H7390 - CCW licensing reform. This is a GOOD bill

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Hi All...

For anyone who does not know, H7390 (in the House) and it's companion bill in the Senate (don't have that number off hand) seeks to reform concealed carry permit issuance in RI. Despite what you may have been told, this is a good bill. In fact, it's a very good bill. I would know. I wrote half of it. Sadly, there is organized opposition to this bill from gun-rights activists.

Broadly speaking, there are two major portions to the bill. One that modifies RIGL 11-47-11, which is the statute controlling a police chief issued carry permit and the other half which modifies 11-47-18, which is the statute that controls Attorney General issued carry permits. My involvement was with the police chief half, as well as the addition of a definition to control who is suitable and a change to the fee.

I wrote this bill with the assistance of Jared (who posts here), three attorneys, The RIFOL group, the CRAL group, the RI Rifle and Revolver (AKA Gail and Steve Hogan) group, The RI Second Amendment Coalition (AKA the Frank and Mike group), a number of gun-rights activists in Exeter (who have some unique concerns), two former members of the Assembly and others. I personally met with each of these groups at least once and often several times. The bill underwent six revisions before every group involved found it acceptable.

Here, off the top of my head, is a summary of what this bill changes with respect to chief/town issued permits:

- Mandates a standard application to be used by all town licensing authorities and prohibits them from asking for more.
- Defines with considerable specificity who is a suitable person.
- Provides that an applicant may have any "lawful reason" for carrying ...
- Allows 45 days for the licensing authority to approve or deny the application.
- Allows only 5 days for an application to be deemed incomplete and mandates that it be returned with an explanation.
- If the 45 day period expires, the application may be considered denied for the sole purpose of facilitating an appeal.
- Requires that specific rationale be provided to any denied applicant.
- Provides that a denied applicant may appeal the denial in Superior Court and, if successful, recover fees and costs from the licensing authority.
- Prohibits a licensing authority from charging an extra fee beyond the $40 fee, except that they may charge the actual cost of fingerprint checking.
- Requires applications to be distributed in several ways, including the licensing authority's web site.
- Defines for how long an expired application may be renewed.
- Prohibits a fingerprint requirement upon renewal of a permit.
- Requires town issued permits to be entered into RI Criminal History (RICH) database (more on this below).

The provision I have heard objection to is that the bill would require that town issued permits be entered into the RI Criminal History (RICH) system which officers have access to. The specific objection is that this system could be hacked. This provision is actually a benefit for permit holders. Currently, RI law provides that officers may detain any person carrying a concealed handgun until the validity of their permit can be ascertained. Case law from other jurisdictions has validated similar provisions. If your permit is not in RICH, it may be difficult to validate, and you don't want that. Many police chiefs have cited the fact that permits are not in this system as an excuse for not issuing. And in fact, no law currently prohibits town issued permits from being entered into this system, so it can happen regardless.

There was also some confusion about the definition of who is suitable, however I was able to explain that and remove that concern.

Despite that single remaining objection, in general, there is broad support for this portion of the bill. It's the AG half of the bill that is causing some trouble, from our side. I had very little involvement in the AG half. Originally, it was a separate bill and the two bills were combined.

As an aside, if we're going to have CCW reform bills, I believe that they are best presented as a single bill. This prevents the GA and/or the Governor from adopting one and not the other.

Although I'm not an expert on this part of the bill - and I do plan to review it again, more carefully - I can say that the AG portion has at least one provision I oppose, several I see as so-so and several which benefit AG issued permit holders.

A few of the benefits I see are:

- A provision for an emergency renewal
- Extending the waiting period exemption to AG permit holders (in addition to town issued permit holders)
- Guaranteed renewal

The provision I don't like is a requirement that the AG require an applicant's social security number. This violates federal law and is in any case unnecessary.

So, why do I say it's a good bill? Because if you balance the good with the not-so-good, the good wins overwhelmingly. Even if someone absolutely hates the AG related changes, they can simply get a town issued permit instead. Any person may have both at the same time. Bottom line, this bill fixes every trick we have seen police chiefs use to deny permits. If this passes and becomes law, every resident will get their permit unless they are someone who should not be carrying.

