Toni Harp Demonstrates Elitist Hypocrisy with Security Detail Request
Requests Security that Citizens Can’t Even Buy
New Haven CT, January 17, 2014:
Toni Harp, incoming New Haven mayor, former Connecticut Senator, was reported to request a full-time security detail consisting of two well-armed New Haven police officers that will be driving the new mayor around. The hypocrisy in Senator Harp’s request for the security detail was not lost on Connecticut Carry President Richard Burgess:
“Toni Harp voted to take away, restrict and ban many effective self-defense tools from good, hard-working Connecticut citizens. That she now wishes to be surrounded at all times by two officers that are exempt from those laws says a lot about how she relates to her constituency and how she values herself compared to our families.”
Citizens of Connecticut have been restricted from buying effective self-defense tools including modern sporting rifles and regular capacity magazines ever since SB 1160 passed, a bill that Toni Harp was not shy about supporting. These tools are the same tools that the security detail around her will carry on a regular basis to defend her from the rampant crime that this law will continue to fuel in New Haven. A luxury that even those in Connecticut who can afford private security are not even allowed due to the new laws.
While Toni Harp is protected by two well-armed officers that could be protecting citizens, the citizens in Connecticut who have a pistol permit (1 out of 10 eligible citizens) will have to defend themselves and their families with limited capacity magazines and inferior tools. Indeed, studies show that tools like this are used in defensive roles around 2.5 million times a year nationally. Such tools are desired to defend against the frequent, and emboldened, mob attacks that occur in New Haven that have worsened since the ban.
Why does Toni Harp feel it necessary to have these tools around her for protection when she has spent her time denying those tools to the rest of the citizens of Connecticut? Are our families and loved ones’ lives worth less than Toni Harp’s?
President Burgess concluded:
“Clearly Toni Harp shares our belief that these tools are effective defensive tools. The difference is that she apparently believes that she is part of an elite class of people who are entitled to be defended by these tools while the rest of us are supposed to follow the law she voted for.”
Demanding an End to Outrageous Flip-Flopping by the State
People will soon be harmed by the State’s rushed and flawed laws and interpretations
Middletown CT, December 26, 2013:
In the final days left for Connecticut residents to interpret the laws and to make decisions on whether or not to register their firearms as possible ‘Assault Weapons’, Connecticut gun owners are left with conflicting interpretations from the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection (DESPP).
The Department of Emergency Services has been tasked with the sole authority to make declaratory rulings and legal interpretations about the statutes within their enforcement domain in the State of Connecticut since a 2009 court case affirmed that duty. On October 11, 2013, DESPP Commissioner Reuben Bradford sent a letter to an Attorney Clough out of Southbury stating in no uncertain terms:
Section 11 of Public Act 13-220 was intended to resolve an ambiguity in Public Act 13-3. The section clarifies that it is the intent of the legislature to exclude assault weapons manufactured before September 13, 1994 from transfer restrictions and registration requirements.
Connecticut Carry, exercising due diligence, also posted and referred people to a conflicting written opinion from our counsel, Attorney Rachel M. Baird of Torrington, Connecticut. Attorney Baird concluded that those ‘Assault Weapons’ that were manufactured before September 13, 1994 were excluded from the ban, unless they were named in the named part of the ban.
Now, with less than 6 days left until the looming registration deadline of January 1st, 2014, the word from certain gun dealers is that certain members of DESPP have privately made statements that DESPP plans to reverse the widely public interpretation by Commissioner Bradford, and now those same sources say DESPP is reversing that reversal.
Connecticut Carry makes education about laws a priority, but cannot offer proper guidance about these laws to try and help keep people out of felony trouble when the head of the DESPP, with his sizable legal team, apparently cannot decipher the statutes that are supposed to be easily interpreted by ‘the common man’. When the Connecticut General Assembly cannot update the official statutes on their website inside of the 8 months given in the law, and DESPP waits until the last minute to start wavering on their own legal interpretations, what chance do the residents of Connecticut have to figure these laws out either?
“With only a few days until the new laws turn law abiding people into felons, it is outrageous that DESPP would consider a flip-flop [about the October 11th decision of Reuben Bradford], particularly during the hectic Christmas season while so many people are away from home.” said Connecticut Carry Director Edward Peruta.
