Quick reversal: New Canaan cops resume issuing pistol permits after 'clarification'
Updated 9:27 pm, Tuesday, January 13, 2015
New Canaan police have resumed issuing temporary state pistol permits after resolving a concern about determining if applicants have a history of mental illness, Chief Leon Krolikowski said Friday.
On Thursday, Krolikowski announced the department had suspended issuing pistol permits because New Canaan and other local departments did not have access to a database of mental health histories to allow them to flag and deny applications to mentally ill applicants who are not allowed to have firearms.
In Connecticut, permit seekers first apply for a 60-day pistol license to local authorities before proceeding to a second step of applying for a regular five-year permit with the Department of Public Safety and Public Protection. State residents cannot be deemed eligible for firearms possession if they have been confined for psychiatric treatment in a mental health hospital in the previous five years by a probate court.
"The New Canaan Police Department is suspending the issuance of Temporary State Pistol Permits due to a flaw in the application process, which compromises public safety," Krolikowski wrote Thursday. --¦ Specifically, how the process relates to mental health screening."
In an email sent Friday, announcing the resumption of processing applications, Krolikowski said the Connecticut Department of Public Safety had clarified the process to be used to confirm an applicant's history of mental illness and agreed to make requested checks of names against the database that contains the names of those admitted voluntarily into psychiatric hospitals for treatment within the past six months, allaying his concerns.
"They walked us through the process this morning...," Krolikowski said of the change. "It will give the local permitting authority a little more information to make the right decision."
Guns rights supporters were pleased by the announcement according to Robert Crook, executive director for the Connecticut Coalition of Sportsmen, a Second Amendment rights lobbying group. He says that if Krolikowski had continued to hold off on permits out of personal discomfort with the process, it would have been unlawful.
"I'm glad it did get resolved without a problem," Crook said. "There are enough court cases involving firearms in the state and we don't need one more."
New Canaan has issued 324 pistol permits in the past four years, according to the department, with 132 of those permits being requested in 2013, the year following the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre that killed 26 students and teachers in Newtown. The spike in permits being issued overlapped the debate over gun control that led to the state's more restrictive laws over all aspects of gun ownership.
By comparison, New Canaan issued in 54 permits in 2014, 51 in 2011, and 87 in 2012.