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State background check fees are illegal and must stop



Background Information:

In conducting an investigation upon receipt of a “Pistol Permit Application” (Form DPS-799-C), the local issuing authority forwards an applicant’s fingerprints or other positive identifying information to the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection (DESPP) (formerly, the Department of Public Safety) for results of a state criminal history records check. CGS 29-29(b)

Prior to October 1, 2009, the DESPP did not require that the issuing authority submit a $50.00 fee made payable to the DESPP with the “Pistol Permit Application” (Form DPS-799-C) for the state criminal history records check. Instead, the DESPP required that the applicant submit two fees to the issuing authority:

  • A fee made payable to the local issuing authority for costs related to the processing of the application
  • A fee made payable to the DESPP for payment to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) for the national criminal history records check

October 1, 2009, the DESPP amended its “Pistol Permit Application” (Form DPS-799-C) to require that applicants submit a $50.00 fee to the issuing authority made payable to the DESPP for the state criminal history records check. The amendment was not authorized by the Connecticut General Assembly or other lawful authority. The DESPP now requires that the applicant submit three fees to the issuing authority:

  • A fee made payable to the local issuing authority for costs related to the processing of the application
  • A fee made payable to the DESPP for the state criminal history records check
  • A fee made payable to the DESPP for payment to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) for the national criminal history records check

CGS 29-11(c) waives the DESPP fees for state criminal history records checks when a state criminal history records check is requested by a federal, state, or local municipality. Local issuing authorities get state background checks done for free.

Since October 1, 2009, the DESPP has used local issuing authorities to collect, unlawfully, the $50.00 fee in excess of one-half million dollars for obtaining state criminal history records checks when the local issuing authorities, as a matter of law, are entitled to state criminal history records check at no cost. CGS 29-11(c)

The collection of the $50.00 fee by the local issuing authorities, acting as agents for the DESPP, has imposed and continues to impose an unlawful tax upon individuals submitting applications for pistol permits issued by the DESPP. Since October 1, 2009 this tax has amounted to over $1.5 million. This tax on our human rights infringes on our state and federal constitutional protections.