March 15, 2017
The Joint Committee on Judiciary
Connecticut General Assembly
Legislative Office Building, Room 2500
Hartford, CT 06106
Distinguished Members of the Judiciary Committee:
As chiefs of police from towns across Connecticut, we are writing to express our support for H.B. 6200, An Act Concerning the Presentation of a Carry Permit. This bill is about public safety and the safety of law enforcement officers who every day risk their lives to protect the public.
The bill would require persons openly and visibly carrying handguns in public to produce their Connecticut pistol permit when requested by a police officer. Current statute only allows us to request to see the permit if there is “reasonable suspicion” of a crime, even though the individual is required to have the permit on his person.
When we respond to reports of a person with a gun, we can’t assume the individual is simply “exercising his rights.” Until we can assess the situation, officers have to consider the individual a potential threat. Their duty to protect the public is compromised, and they put their own safety at risk, when they don’t have the authority to quickly and easily determine whether the individual is legally allowed to carry a firearm in public. Not only does this tie the hands of our officers, it wastes valuable resources and unnecessarily creates confrontations between law enforcement and private citizens, most of whom are likely carrying their firearms within the law.
The proposed bill gives us the authority we need to assure public safety and diffuse situations which the general public finds threatening while respecting the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding gun owners.
We urge you to vote “yes” for H.B. 6200 in Committee so it may receive a floor vote of the full membership of the General Assembly.