If you have heard at your club or wherever that this is a "bad bill" please read it yourself and decide.

This bill has some major support in the Senate and House. It's sponsored, among others, by the Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee and members of House leadership. If you have any questions, I'll be happy to address them. If you believe, as I do, that this is our best opportunity in the past 15 years to fix CCW issuance in RI, then please, get behind this bill. Tell your friends, your fellow club members, and most important, your Rep and Senator that you support this bill, that it is important to you and it is an issue upon which you vote.


If you got this far, thanks for reading my long post!
 
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I'll second what Jim wrote. Jim and I spent hours writing the language for 11-47-11. This was the absolute BEST we could get the general assembly to go along with.

Jim and I are not responsible for the language in 11-47-18 and some of the stuff in there is illegal under federal law, such as requiring a social security number; however, it's irrelevant.

The reality is that no one needs an attorney general permit. If people have reasonable and fair access to a town permit, then this issue is settled in Rhode Island.

The ONLY reason one can make for wanting an AG permit over a town permit is for the ability to openly carry a pistol.... that's it. There is no other statutory benefit to having an AG permit over a town permit. In fact, the reverse is true.

Bottom line is, Jim and I put a lot of hard work into the language for 11-47-11 and we know what we are doing. There is no rational reason for anyone to oppose this bill. The whole point is to provide for better access and government accountability with the 11-47-11 licensing process.

Remember, the AG permit is irrelevant. You have no right whatsoever to an AG permit, and the state supreme court slammed the door shut on that, locked the door, and destroyed the key.
 

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"...and some of the stuff in there is illegal under federal law, such as requiring a social security number; however, it's irrelevant."
If this is better, then go for it. Not being facetious, but if it's illegal under federal then it's pretty illegal, no?
 
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I completely agree Jim, this is a good bill!

Anyone who is gotten the runaround in regards to getting their town permit really needs to read this Bill and ask them selves, "is this better than what I had to go through to get my permit?"

The answer is simply, yes!


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Anyone besides the co-authors of this bill think it's God's Gift to Carrying in RI? I know there's several people that routinely post in the RI forum that should be able to provide an unbiased view of it.

Also, is this just for Resident permits or do the Non-Residents get some love here too?
 
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Anyone besides the co-authors of this bill think it's God's Gift to Carrying in RI? I know there's several people that routinely post in the RI forum that should be able to provide an unbiased view of it.

Also, is this just for Resident permits or do the Non-Residents get some love here too?

I'm a bit confused, you condescendingly say that we think this bill is "God's gift to carrying in RI" but then you ask if this bill applies to non-residents?

Wouldn't be fair to read the bill before saying that we are biased?

To answer your question about non-residents. Nothing in this bill would change non-resident access to a town permit.

For the purposes of full disclosure. Jim has town permit, I have an AG permit and LEOSA coverage on top of that. We wrote this because we trying to do what we can with what little resources we have to reverse the damage that Sheldon Whitehouse did back in 1999 when he was AG. We aren't paid NRA lobbyists. We both have full time jobs outside of 2A activism.

- - - Updated - - -

If this is better, then go for it. Not being facetious, but if it's illegal under federal then it's pretty illegal, no?
The social security mandate is illegal. Many states violate this.

The important thing is that people can fairly obtain a town permit under this bill.

Truth be told, the AG can currently deny you for not disclosing your SSN, all they have to do is deny you for another reason, they already have unlimited discretion to not issue a permit as per the Mosby ruling.

We didn't want to tinker with the AG language; however, there were other forces at work who insisted on it.
 
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Link to the actual wording?
Long time no talk. I hope all is well.

Here is a link to the bill

http://webserver.rilin.state.ri.us/BillText/BillText16/SenateText16/S2647.pdf

- - - Updated - - -

I completely agree Jim, this is a good bill!

Anyone who is gotten the runaround in regards to getting their town permit really needs to read this Bill and ask them selves, "is this better than what I had to go through to get my permit?"

The answer is simply, yes!


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Unfortunately, some people would rather complain on the internet how their chief is denying their rights rather than see a bill go through that will vastly improve the town permit process.

