Wednesday, May 20, 2015

RI: Supreme Court Enforces Shall Issue law

Rhode Island is generally thought of as a "shall issue" concealed carry state.  That perception has been reinforced by a ruling of the Rhode Island Supreme Court from April 24, 2015.  From
 In early 2012, Norman T. Gadomski Jr. applied to Joseph H. Tavares, then the chief of the East Providence Police Department, for a permit to carry a concealed handgun as provided under Rhode Island General Law 11-41-11. This law says a municipality’s issuing authority “shall issue” a permit if specified requirements are met.
 It is well known among members of the gun-owning community that certain chiefs of police will not issue a concealed-carry permit. Some, in fact, will not even accept an application for one. This goes back to an advisory letter sent to all police chiefs by former Attorney General Sheldon Whitehouse.
 In some towns, applicants are told to apply to the attorney general, who “may issue” under a different statute. The AG typically requires verification by the chief of police in the town in which the applicant resides, thus effectively limiting that avenue.
 The Supreme Court ordered the present police chief in East Providence to review Gadomski’s application and grant or deny the permit within 90 days, and -- this is the important part -- “set forth the findings and conclusions on which the decision is based.”
 While this opinion may seem to be narrow, the court cites an earlier case (Genreau v. Canario) and makes it clear that “the necessary findings to support [the denial of a permit] must be made, and [t]hose findings must, of course, be factual rather than conclusional." In other words, a brief letter stating that an issuing authority (including the AG) finds an applicant unsuitable will no longer suffice. He or she must “show cause” as to why an application is being denied.
This decision is a further nail in the coffin of "may issue" state laws.  It is only the eight holdout states of New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Maryland, Connecticut, Delaware, California and Hawaii that cling to these antiquated  laws.  Two of those states, Connecticut and Delaware are said to be effectively "shall issue".  Two others, California and Hawaii face their may issue laws being overturned by the Peruta decision, now under review in the Ninth circuit.   Even the District of Columbia has had a federal judge rule that their law must be "shall issue".   It is hard to see how the remaining states continue to ignore the word "bear" in the second amendment, but they do, and attempt to do so with a straight face.

 ©2015 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.
Link to Gun Watch

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