Furor over Malloy’s plan to jack up pistol permit fees
Updated 4:56 pm, Tuesday, February 14, 2017
Connecticut — a cradle of the firearms industry and focal point of the national gun-control debate since the 2012 school shooting in Newtown — could soon rival New York City for the highest gun permit fees in the nation.
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy wants to quadruple the fees for the state’s estimated 250,000 permit holders to help close a projected $1.4 billion budget deficit.
But the fee hike by the Democrat, who signed one of the nation’s strictest gun-control laws in 2013, is sparking protests from the state’s gun owners and Republican lawmakers.
“Gov. Malloy’s proposal to quadruple the fee for pistol permits is outrageous and unacceptable,” said Mike Bazinet, a NSSF spokesman. “Many pistol permit holders simply do not have the economic means to be able to afford this kind of a cost increase.
Gun permit costs
*Does not include a $70 surcharge that goes to cities and towns
“A fee increase of this magnitude will serve as a de facto limitation of law-abiding citizens’ ability to exercise their right to keep and bear arms that is guaranteed both by the U.S. and our state constitutions.”
Malloy spokeswoman Kelly Donnelly said the additional revenue is needed to help cover the high volume of firearms permits stemming from the 2013 law.
“To ensure Connecticut remains competitive, we monitor closely what other neighboring jurisdictions are doing relative to their fee and tax structures,” Donnelly said. “Implementing a fee structure comparable to pistol permitting fees set by the NYPD is projected to raise an additional $9 million for the state.”
In 2013, Connecticut expanded its definition of an illegal assault weapon and banned high-capacity gun magazines. The state adopted a background-check requirement for the purchase of ammunition.
“We certainly understand the reasons for it,” he said. “Nobody likes to have increases that directly affect them. I certainly don’t think the firearm permits should be exempt from them.”
House Minority Leader Themis Klarides, R-Derby, panned the increase.
“To go after the person who works hard and pays taxes because you don’t agree with their personal choices that are protected by the Constitution is just plain wrong,” she said.
Meanwhile, the state GOP is offering a two-day pistol permit class in March with a National Rifle Association-certified instructor for $125 per person, which party leaders said is not a fundraiser and has been in the works since December.
“It’s like the right to vote,” said J.R. Romano, the party chairman. “We’re helping to facilitate that. There’s nothing crazy.”
Democrats lambasted the outreach initiative, saying Republicans are shilling for the National Rifle Association.
“If this is the platform for which Republican leadership and candidates for statewide office are fighting, then we're ready to have the debate over the Democratic Party standing up for common sense gun-violence prevention,” said Michael Mandell, the party’s executive director.
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