Location:
BOARDS AND COMMISSIONS; WEAPONS - GUN CONTROL;
Scope:
Connecticut laws/regulations; Other States laws/regulations; Background;

OLR Research Report


February 20, 2013

 

2013-R-0138

(REVISED)

FIREARM BOARDS IN CONNECTICUT AND OTHER STATES

By: Veronica Rose, Chief Analyst

This report describes the functions of Connecticut's Board of Firearms Permit Examiners and compares Connecticut's gun credentialing and appeal process with those in other states.

SUMMARY

The Board of Firearms Permit Examiners is a seven-member board that hears appeals from people aggrieved by an issuing authority's decision to deny, revoke, or place limits on their gun permit or gun eligibility certificate or deny their request for an application for a permit or certificate. The board is within the Office of Governmental Accountability.

Some states have one central authority that issues the permit or other credential. In others, the process is decentralized and the credentials are issued by county or town officials. In some states, like Connecticut, a central body issues the credentials to nonresidents and local officials issue them to residents.

Only two other states—Maryland and Utah—have a statutorily designated board resembling the Board of Firearms Permit Examiners. Maryland has a five-member review board within the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services and Utah has a five-member board within the Department of Public Safety's Bureau of Criminal Identification.

CONNECTICUT GUN CREDENTIALS

With some exceptions, Connecticut law requires anyone (1) carrying a handgun (pistol or revolver) in the state to have a permit to carry handguns (i.e., gun permit); (2) buying or otherwise acquiring a handgun to have a gun permit, eligibility certificate, or permit to sell handguns (i.e., dealer permit); and (3) selling more than 10 handguns in a calendar year to have a dealer permit (CGS 29-35, -33, -28).

The eligibility certificate is issued by the State Police and the gun dealer permit is issued by police chiefs, or where there is none, the first selectman or borough warden (CGS 29-36f, -28). The gun permit is issued under a two-step process that involves (1) local police chiefs (or borough warden or first selectman, where applicable) issuing a temporary state permit after conducting preliminary criminal history record and suitability checks and (2) the State Police issuing a five-year state permit after completing all mandated criminal history record checks (CGS 29-28, 29-28a). The issuing authority may deny, revoke, suspend, refuse to issue or renew, or place limitations on, any of these credentials based on criteria in law.

BOARD OF FIREARMS PERMIT EXAMINERS

Composition

The Board of Firearms Permit Examiners is a statutory board that hears appeals of issuing authorities' adverse decisions on gun permits and eligibility certificates. It consists of seven members appointed by the governor as follows: two public members and one nominee each from the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection, the Connecticut Police Chiefs Association, the Energy and Environmental Protection Department, the Connecticut State Rifle and Revolver Association, Inc., and Ye Connecticut Gun Guild, Inc. At least one member must be a Connecticut-licensed lawyer, who chairs the board during appeals. Members are not paid but receive reasonable subsistence and travel allowances in the performance of their duties (CGS 29-32b).

Hearings

Anyone aggrieved by an issuing authority's decision to deny, limit, revoke, or refuse to provide an application for, a gun permit or eligibility certificate when asked, may appeal to the board, and the board must hear the appeal.

The board must hold hearings at least once every 90 days. The hearings are not criminal proceedings. Rather, they are civil administrative hearings open to the public. Both sides can call witnesses to address and explain the incidents that form the basis for the issuing authority's adverse action and both may cross-examine witnesses. The board may also question witnesses, request additional witnesses, and compel the attendance of witnesses with subpoenas.

Unless the board finds that the action that is the subject of the appeal was for a “just and proper cause,” it must order the issuing authority to issue, renew, restore, or remove any limit on, the gun permit or eligibility certificate. Decisions must be made by majority vote.

Appeal of Board Decisions

The statute establishing the board's procedures allows any “person” aggrieved by the board's decision to appeal to the Superior Court under the Uniform Administrative Procedure Act, which authorizes appeals by both individuals and government agencies and subdivisions (CGS 29-32b(f)).

OTHER STATES

All the states, except Vermont, issue some type of gun credential. Most require a permit or license to carry concealed weapons or handguns. Some, like Massachusetts and New Jersey, require a permit or license or both to purchase and carry handguns.

