Bristol Delegation Calls Permit Hike Tax on 2nd Amendment

February 18, 2017

Hartford – Members of Bristol’s legislative delegation today voiced their objections to Governor Malloy’s proposed budget, specifically the more than 400 percent increase in pistol permit fees. The exorbitant increase, they said, is essentially a tax on the Second Amendment to the Constitution.

State Representatives Whit Betts (R-78) and Cara Pavalock (R-77), and State Senator Henri Martin (R-31) said the fee increases mean that some law-abiding gun owners in their districts may have to give up their firearms if the fee increase takes place. The fee for a first-time permit would increase from $140 to $370 and the five-year renewal fee would increase from $70 to $300. Additionally, background check fees would also increase from $50 to $75.

“If someone’s permit expires and they cannot afford the higher renewal fee, what happens to any firearms they already own?” Rep. Betts questioned. “You’re looking at virtually forcing someone to get rid of their property or become a criminal if they cannot afford the fees. That’s simply outrageous!”

Sen. Martin agreed.

“We already require people to jump through hoops at their own expense just to apply for a permit,” Sen. Martin said. “They pay for classes, fingerprinting, and background checks and then have to pay for a permit and renewal every five years. What is the purpose behind this increase if not to make it even harder for people to legally own a firearm? The revenue can’t be collected if people can’t afford the fees.”
Rep. Pavalock said a citizen’s constitutional rights should never be held hostage by their income limitations and the proposed fee increases do just that.

“The exercise of our constitutional rights should not be limited only to the wealthy and discriminatory toward moderate- or low-income earners, and those on fixed incomes,” Rep. Pavalock said. “People should not have to pay such an unreasonably high amount to exercise their 2nd amendment rights.”

Rep. Betts, Sen. Martin, and Rep. Pavalock said they don’t believe the measure will survive the committee process to be voted on by the full legislature. However, if it would, they plan to vote against it.

Rep. Betts serves the communities of Bristol, Plymouth, and Terryville.

Sen. Martin represents the communities of Bristol, Harwinton, Plainville, Plymouth, and Thomaston.
Rep. Pavalock serves Bristol.