Earlier this month, Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy made a shocking announcement: to make up for the state’s budget deficit, he would be drastically increasing the price of concealed carry applications.
Malloy suggested increasing permits from $70 to $300, a more than 420 percent increase and raising the initial 5-year pistol permit fee from $140 to $370, a more than 250 percent increase. In addition, Malloy wants to increase the background fee from $50 to $75. The fees associated with the proposed hike would be among the highest in the nation and according to the Office of Policy and Management estimates $9 million in new revenue from these increases.
Gun enthusiasts throughout the state believe the increased fees could discourage people from becoming new gun owners.
“Existing gun owners, they’ll suck it up and do what they have to do,” said Gary Lenk, the gunsmith at Newington Gun Exchange. “It’s new customers I’m worried about.”
For prospective gun buyers, the costs related to purchasing a weapon could be daunting. In addition to the proposed $300 five year permit fee, a resident would have to pay for a background check, a pistol safety course, and a local registration. All in, those fees could exceed $500.
“For some people, that’s a very severe hit,” Lenk said. “If you get the elderly that are on fixed incomes and they find themselves in a situation where they’re nervous and they fear for their safety and they want to get something to protect themselves with, that’s a lot of money.”
Lenk isn’t the only one who is concerned about people’s ability to exercise their Second Amendment right.
“The ability to protect and defend yourself should not be reserved only for the wealthy,” Chris Kopacki, Connecticut legislative liaison for the NRA, said in an interview. “Some of our state’s poorest residents, many of whom live in high-crime neighborhoods, may not be able to afford a firearm for self-protection under Malloy’s proposed fee hikes.”
“To single out those people who work hard, pay their taxes and want to exercise their constitutional rights and protect their families is unfair,” Rep. Themis Klarides, the House Republican leader, told reporters.