Typically, the issuing authority is a local law enforcement official (usually a police chief or sheriff) or the State Police. In some states, the local authority issues the credential to residents and the State Police issues it to nonresidents (see Table 1).

In most states, parties aggrieved by an adverse action on gun credentials either have to petition for judicial review or file an administrative appeal. Only Maryland and Utah have a board similar to Connecticut's Board of Firearms Permit Examiners.

Maryland's Handgun Permit Review Board

Maryland's Handgun Permit Review Board is within the state's Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services. The board consists of five public members appointed by the governor with the advice and consent of the Senate. Members are entitled to reimbursement for expenses and “compensation in accordance with the State budget” for each day they perform their official duties (Md. Code, Public Safety 5-302).

A party aggrieved by the State Police secretary's decision to deny, revoke, or place any limitation on his or her permit may ask the State Police to conduct an informal review within 10 days of an initial decision or ask the board to review the secretary's initial or final decision within 10 days of being notified.

Within 90 days after receiving a request to review an adverse action, the board must review the record developed by the secretary or conduct a hearing. It may consider additional evidence submitted by a party in conducting a review of the secretary's decision. Based on its consideration of the record and any additional evidence, it may sustain, reverse, or modify the agency's decision. The board's decisions are subject to judicial review (Md. Code, Public Safety 5-312).

Utah's Concealed Firearm Review Board

Utah's Concealed Firearm Review Board is within the Department of Public Safety's (DPS) Bureau of Criminal Identification, which issues permits to carry concealed firearms. The board consists of up to five members appointed by the DPS commissioner on a bipartisan basis. It includes one law enforcement representative and at least two public members, one of whom must represent sporting interests. Members do not receive compensation or benefits but may receive per diem and travel expenses.

Anyone aggrieved by the bureau's denial, suspension, or revocation of a concealed firearm permit may file a petition for review with the board, which must conduct the review within a “reasonable time” (Utah Code 53-5-703). The bureau has the burden of proof by preponderance of the evidence. The board's final order is final bureau action for purposes of judicial review (Utah Code 53-5-704(16)).

The board must meet at least quarterly, unless it has no business to conduct during that quarter.

.

Table 1: Comparison of States' Gun Credentials, Issuing Authorities, and Appeal Authorities/Process

State

Type of Credential

Issuing Authority

Authority that Hears Appeals

Comments

Alabama

License to carry pistol concealed or in a vehicle (Ala. Code 13A-11-73)

County sheriffs

Awaiting verification

 

Alaska

Permit to carry concealed handgun (Alaska Stat. 18.65.700)

State Police

Administrative appeal

Revocations*

A person may appeal revocation decision to the DPS commissioner and the commissioner's decision in Superior Court (Alaska Stat. 18.65.740).

Arizona

Permit to carry concealed weapon (Ariz. Rev. Stat. 13-3112)

Department of Public Safety

Administrative appeal

Denials*

When an application is denied, the applicant may submit additional documentation for reconsideration. If denied, the applicant may request hearing under the Uniform Administrative Procedure Act (Ariz. Rev. Stat. 13-3112).

Arkansas

License to carry concealed handgun (Ark. Code Ann. 5-73-302)

State Police

Administrative appeal

Denials, Suspensions, Revocations

Anyone aggrieved by a final agency action is entitled to judicial review in circuit court (Ark. Code Ann. 25-15-211, 25-15-212) (Ark. Admin. Code 130.00.8-9.1, 130.00.8-8.0, 130.00.8-10.0)

California

License to carry concealed firearms (Cal. Penal Code 26150(b),

26155(b))

County sheriffs and

police chiefs

Administrative appeal

Denials and Revocations

An applicant may request reconsideration by an administrative hearing officer. The agency must provide a final decision within 60 days of the request. A licensee whose permit is revoked or renewal denied may request an administrative hearing (11 Cal. Code Regs. tit. 11 4146 et seq.).

Colorado

Concealed handgun permit (Col. Rev. Stat. 18-12-203)

County sheriffs

Administrative or Judicial review

Denials, Revocations, Suspensions

Aggrieved applicants or permittees may seek a second review by the sheriff or, instead, seek judicial review. At a judicial review, the sheriff must prove his or her case by (1) a preponderance of the evidence in certain cases or (2) by clear and convincing evidence in others (Col. Rev. Stat. 18-12-207).

