DeBlasi v. Board of Firearms Permit Examiners
A court can find that the 45-day appeals period in Connecticut General Statutes §4-183(c) begins to run when a board issues an oral decision, even if the chairman of the board opines that a subsequent written decision was the "operative" decision. The plaintiff, who allegedly has been convicted of speeding, breach of the peace, criminal mischief and falsely reporting an incident, applied for a firearms permit. (The plaintiff denied that he was convicted of each offense, and claimed that certain charges were nolled.) The Board of Firearms Permit Examiners denied the plaintiff's request for a firearms permit. The board's chairman opined that the plaintiff was not appropriate, because he allegedly misused a motor vehicle, pretended to be a police officer and falsely reported an incident. Because the plaintiff allegedly drove a police-style Crown Victoria, engaged in a "cat and mouse" motor-vehicle chase and dressed like an officer, one member of the board characterized the plaintiff as a "police wannabe." In a Sept. 14, 2012, written decision, the board concluded that the plaintiff "lacks the essential character or temperament necessary to be entrusted with a weapon." On September 18, the plaintiff appealed to the Superior Court. Although the board's chairman opined that September 14 was the "operative" date for the board's decision, the court rejected the plaintiff's argument that the appeal was filed timely, based on the September 14 decision. The 45-day appeals clock started to run when the board issued an oral decision on July 27, 2012. Even if the appeal had been timely, substantial evidence supported the decision that the plaintiff did not qualify as a "suitable" candidate, pursuant to C.G.S. §29-28(b). The court rejected any claim that rules of evidence were violated, because a police witness testified about criminal charges. This constituted "an appropriate evidentiary procedure that does not violate rights where pleas of nolo contendere have been entered or matters have been erased after nolle," wrote the court. Connecticut's permit process did not infringe the plaintiff's 2nd Amendment rights. The board's decision was not arbitrary, illegal or an abuse of discretion. The court dismissed the plaintiff's appeal.