications about Connecticut police. Is he suggesting that the police simply overlooked minor details in the paperwork, or is he implying that police brazenly violated state law in order to keep guns out of the hands of people who should be allowed to carry firearms?
Even though the BFPE is working in the interests of gun owners, gun rights advocates might have mixed feelings about the group. Some are glad that the board defends gun owners against arbitrary decisions, while others simply view the whole permit process as unnecessary red tape.