Connecticut

Permit to carry handguns (CGS 29-35)

Eligibility certificate (CGS 29-36g)

Local police chiefs/State Police Firearms Licensing Unit (two-step process) for gun permit for residents; State Police for nonresidents

State Police for eligibility certificate

Board of Firearms Permit Examiners

Denials, Revocations, Limitations

Anyone aggrieved by the board's decision may appeal to Superior Court (CGS 29-32b(f)).

Delaware

License to carry deadly weapons (Del. Code tit. 11 1441)

Superior courts

Supreme Court

Denials or Revocations

Applicant may appeal within 30 days of adverse decision to the Supreme Court (Del. Code tit. 10 150).

District of Colombia

Registration certificate to purchase firearm (D.C. Code 7-2502.01 to 2502.07a)

Police chiefs

Administrative appeal

Denials and Revocations

After a denial or revocation, a person has 15 days to submit further evidence before the denial or revocation is deemed final.

Anyone aggrieved by an agency decision may petition for review in the Appeals Court (D.C. Code 2-510, 7-2502.10).

Florida

License to carry concealed weapons or firearms (handguns) (Fla. Stat. 790.01)

Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services

Administrative appeal

Denials, Revocations, Suspensions

Before entering a final adverse order, the agency must give affected parties reasonable opportunity for an administrative hearing (Fla. Stat. 120.60(5)). Any party adversely affected by a final agency action may seek Appellate Court review. A preliminary, procedural, or intermediate agency order or order of an administrative law judge is immediately reviewable if review of the final agency decision would not provide an adequate remedy (Fla. Stat. 120.68).

Georgia

License to carry weapon (handgun) (Ga. Code 16-11-29(a))

County probate courts

Awaiting information

Awaiting information

Hawaii

License to carry handgun (Haw. Rev. Stat. 134-9)

Permit to acquire firearm (Haw. Rev. Stat. 134-2)

County or municipal police chiefs

Administrative appeal

(Haw. Admin. Code 23-4-2)

Idaho

License to carry concealed weapon (handgun) (Idaho Code Ann. 18-3302)

County sheriffs

Administrative appeal

Denials, Revocations. Suspensions

Before taking any adverse action against a licensee, the agency must provide notice and opportunity for a contested case hearing (Idaho Code 67-5254). A party aggrieved by the final action in the contested case is entitled to judicial review (Idaho Code 67-5270).

Illinois

Firearm Owner's Identification Card to acquire or possess firearms (430 Ill. Comp. Stat. 65/1)

State Police

Administrative appeal

Denials, Revocations, Suspensions, Seizures

With exceptions, an aggrieved party may appeal to the State Police director. In cases where the adverse action is based on certain crimes, he or she may petition the circuit court for a hearing (430 Ill. Comp. Stat. 65/10). With exceptions, final administrative decisions are subject to judicial review under the Administrative Review Law (430 Ill . Comp. Stat. 65/11).

Indiana

License to carry handgun (Ind. Code Ann. 35-47-2-1)

State Police

Administrative appeal

Ind. Code Ann. 35-47-2-5

Iowa

Permit to acquire handguns (Iowa Code 724.17)

Permit to carry weapons (Iowa Code 724.11)

County sheriffs for residents; public safety commissioner for nonresidents

Administrative appeal

Denials, Suspensions, Revocations

The applicant or permit holder may file an appeal with an administrative law judge. The standard of review is clear and convincing evidence that the issuing officer had probable cause for the action. An applicant, permit holder, or issuing officer aggrieved by the administrative law judge's final judgment may seek judicial review (Iowa Code 724.21A(4),(5)).

Kansas

License to carry concealed handgun (Kan. Stat. 75-7c03)

Attorney General's Office

Administrative appeal

Denials*

If the attorney general denies an application, he or she must notify the applicant of the opportunity for an administrative hearing (Kan. Stat. 75-7c05(e)(2)).