“It is not just outrageous, it should be criminal. They are going to be hurting a lot of people by injecting this level of confusion into the process this late in the game. There is no time left to change our education to the public now.” agreed Connecticut Carry President Rich Burgess.
Because citizens of Connecticut are protected from their ignorance of the law when their ignorance is due to the interpretations by state agencies like the DESPP (CGS 53a-6), the Commissioner’s interpretation should stand as the applied and practiced law. Connecticut Carry plans to continue to educate and to assist in the defense of people, especially if the State of Connecticut intends to victimize people who have made their choices based on the Commissioner’s official interpretation.
Commissioner Bradford has the sole responsibility and ability to end this confusion. Connecticut Carry calls on Commissioner Bradford to immediately issue a declaration stating unequivocally that he will stand by his original interpretation and that people are safe to follow it.
Pistol Permit Confidentiality and What It Means To Connecticut
The Law Applies Equally
Hartford CT, December 20, 2013:
According to a recent Connecticut Superior Court ruling, the names and addresses of not only permit holders are exempt, but anyone applying for a pistol permit are. Despite arguments to the letter of the law by American News and Information Services, Inc, the FOIC and now Connecticut Superior Court Judge Prescott have decided that the law does not apply as written, but instead a loose interpretation of the law applies. This court decision is being appealed, with Connecticut Carry contributing towards the appeal to try and cement the boundaries of Pistol Permit confidentiality in case law.
Fortunately, most Connecticut Pistol Permit holders, the bread and butter of Connecticut Carry’s membership, will not be upset by this interpretation at all. In fact, Connecticut Carry is announcing a new public campaign aimed at enforcing these decisions to the letter of the interpretation. The wide reaching ramifications of these decisions will impact many municipalities, the Board of Firearms Permit Examiners, the state police and gun owners in the state. Connecticut Carry aims to make sure that the confidentiality of permit holders is applied evenly across the state and according to the law as interpreted by the Freedom of Information Commission and the Connecticut Superior Court.
To start with, this means that the following restrictions will apply:
- The Board of Firearms Permit Examiners will need to immediately cease and desist in publishing the roster that they currently publish on their website.
- Hearings in front of the Board of Firearms Permit Examiners will need to become private affairs where anyone not immediately involved in a case must not be present in the hearing.
- CT-N and other media sources will no longer be able to record and disseminate board hearings as they have been doing.
- The Connecticut State Police will need to cease and desist in releasing permit information as they have done in the past.
- Municipalities will no longer be able to perform ‘suitability investigations’ that include interviewing employers and neighbors like the City of New Haven has been doing for many years now.
- Police, both in the municipal and in the state capacity will no longer be able to disclose upon arrest that a person was in possession of a pistol permit at the time of their arrest.
- Police, both in the municipal and in the state capacity will no longer be able to disclose permit statuses over public radio communications, like they currently do.
- All state agencies will need to redact their releases to make sure that they are not disclosing a permit holder’s name or address information.
- Media will need to be sure that they are not an accomplice to the crime of releasing such confidential information and disobeying an FOIC ruling.
As representatives of Connecticut Pistol Permit Holders and the new classes of people that now fall under the same statutory language (‘Assault Weapons’ and ‘Large Capacity Magazines’), Connecticut Carry will be ensuring that these laws are enforced without any preference or exemptions for political classes who bear no exemption under the laws. There will be no quarter given to State Police Detectives and other personnel who knowingly violate these interpretations of the law, especially when their only purpose is to further denigrate permit holders. We have recommended Federal criminal charges in the past and we will not hesitate to pursue all legal means to make sure that future crimes by the state are prosecuted.
Any disclosure of a person’s name or address that is a Connecticut Pistol Permit Holder or Applicant is a violation of law right now according to the Connecticut Superior Court. Anyone disclosing this kind of confidential information in the future should expect to be the subject of legal actions on behalf of the citizens of Connecticut.
State Police Releasing Confidential Information in Board Hearings
Detective Barbara Mattson Illegally Exposes Permit Holders
Middletown, Connecticut, November 25, 2013:
During a Board of Firearms Permit Examiners meeting on November 14, 2013, Detective Barbara Mattson of the Connecticut State Police disclosed the name and the active permit status of at least one Connecticut State Pistol Permit holder on the public record. This disclosure, prohibited by CGS 29-28(d), is both illegal and irresponsible.