Not many gun owners in RI have the money to file an appeal to the state supreme court over a gun permit denial. Currently, that is the only source of appeal.
 
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Long time no talk. I hope all is well.

Here is a link to the bill

http://webserver.rilin.state.ri.us/BillText/BillText16/SenateText16/S2647.pdf

- - - Updated - - -



Unfortunately, some people would rather complain on the internet how their chief is denying their rights rather than see a bill go through that will vastly improve the town permit process.

Not many gun owners in RI have the money to file an appeal to the state supreme court over a gun permit denial. Currently, that is the only source of appeal.
Thanks for the link, all is well but still no permit!
 
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jared, jarcher,

I and many of us can't thank you enough for this bill. I hope it passes and anyone who lives in ri especially in these towns were abuse is rampant will appreciate this bill
 
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The first part of the bill is very good, and although the changes to the AG part is just OK, this is overall a very good bill and I know a lot of thoughts went into it.
I heard one guy was not happy with the removal of 'proper reason' in favor of 'lawful reason' since he got his permit because he was a pistol instructor and traveled with a lot of guns. He was under the impression he would not get a permit if this bill pass. I told him this would still be a 'lawful reason' so he needed not to worry. If there are any other mis-conceptions about this bill, especially 11-47-11, please post on this thread so hopefully it can be cleared up. As Jim said, there are some of our own that are opposing this bill and we don't want that to stop this bill.
 
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The first part of the bill is very good, and although the changes to the AG part is just OK, this is overall a good very good bill and I know a lot of thoughts went into it.
I heard one guy was not happy with the removal of 'proper reason' in favor of 'lawful reason' since he got his permit because he was a pistol instructor and traveled with a lot of guns. He was under the impression he would not get a permit if this bill pass. I told him this would still be a 'lawful reason' so he needed not to worry. If there are any other mis-conceptions about this bill, especially 11-47-11, please post on this thread so hopefully it can be cleared up. As Jim said, there are some of our own that are opposing this bill and we don't want that to stop this bill.
Thank you. You're statement on lawful reason is correct. It's a lower threshold than "proper reason". There is no ambiguity on what is lawful. Something is either lawful or it's not.

I would like the opportunity to address any concerns. That said, the one thing I don't want to hear are personality conflicts with one gun group not liking the other. I don't concern myself with any of that.

Believe it or not, that is the motivation behind some who want to kill the bill. I strongly caution against that behavior, it's not like the general assembly is tripping over themselves to pass constitutional carry.
 
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I agree with their position on most of the bills, but I was referring to H7390 since this is what this thread is about. Everyone else in the firearm's community are supporting H7390, but only RIRRA is opposing it. There are two parts to the bill. The first parts is making some GREAT changes to the town CCW process (11-47-11) as can be read in this thread. The second part makes some changes to the AG process and that is what they are opposed to. I think it is a mis-representation to only mention the negative parts of a statute (11-47-18) that does not matter nearly as much as the good parts of 11-47-11 since overall it is a good bill. There are some parts of the bill that could be cleaned up, but the bottom line is that the AG is and has always been May Issue and you won't get a due process anyway. Most of the things RIRRA are upset about in the bill is already being done by the AG anyway (ie reference letters, ask for SS#, proof of a business, etc.). This is a bill gun owners should be supporting.
 
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I agree with their position on most of the bills, but I was referring to H7390 since this is what this thread is about. Everyone else in the firearm's community are supporting H7390, but only RIRRA is opposing it. There are two parts to the bill. The first parts is making some GREAT changes to the town CCW process (11-47-11) as can be read in this thread. The second part makes some changes to the AG process and that is what they are opposed to. I think it is a mis-representation to only mention the negative parts of a statute (11-47-18) that does not matter nearly as much as the good parts of 11-47-11 since overall it is a good bill. There are some parts of the bill that could be cleaned up, but the bottom line is that the AG is and has always been May Issue and you won't get a due process anyway. Most of the things RIRRA are upset about in the bill is already being done by the AG anyway (ie reference letters, ask for SS#, proof of a business, etc.). This is a bill gun owners should be supporting.

Right on the money
 
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