Gun Proposal Would Allow Permit Checks by Police

The latest push by gun control advocates in Connecticut is to allow police to check for permits from anyone who is open carrying a weapon in the state.

The proposal comes after several incidents in different towns where people called police when they saw someone open carrying a gun.

Gun rights advocates at the Connecticut Citizens Defense League said they feel they have to remind people too often that state law protects their right to openly carry a firearm.

“It’s well established now in Connecticut that carrying open firearms is legal to do on a Connecticut permit" said Scott Wilson, CCDL's President. "Therefore if an individual is walking around and they’re not threatening anybody, they have every right to carry that gun.”

Bridgeport Police Officer Ricardo Lopez had an encounter with a gun owner in a restaurant several months ago during which the individual was carrying his weapon on his waist and he refused to present his permit to an officer.

Lopez said in a city like Bridgeport that faced a violent summer of gun violence, the mere appearance of a weapon makes some people feel uneasy.

“Open carry is not a comfortable thing for the average citizen. It brings alarm to it," he said.

Wilson says it's not unreasonable to provide training to dispatchers to ask the right questions before jumping to a conclusion that if a gun is seen on someone in public, then they must have ill-intent.

"There could be questions from the desk, from the person at the desk who’s fielding these calls to ask questions whether or not the person the person is acting in a threatening behavior."

Police chiefs in Connecticut say it's not a big deal to ask someone to prove their weapon and possession is legal.

Farmington Police Chief Paul Melanson said, “it puts the police officer into a very precarious situation where you have an individual who’s armed with a handgun, which is exposed to the public who could be right outside on the sidewalk of a school or something like that and how are we then supposed to handle that?”

He says other state permits need to be presented on command to those enforcing the law and a gun permit shouldn't be treated any differently.

“If you’re hunting, you need to have a permit visible. If you’re fishing you need to have your permit visible. We don’t think it’s unreasonable when a police officer knows someone has a handgun in public like this that he asks if he presents the permit.”

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