In the latest set of articles in the continuing ROAD TRIP series, the Arbalest Quarrel discussed the handgun permit schema of Connecticut. The State Legislature has tasked to the Special Licensing and Firearms Unit of Connecticut’s Division of State Police the processing of applications for permits to carry pistols and revolvers. The Division of State Police is a component of The Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection (DESSP).
In analyzing Connecticut gun permit laws and procedures the Arbalest Quarrel has used the acronym ‘CCW’ (‘Concealed Carry Weapon’) as a shorthand notation for the lengthier phrase, “Permit to Carry Pistols and Revolvers,” which is the official, statutorily correct phrase.
The acronym ‘CCW’ doesn’t appear in Connecticut State Statute and it isn’t an acronym that the Special Licensing and Firearms Unit of the Connecticut Division of State Police uses to describe handgun permits.
The question is whether our use of the acronym ‘CCW’ is acceptable shorthand notation for the lengthier official phrase, “State Permit to Carry Pistols and Revolvers.”
The specific phrase, ‘permit to carry pistol or revolver’ appears in Conn. Gen. Stat. § 29-28, titled, “Permit for sale at retail of pistol or revolver. Permit to carry pistol or revolver. Confidentiality of name and address of permit holder. Permits for out-of-state residents.”
WHY HAVE WE BROUGHT THIS MATTER UP?
Upon reading our latest article on Connecticut firearms’ laws and licensing procedures, an expert on Connecticut gun laws contacted the Arbalest Quarrel, yesterday, January 18, 2017, exclaiming that we should not have used the acronym, ‘CCW,’ in reference to Connecticut handgun permits because, as this party said, in part, “Connecticut does not have a ‘ccw’. We have a Permit to Carry Pistols and Revolvers.”
The Arbalest Quarrel is sensitive about the information it provides to its readers. Our goal is to provide the reader with comprehensive, detailed, and accurate information about State and federal firearms’ laws. We therefore undertook an investigation of the points made by this individual to ascertain whether the acronym, ‘CCW,’ as a shorthand descriptor of the lengthy statutory phrase, ‘Permit to Carry Pistol or Revolver,’ is inappropriate because, ‘CCW,’ misconstrues the kind of handgun permit or license the Special Licensing and Firearms Unit of the Division of State Police issues to qualified applicants.
To be sure, every State has its own nomenclature apropos of the handgun licenses and permits it issues to qualified applicants.
The party who took exception with our use of the acronym, ‘CCW,’ also said, “There is no such thing as concealment in Connecticut as far as the law is concerned.” Now this assertion raises a bone of contention. The Arbalest Quarrel takes the position that the point is not precisely true because, while a holder of a valid Connecticut Permit to Carry Pistols and Revolvers may carry a handgun openly, the holder of a valid permit to carry may also carry a handgun concealed. How do we know this? We know this to be true because we had contacted the Division of State Police before posting our articles on Connecticut handgun licensing and we spoke directly with an Officer of the Special Licensing and Firearms Unit of the Division of State Police. The Officer of the Special Licensing and Firearms Unit told us matter-of- factly that the Connecticut handgun permit holder may carry his weapon either openly or concealed on his person as the permit holder wishes.
Ostensibly, the expert on Connecticut gun laws who contacted us, knows this, but then his assertion that “There is no such thing as concealment in Connecticut as far as the law is concerned” is not consistent with the clear import of the statement he makes. It may be that this party meant nothing more than to point out to us that Connecticut law is silent about how the holder of a valid Connecticut handgun carry permit may carry a handgun. But, then, if there is no such thing as concealment in Connecticut as far as the law is concerned because Connecticut law is silent on the subject, then there is no such thing as open carry in Connecticut either, as far as the law is concerned, as Connecticut law, to the extent that our research has shown, appears to be silent on that as well. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 29-35b, says, simply, “The holder of a permit issued pursuant to section 29-28 shall carry such permit upon one’s person while carrying such pistol or revolver.” The Statute simply doesn’t specify the manner in which the pistol or revolver is to be carried on one’s person–whether, only openly, or only concealed, or either openly or concealed, as the permit holder wishes.
Of course, assuming, as is the case, according to the licensing Officer with whom we spoke that the holder of a valid handgun permit may carry a handgun, in Connecticut, openly or concealed, as the permit holder wishes, why it is that anyone, who is not otherwise out hunting in the wild, would want to carry a handgun openly, strikes us as odd to say the least. But, the question here is whether the acronym, ‘CCW,’ is an appropriate and fair shorthand descriptor for handgun permits the Special Licensing and Firearms Unit of the Division of State Police issues to qualified applicants.
Now, some jurisdictions that issue handgun weapons’ permits or licenses do not allow one to carry a handgun openly. In that case, use of the acronym, ‘CCW,’ is arguably an appropriate descriptor for handgun permits or licenses issued by the jurisdiction whether the jurisdiction uses the acronym, ‘CCW,’ or not; and we trust no one would take issue with us for using the acronym, ‘CCW,’ in that instance in respect to those jurisdictions that do not allow the carrying of a handgun openly–that is to say–do not allow a handgun license holder to carry a weapon on his or her person, in plain sight.
But, if the expression, ‘CCW,’ connotes a permit or license to carry a handgun openly or concealed where the disjunctive, ‘or,’ is used in the inclusive, not exclusive sense—the question is whether we have been remiss in using the abbreviation, ‘CCW,’ to describe Connecticut’s Permit to Carry Pistols and Revolvers” since the holder of a valid Connecticut handgun permit can carry his handgun either concealed or openly.