Detective Mattson can hardly feign ignorance to the illegal nature of her disclosure since the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection recently won an appeal to their refusal to disclose permit applicant information under the Freedom of Information Act. The state argued against the plain text of the statute that only exempts persons issued a pistol permit, and the court applied that confidentiality to all applicants as well.
Detective Mattson did not disclose an applicant’s information, nor did she disclose the information of someone in an appeal. She disclosed the permit status, by name of a third party permit holder. This type of disclosure potentially harms or endangers members of the public, and the state police are expected to follow these laws that they enforce on the rest of us.
Rachel M. Baird and Associate of Torrington, Connecticut, on behalf of Connecticut Carry and the Connecticut residents we represent, issued a very direct letter to state officials. The state officials, including the State Police, the Attorney General and the Board of Firearms Permit examiners were informed and warned of this illegal conduct by a senior State Trooper from the Special Licensing and Firearms Unit. They have been asked to provide notice to all relevant agencies and personnel to make sure that they understand that the confidentiality of pistol permit holders must be upheld.
Important questions about these disclosures have also been asked, such as: What action does the state intend to take in response to a prohibited disclosure? When and where will the state deem it expedient to name permit holders in public?
How is the DESPP able to disregard the law for its own members but state in court that the same action is serious and prohibited by law and so serious that applicants for permits cannot be disclosed despite the contrary plain text of the law?
Hartford Fire Lieutenant Arrested on Hysterical Gun Charges
Connecticut Carry Monitoring Ongoing Case
Hartford, CT, October 7, 2013
On October 1st, 2013 Hartford Police arrested Michael Patterson and charged him with Breach of Peace, Threatening in the Second Degree and 29 felony counts of Risk of Injury to a Child. Hartford police state the cause for the 29 felony charges is for 29 unloaded firearms being allegedly left accessible in the home where they claim a child resided with ammunition in some sort of close proximity.
It is questionable why the Hartford Police Department would make an arrest based on the circumstances that they have used to publicly smear Lieutenant Patterson. The Connecticut General Statutes are quite clear on this issue, and the legislature did not change the relevant elements of the ‘safe storage’ statute when they repealed it and substituted new language on 4/4/2013. CGS §29-37i specifically addresses the storage of loaded firearms, not unloaded.
Accordingly, CGS §53a-217a is a criminal statute that addresses violations of the aforementioned ‘safe storage law’ which spells out a class D felony for a child gaining access to an improperly stored firearm that results in injury or death. The reality of this case is far from a violation of either statute, so instead, the Hartford Police Department decided to charge Mr. Patterson with 29 counts of a more serious class C felony. This disparity means that the Hartford Police Department believes that Mr. Patterson committed a crime worth far more than 29 times the punishment of leaving a loaded firearm for a child to access that results in injury or death when there is zero indication that the firearm was ever accessible or accessed by any child, never mind any injury or death being a result.
With the ridiculous charges applied to Mr. Patterson, he faces a potential sentence of 1 to 10 years and up to $10,000 for each charge. This is twice the potential penalty of Criminally Negligent Storage of a Firearm. A child never gained access to his firearms, and yet he could face up to 290 years in prison and up to $290,000 in fines.
Connecticut Carry plans to monitor this case along with the others we are currently working on to make sure that justice prevails and Mr. Patterson is given his fair day in court. A day in court where the Hartford Police Department will have to answer for their overzealous and hysterical prosecution of a law abiding citizen.
A hearing open to the public will take place in the Hartford GA14 courthouse on October 16th at 10:00 am. Connecticut Carry encourages members of the public and the media to attend the hearing. It should be educational and enlightening.
Connecticut DESPP Admits ‘mistakes’ in Ex Parte Confiscations
DESPP Promises to Stop Threatening Lawful Gun Owners
Middletown, CT, October 3, 2013:
In a letter dated September 10th, 2013, the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection (DESPP) admitted to 'mistakes’ in sending threatening letters to citizens that were the subject of Ex Parte restraining orders and unlawfully demanding the surrender of their firearms under the threat of arrest. The letter comes as an apparent response to Attorney Rachel M. Baird’s criminal complaint sent to the FBI against the DESPP for deprivation of civil rights.