Kentucky

License to carry concealed weapons (Ky. Rev. Stat. 237.110)

State Police

Administrative appeal

Denials*

If the State Police denies an application, it must notify the applicant of the right to resubmit additional documentation relating to the grounds for the denial. Aggrieved applicants may seek de novo review in the appropriate district court (Ky. Rev. Stat. 237.110(9)).

Louisiana

Permit to carry concealed handgun (La. Rev. Stat. 40.1379.3(A)(1))

Department of Public Safety and Corrections

Administrative appeal

Denials*

An applicant denied a permit may seek an informal review or administrative hearing (La. Admin. Code tit. 55, ptI, 1315).

Maine

Permit to carry concealed handgun (Me. Rev. Stat. tit. 25 2003)

Mayor and municipal officers or councilors of a city or town for residents; State Police chief for nonresidents

Administrative appeal

Denials*

Anyone aggrieved by a final agency action may seek judicial review in the Superior Court (Me. Rev. Stat. tit. 5 11001).

Maryland

Permit to carry handgun (Md. Code, Public Safety 5-303)

State Police licensing division

Administrative appeal (informal) or Handgun Permit Review Board

Denials, Revocations, Suspensions

An affected party may ask the (1) State Police secretary or designee to conduct an informal review within 10 days of the initial adverse decision or (2) board to review the initial decision or secretary's decision. Within 90 days of receiving the request, the board must conduct a hearing (Md. Code Public Safety 5-301, -311, -312).

Massachusetts

Firearm Identification (FID) Card (Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 140 129B)

Class A and Class B firearm license to carry (Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 140 131)

Permit to purchase firearm (Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 140 131A)

Local police or State Police

District Court

Denials, Revocations, Suspensions

Aggrieved parties may, within 90 days of receipt of a notice of adverse action, or within 90 days after the expiration of the deadline by which the issuing authority must provide a response, file a petition for judicial review (Mass. Gen. Laws ch.140 129B(5), 131(f)).

Michigan

License to carry concealed pistol

(Mich. Comp. Laws 28.425b)

License to purchase, carry, possess, transport pistol (Mich. Comp. Laws 28.422)

Counties' concealed weapons licensing boards

Police chiefs or county sheriffs, where applicable

Circuit Court

Denials*

The court must, if it determines that (1) the denial was clearly erroneous, order the board to issue the license; (2) the denial was arbitrary and capricious, order the state to pay one-third and the county to pay two-thirds of the applicant's costs and attorney fees; and (3) the applicant's appeal was frivolous, order the applicant to pay the board's actual costs and attorney fees in responding to the appeal (Mich. Comp. Laws 28.425d).

Minnesota

Permit to carry pistol (Minn. Stat. 624.714)

Transferee permit (or permit to carry) required to purchase handgun (Minn. Stat. 624.7131)

County sheriffs

County sheriffs and police chiefs

District Court

Denials and Revocations

Anyone aggrieved by a permit denial or revocation may appeal by petition to the appropriate district court. The court must hold a hearing at the earliest “practicable date” but no later than 60 days after the petition is filed. If it grants a petition, it must award the petitioner reasonable costs and expenses, including attorney fees (Minn. Stat. Ann. 624.714(12)(d)).

Missouri

Concealed carry endorsement to carry concealed on one's person or in a vehicle (Mo. Rev. Stat. 571.101)

County or city sheriffs

Administrative appeal

Denials*

Aggrieved applicants may resubmit application for reconsideration. After two additional reviews and denials, they may appeal to small claims court (Mo, Stat. 571.101, 571.114.1). They may appeal the final judgment of the small claims court (Mo. Stat. 571.114(5)).

Montana

Permit to carry concealed weapon (Mont. Code 45-8-321)

County sheriffs

District Court

Denials and Revocations

The denial or revocation of a permit is subject to appeal to the district court and from that court to the Supreme Court (Mont. Code 45-8-324).

Nebraska

Permit to carry a concealed handgun (Neb. Rev. Stat. 69-2430)

Nebraska State Patrol

Administrative appeal

Denials*

Applicants denied a permit may appeal to the district court in accordance with the Administrative Procedure Act (Neb. Rev. Stat. 69-2430).