A more apt acronym here might be “RTC” (‘Right to Carry’) as that acronym does not specify that the holder of a gun permit or gun license must carry a gun in any particular way. That said, if the notation, ‘CCW,’ is used connotatively to suggest a person may but is not required to carry a handgun concealed–which is what we surmise most, if not all, individuals who hold a valid handgun permit or license to carry would wish to do if they were in fact carrying a handgun in public, so as not to alarm other members of the public and to preserve one’s privacy and security–then the fact that one may carry a gun openly in public, in lieu of carrying a weapon concealed, is beside the point and essentially irrelevant.
This is not just our thought about the matter. Through our research, we found a Connecticut Court that, when discussing Connecticut’s gun permits, made use of the phrase “concealed carry permit” expressly to refer, as a shorthand phrase, to Connecticut’s Permit to Carry Pistols and Revolvers. The acronym “CCW” is functionally equivalent to the phrase, “concealed carry permit.” So, from a legal standpoint, the Arbalest Quarrel has some legal support for using the acronym, ‘CCW,’ as a shorthand descriptor for the longer, statutorily precise expression, “State Permit to Carry Pistols and Revolvers.”
See, Higbie vs. Higbie, 2016 Conn. Super. LEXIS 810*; 2016 WL 2602653 (Superior Court, Conn., Decided April 16, 2016). This is a recent dissolution of marriage case. One of the issues was, “whether there should be any restrictions on the plaintiff’s right to possess firearms while in the presence of the parties’ child.” The Court said, ‘The defendant/mother (age 31) is a hospital emergency room nurse who has experience with firearms as well. When the parties lived together in Virginia, during the early years of their marriage, she was trained in firearms and obtained a concealed carry permit. She testified that she never carried a firearm on her person but she did participate in the activity of shooting with her husband and others.” For our purposes, further discussion of and disposition of the case is unimportant. What is important here is that the Superior Court itself used the phrase, “concealed carry permit,” in lieu of the Statutory phrase, ‘State Permit to Carry Pistols and Revolvers’ in reference to the Defendant’s Connecticut handgun permit. The operative word in the Court’s opinion is ‘concealed carry.’
Similarly, in the case, Carabetta Mgmt. Co. vs. Borsari, 2014 Conn. Super. LEXIS 1597*; 2014 WL 3893163 (Superior Court, Connecticut, decided July 3, 2014), the Superior Court said that the Defendant, “Borsari has been a gun and target shooting enthusiast since the age of sixteen. He has taken firearms safety training courses, most recently five years ago, and possesses a concealed carry permit. On the date of the incident subject of Carabetta’s complaint, January 21, 2014, he legally owned three handguns, one shotgun and an air pistol, all of which he had in his possession in his apartment.”
Given these Connecticut Court opinions, we feel that the party who told us, “There is no such thing as concealment in Connecticut as far as the law is concerned,” has made a statement that is on weak legal ground on any reasonable interpretation of his comment.
If a Court in Connecticut uses the phrase, ‘concealed carry permit,’ we are not far afield in having used the acronym ‘CCW.’ For the acronym, ‘CCW,’ and the phrase, ‘concealed carry permit’ mean essentially the same thing. The operative word in both is ‘concealed.’ So, if our use of ‘CCW’ to refer to the handgun permits issued by the Special Licensing and Firearms Unit of the Division of State Police is not technically precise, it is not clearly and irreverently wrong either given use of the phrase, ‘concealed carry permit,’ by at least one Connecticut Court in its opinions. If it is wrong to use the one expression, then it is just as wrong to use the other.
Since Connecticut does allow for both open and concealed carrying of handguns—assuming one has a valid Connecticut permit to do so—the question is what shorthand phrase can one use or should one use if a shorthand phrase can justifiably be used at all to describe the State’s “Permit to Carry Pistols and Revolvers”?
Since objection has been made to our use of the acronym, ‘CCW,’ in reference to Connecticut handgun permits, and, since that nomenclature is not precisely correct even if at least one Connecticut Court uses the expression, ‘concealed carry permit,’ we will henceforth refrain from further use of the expression, ‘CCW,’ when discussing the Connecticut handgun permit scheme and we will be circumspect hereafter when using that expression when discussing the licensing of handguns in other jurisdictions as well, unless the jurisdiction uses that acronym.
We will use the expression “handgun carry permit” as a shortened phrase for the longer, statutorily correct phrase “State Permit to Carry Pistols and Revolvers.” Whatever fault exists in our use of the phrase ‘handgun carry permit,’ we trust we won’t, for the sake of expediency, offend those who seek absolute precision.
Again, we wish to emphasize that the Arbalest Quarrel strives for accuracy as well as completeness in its discussion of State and Federal firearms’ laws and procedures, and we understand our readers have come to expect that of us and have the right to demand that of us.
By using the phrase, ‘handgun carry permit,’ here we are leaving open the manner of carry—whether concealed or in plain sight—and that is in fact in keeping with the present status of Connecticut law on the subject.
We take the comments of our readers seriously. So, we have taken time to respond carefully and fully to the concern raised as to our use of the notation, ‘CCW,’ in respect to Connecticut’s State Permit to Carry Pistols and Revolvers.
If anyone has further comment to make in respect to this matter, please feel free to contact us.
Copyright © 2017 Roger J Katz (Towne Criour), Stephen L. D’Andrilli (Publius) All Rights Reserved.