While the DESPP assures us that these kinds of threats are to be ‘no longer mailed when an ex parte restraining order is issued’, we still have serious concerns about this and other topics when the DESPP and their legal counsel were unable previously to properly distinguish between an Ex Parte restraining order and a restraining order. The facts of this case as well as others only serve to further emphasize the severe lack of legal understanding within the Connecticut State Police.
Connecticut Carry expects that this lack of understanding is only going to get worse considering the 130+ page gun ban implemented by our legislature as of 4/4/2013. We first publicized the topic of Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection threatening gun owners back on July 1st, 2013.
The lack of understanding of these basic legal constructs as well as the constitutional issues exposed within them was the subject of a letter to the US House of Representatives and Senate after Senators Blumenthal and Murphy signed on to try and change the legislation to cover DESPP’s tracks.
No agency, whether federal, state or municipal should be issuing threats of arrest without a full understanding of the law.
Second Amendment Rights Attacked Behind Closed Doors
It Is Time for Judge Robert C. Brunetti to Find a New Career
Bristol CT, September 12, 2013:
During a closed door meeting in the judge’s chambers during a case Judge Robert C. “Brunes” Brunetti exposed his bigotry for fundamental civil rights in front of at least three defense attorneys. The violation came during the case of State of Connecticut v. Bruce Worley, docket number H17B-CR13-0055722S.
Judge Brunetti expressed his contempt for the right to keep and bear arms, as spelled out in both the Second Amendment to the US constitution and Article 1, Section 15 of the Connecticut Constitution by stating in chambers that “No one in this country should have guns” and that he ‘never returns guns’. A judge’s role is to be impartial and to render verdicts, rulings and judgments based upon law and case law, certainly not personal opinion.
The amazing part of Judge Brunetti’s comments is that he is a sitting judge in Connecticut in 2013 after this issue has been so clearly mandated upon him by the Supreme Court of the United States on several occasions including both DC v Heller cases, McDonald v Chicago and others. Judge Brunetti has clearly decided to lead an anti-rights crusade under color of his judicial position and it must end.
Connecticut Carry Director Edward Peruta was on scene in the courthouse that day and he informed several news outlets including WTIC Fox 61, WTNH ABC 8 and the Hartford Courant who all, to our disappointment, responded that they did not have the personnel to cover such an important topic in such an important context. The citizens of Connecticut have a right to know about Judge Brunetti, who is the second judge that Connecticut Carry has caught and called out for openly advocating against settled civil rights in this state. How many more judges in Connecticut are abusing their authority like this when these judges are so willing to openly flaunt their bigotry?
It is time for Judge Robert C. Brunetti to step down as a Connecticut judge. There is no place in Connecticut for a judge who will so willingly contradict The Supreme Court’s ruling on such an important civil right.
Connecticut DESPP is ‘Chasing Their Tails’
Are State Freedom of Information Laws Optional?
Middletown CT, September 3, 2013:
For most of 2013, Connecticut Carry has been working hard to try and get basic information released from the Connecticut Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection, only to have those efforts illegally denied by DESPP’s ‘Legal Affairs’ unit through determined procrastination and obfuscation. Numerous requests for information regarding firearms, potential litigation activities and other related files are being withheld without statutory authority, defying the mandates set forth in CGS §1-206:
Any denial of the right to inspect or copy records provided for under section 1-210 shall be made to the person requesting such right by the public agency official who has custody or control of the public record, in writing, within four business days of such request… Failure to comply with a request to so inspect or copy such public record within the applicable number of business days shall be deemed to be a denial.
And CGS §1-210:
…all records maintained or kept on file by any public agency, whether or not such records are required by any law or by any rule or regulation, shall be public records and every person shall have the right to (1) inspect such records promptly during regular office or business hours, (2) copy such records in accordance with subsection (g) of section 1-212, or (3) receive a copy of such records in accordance with section 1-212. Any agency rule or regulation, or part thereof, that conflicts with the provisions of this subsection or diminishes or curtails in any way the rights granted by this subsection shall be void..
As a Connecticut nonprofit dedicated to protecting and advancing the right to bear arms in Connecticut, and in the process of investigating, researching and funding legal cases in Connecticut, we have a strong need to be able to check our information against these public records so that our reports and releases are factual and accurate. Many of these cases are brought because of actions by DESPP or other police departments and Connecticut Carry has uncovered a startling amount of illegal and abusive practices originating from DESPP policies.
