By Dean Weingarten
Arizona – -(Ammoland.com)- A pistol carrier in Connecticut was asked by a police officer to produce a permit. He asked the officer what the reason was for the officer asking for the permit. The officer replied with an expetive. From fox61.com:
Brown told FOX 61 what happened next: “Well, you have a gun. So then he said, ‘do you have a permit?' And I'm like why? He said ‘because I (expletive) said so.'”
But, according to the newly written law, police may only request a permit if there is reasonable suspicion of a crime.
The officer did not arrest or detain Brown.
I did some research into Connecticut law, and I did not find any recent change in the statutes about requirements to show a permit on demand. The law only says you have to carry the permit with you. If there was a change in the statute, I did not see it. There have been some recent court cases. Some lower courts have ruled that simply possessing a firearm is not reasonable suspicion of a crime, so a person may not be detained on that basis. From ctcarry.com:
The mere fact that you are carrying a firearm unconcealed does not meet the Reasonable Articulable Suspicion (RAS) necessary to detain an individual. Therefore, there is no statutory requirement for a person to provide a pistol permit when they are not otherwise suspected of a crime. Citizens exercising this right should be aware that they are likely to face harrassment, threats and even unlawful arrest by police officers if they refuse to show their permit on demand by police officers. This has occurred previously, and it was ruled that the officer lacked RAS to stop the defendant.
A state police memo from 2013 buttresses that interpretation. From ctcarry.com(pdf) DPS memo:
State Police personnel should not request individuals to produce their pistol permits unless such individual has become the subject of a law enforcement investigative inquiry for another reason.
Second Amendment supporter Dontrell Brown seemed quite aware of the legal implications. In a discussion about another incident, he was openly carrying at the police department, where he had gone to pay a ticket, last year. From the article:
“I asked him ‘am I being detained?' He said ‘no.' I said ‘OK will you have a good day.'”
For the record, Brown showed FOX 61 his pistol permit, which he says he always has with him. Brown wanted to make it clear it was not his intention to test the limits of the law. He says he is simply exercising his Second Amendment right.
Brown is in the process of filing a complaint about the incident at the police department.
Brown recorded both incidents, so there is no “he said, she said” controversy. It is clear that First and Second Amendment rights are being used in concert to protect each other, and in this case, Fourth Amendment rights as well.
A police officer does not have the authority to stop a driver to see if they have a driver's license. There has to be some other reason for the stop. The same logic applies here. While the right to travel is clearly a right protected by the Constitution, it is not mentioned there. The right to keep and bear arms is explicitly protected by both the Second Amendment, and the Constitution of the State of Connecticut.
It does not appear that Connecticut's Supreme Court has ruled on whether police have the authority to ask for a carry permit without any reasonable suspicion that a crime has been or is about to be committed.
c2014 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included. Link to Gun Watch
About Dean Weingarten;
Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer, a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1973. He taught the Arizona concealed carry course for fifteen years until the goal of constitutional carry was attained. He has degrees in meteorology and mining engineering, and recently retired from the Department of Defense after a 30 year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.