Nevada

Permit to carry concealed firearms (Nev. Rev. Stat. 202.3657)

County sheriffs

District Court

Denials*

Applicants denied a permit may petition the district court for review. The judicial review must be limited to a determination of whether the denial was arbitrary, capricious, or otherwise characterized by an abuse of discretion (Nev. Rev. Stat. 202.3663).

New Hampshire

License to carry loaded handgun (N.H. Rev. Stat. 159:4)

Police chief, mayor, selectmen, sheriffs (as applicable) for residents; State Police for nonresidents

District or Municipal Court

Denials, Suspensions, Revocations

Anyone aggrieved by any adverse action on a license may petition the district or municipal court in his or her district. The court must hear the petition within 14 days after receiving it and issue a decision within 14 days after the hearing. The issuing authority must demonstrate by clear and convincing proof why the adverse action was justified (N.H. Rev. Stat. 159:6-c).

New Jersey

Firearms purchaser Identification card to purchase long guns (N.J. Stat. 2C:58-3(b))

Permit to purchase handgun (N.J. Stat. 2C:58-3(a))

Permit to carry handgun (N.J. Stat. 2C:58-4(a))

Police chief (or State Police superintendent, where applicable) for FID card and permit to purchase handguns;

Police chief (or State Police superintendent, where applicable) approves the application; the Superior Court issues the permit to carry handguns

Superior Court

Denials*

Anyone denied a permit to carry handguns may appeal to the Superior Court. The court must hold the hearing within 30 days of receiving the hearing application. Appeals from the results of the hearing are allowed in accordance with law (N.J. Stat. 58-3(d)); 2C 58-4(e)).

New Mexico

License to carry concealed handgun (N.M. Stat. 29-19-5)

Department of Public Safety

Administrative appeal

Denials, Suspensions, Revocations

Anyone adversely affected by the department's final order may appeal to the county district court (N.M. Admin. Code 10.8.2.21, 10.8.2.2.26(M)).

New York

Awaiting information

Awaiting information

Awaiting information

Awaiting information

North Carolina

License to purchase handgun (N.C. Gen. Stat. 14-402, -403, -404)

Permit to carry concealed handgun (N.C. Gen. Stat. 14-415.11)

County sheriffs

District Court

Denials and Revocations

Applicants may petition the district court to hear denials of license application. The court must base its decision on the facts, the law, and the reasonableness of the sheriff's refusal. Its decision is final. (N.C. Gen. Stat. 14-404, 14-415.15).

North Dakota

Concealed license to carry firearm (N.D. Cent. Code 62.1-04-02, 62.1-04-03)

State Bureau of Criminal Investigation

District Court

Denials and Revocations

N.D. Cent. Code 62.1-04-03(7)

Ohio

License to carry concealed handgun (Ohio Rev. Code Ann. 2923.125)

County sheriffs

Administrative appeal

Denials*

Ohio Rev. Code 2923.127

Oklahoma

License to carry concealed or unconcealed handgun (Okla. Stat. tit. 21 1290.3)

State Bureau of Investigation

Administrative appeal

Denials, Revocations, Suspensions

Aggrieved applicants may request a bureau administrative hearing and may appeal the bureau's decision to district court (Okla. Stat. tit. 1290.12(12), 1290.17).

Oregon

License to carry concealed handgun (Or. Rev. Stat. 166.291- to 166.295)

County sheriffs

Circuit Court

Denials, Revocations, Suspensions

Aggrieved parties may petition the circuit court, which must hear the petition within 15 “judicial days” of the filing or as soon as practicable thereafter. Any party to the appeal may appeal the circuit court's decision to the Appeals Court. If the issuing authority files an unsuccessful appeal, it must pay the prevailing party's attorney fees for the (Or. Rev. Stat. 166.293).

Pennsylvania

License to carry concealed firearm (18 Pa. Cons. Stat. 6109(a))

County sheriffs (or city police chiefs, where applicable)

Court

Denials, Revocations, Suspensions

Any adverse action on a license is subject to judicial review (18 PA Cons. Stat. 6114).

Rhode Island

License or permit to carry concealed or visible handgun (R.I. Gen. Laws 11-47-8, 11-47-18)

Police chiefs or superintendents, boards of police commissioners, or town clerks, as applicable

Administrative appeal

Denials, Revocations, Suspensions

Anyone who has exhausted all administrative remedies and is aggrieved by a final administrative decision is entitled to judicial review (R.I. Gen. Laws 42-35-15).