In direct defiance of these laws, Christine Plourde, Esq. on behalf of DESPP ‘Legal Affairs’ sent a fiery letter to Connecticut Carry Director Ed Peruta seeking to assert her department’s policies over the law, despite the law voiding her policies for being against the law in the first place. We have made Ed’s detailed response available online.
While the information coming out about DESPP’s recent illegal behavior might have a negative impact on the image of DESPP, they must follow the law. We will see to it that they do follow the law, just like Connecticut Carry and Connecticut residents are expected to do.
FBI Encouraged to Investigate Connecticut State Police
Threats, intimidation and extortion alleged against the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection
New Haven, CT, August 26, 2013
Attorney Rachel M. Baird of Torrington, CT has sent a letter to Special Agent in Charge Kimberly Mertz of the New Haven FBI office to investigate allegations of criminal conduct. The Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection’s criminal conduct violates Federal laws: 18 U.S.C. §§ 241 - Conspiracy Against Rights and 18 U.S.C. §§ 242 - Deprivation of Rights Under Color of Law.
The case is one that Connecticut Carry has exposed previously. In this case, the subject was told to surrender all of his firearms under threat of arrest because he was ineligible to possess firearms. This was, in fact, a lie by the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection who should certainly know better. At no time was the subject ineligible to possess firearms according to State or Federal law. The subject had an ex parte restraining order against him, which is also called a temporary restraining order. At that point in the restraining order process, the subject of the order has not had any chance to answer or defend against the allegation. It would be completely unreasonable to think that a person would need to give up core rights upon any accusation by another person. This is would be a complete insult to the concept of due process spelled out in the 5th and 14th amendments to the United States Constitution.
As demonstrated repeatedly, the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection has a long pattern of misinterpreting the State and Federal laws whenever it suits their needs. More alarmingly, they have politicians that are somehow willing to try and alter the laws after their misuse of the current laws is exposed.
The Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection, through their legal counsel have shown a willful disregard for the laws and the facts in this case as well as others. Their credibility should suffer as a result.
Read the letter here: http://www.ctcarry.com/Document/Download/fcfc501b-10f1-4570-ae8a-b861735035e6
Connecticut Carry Statement about ‘Starbucks Appreciation Day’
The Importance of Showing Respect to Property Rights and Owner’s Wishes
Connecticut, August 10, 2013:
Connecticut Carry leadership learned about an event called ‘Starbucks Appreciation Day’ on August 8th at approximately 9:30pm through the opencarry.org Connecticut forum. Connecticut Carry and its leadership has, since November 2010, advised against rallies or events involving firearms at Starbucks locations. This was due to a request from Starbucks to not use their stores as political rally points for the issue of carrying firearms:
We recognize that there is significant and genuine passion surrounding the issue of open carry weapons laws. Advocacy groups from both sides of this issue have chosen to use Starbucks as a way to draw attention to their positions.
As the public debate continues, we are asking all interested parties to refrain from putting Starbucks or our partners into the middle of this divisive issue. As a company, we are extremely sensitive to the issue of gun violence in our society. Our Starbucks family knows all too well the dangers that exist when guns are used irresponsibly and illegally. Without minimizing this unfortunate reality, we believe that supporting local laws is the right way for us to ensure a safe environment for both partners and customers.
-- Starbucks Corporate Policy Memo dated March 16, 2010
Connecticut Carry respects the rights of a property owner like Starbucks to ask to not be used as a civil rights battleground. We also appreciate their neutral stance even when they encounter a very vocal minority that requests absurd things like policies against firearms in public businesses.
While we absolutely respect and support the right of every citizen of Connecticut to bear arms in any manner they choose, we must also conduct ourselves in a responsible and respectful manner. Connecticut Carry had no part in organizing or sponsoring this event. Likewise, we were unable to find any organization or person that would take responsibility for organizing this event.
We hope that in the future, the wishes of Starbucks will be respected in accordance to their policy. Firearms carriers who simply carry their firearms as they wish in their daily business and save rallies and events for property that is welcoming will help our cause the most. Respecting the property rights of Starbucks is the best way to show appreciation for a business that has been through a lot of turmoil for not taking a negative stance on our rights.