South Carolina

Permit to carry “concealable weapon” S.C. Code 23-31-215)

South Carolina Law Enforcement Division

Administrative appeal

Denials*

Anyone denied a permit may appeal to the division chief, who has 10 days to issue a decision. Aggrieved applicants have 30 days to file a petition for review by the Administrative Law Judge Division (S.C. Code 23-31-215).

South Dakota

Permit to carry concealed pistol (S.D. Codified Laws 23-7-7)

County sheriffs

Circuit Court

Denials*

S.D. Codified Laws 23-7-7.1(9)

Tennessee

Permit to carry handguns (Tenn. Code 39-17-1351)

State Department of Safety

Administrative appeal

Denials, Suspensions, Revocations

An aggrieved person may petition for department review. If the department's action is sustained, the person may petition for a court hearing (Tenn. Code 39-17-1352, -1353, -1354).

Texas

License to carry concealed handguns (Texas Gov. Code 411.177(a))

State Department of Public Safety

Administrative appeal

Denials, Revocations, Suspensions

Not later than 30 days after being informed of an adverse decision, applicants may ask the department for a hearing. The department must promptly schedule a hearing in the appropriate justice court, and the hearing must be held “expeditiously” but no later than 60 days after the aggrieved party's request. A justice of the peace acts as administrative hearing officer. The court must make its determination based on the preponderance of the evidence. Any party adversely affected by the court's ruling may appeal to a county court (Texas Gov. Code 411.180).

Utah

Permit to carry concealed firearms (Utah Code Ann. 53-5-704, 53-5-705)

State Department of Public Safety Bureau of Criminal Identification

Concealed Firearm Review Board

Denials, Suspensions, Revocations

The bureau has burden of proof by preponderance of the evidence. The board's final order is final bureau action for purposes of judicial review (Utah Code 53-5-704(16)).

Vermont

No permit or license required

Not applicable

Not applicable

Not applicable

Virginia

Permit to carry concealed handgun (Va. Code Ann. 18.2-308(D))

Circuit court clerk for residents; State Police for nonresidents

Administrative appeal

Denials*

Anyone whose application is denied may ask the circuit court within 21 days after the denial for an “ore tenus” hearing. The applicant may petition the Court of Appeals to review the circuit court's order. If the decision is reversed on appeal, the state must pay the applicant's taxable costs. The Appeals Court decision is final. (Va. Code. 18-2-308(I), 18-308(L)).

Washington

License to carry concealed pistol (Wash. Rev. Code 9.41.070)

County sheriffs or municipal police chiefs

Court

Aggrieved parties may apply to a court of competent jurisdiction for a writ of mandamus (Wash. Rev. Code 9.41.0975(2)).

West Virginia

License to carry concealed deadly weapon (handgun) (W. Va. Code 61-7-4)

County sheriffs

Circuit Court

Denials*

An applicant whose application is denied may file a petition in circuit court. If the court upholds the denial, the applicant may file an appeal in Appeals Court (W. Va. Code 61-7-4(j)).

Wisconsin

License to carry concealed weapons (Wis. Stat. 175.60(2)(a))

State Department of Justice (DOJ)

Administrative or Superior Court appeal

Denials, Suspensions, Revocations

An aggrieved party may petition the DOJ for administrative review or appeal directly to the Superior Court. If the court reverses a decision, it may order the department to pay the aggrieved individual all court costs and reasonable attorney fees (Wis. Stat. 175.60(14m)(g)(2)).

Wyoming

Permit to carry concealed firearm (Wyo. Stat. 6-8-104(b))

Attorney General's Office through the Division of Criminal Investigation

Administrative appeal

Denials, Suspensions, Revocations

If the division denies an application, it must inform the applicant of his or her right to resubmit it with any additional documentation. If aggrieved by the final decision, the applicant may seek review in the district court (Wy. Stat. 16-3-114, 6-8-104).

Source: OLR Analysis of State Statutes

*Appeal procedures may apply to all adverse actions on credentials.

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