OUR PURPOSE FOR THE “ROAD TRIP” MULTI-SERIES ARTICLE
This is the third segment of or installment in our continuing “Road Trip” multi-series article dealing with handgun license reciprocity. The salient purpose of this series is to educate the American public on the difficulties a person encounters attempting to secure concealed handgun licenses or permits in multiple jurisdictions. By providing gun owners with a detailed look at the various handgun licensing schemes of the various States, we make poignantly clear how difficult, time-consuming, and costly the handgun licensing application process is. Yes, some States create many more hoops for the applicant to jump through than others, but in no State, where a handgun licensing application process has been established at all, can the application process truly be said to be relatively simple and straightforward. It isn’t. And, duplication of effort is the norm where an individual seeks to obtain a handgun carry license or permit in multiple jurisdictions. For purposes of this study, we follow the ordeal of an actual individual, an American businessman, who has, through the years, applied for and obtained several concealed handgun licenses from multiple jurisdictions. You see, firsthand, just how complicated and convoluted concealed State handgun licensing application processes are.
To protect the identity of this individual, whose experiences we illuminate for our readers, in detail, we have provided him with a pseudonym. We refer to him, throughout this multi-series article, as Mr. Wright. Through the experiences of Mr. Wright, we lay out for you the actual steps that Mr. Wright went through to obtain his handgun licenses – the frustrations and travails – simply to exercise the inalienable right to keep and bear arms.
In the first two segments or installments of this multi-series article we discussed the handgun licensing application process established by the Nassau County Police Department, Long Island, New York, and by the New York City Police Department. The fact that New York City does not recognize a validly issued concealed handgun license issued to a civilian from another New York jurisdiction should not be lost on anyone.
In this segment we discuss the concealed handgun application process established by the State Legislature for the State of Maine. Be advised that what we provide for you here is only a very brief summary. The task of reviewing police department application procedures in conjunction with an analysis of the pertinent Statutes, for just one jurisdiction, is a monumental task. There are often, we have found, inherent ambiguities and vagueness in the law and, to deal with those, requires a comprehensive analysis of the law. We are completing at the moment a highly detailed analysis of the handgun licensing laws of Maine and will publish our legal exegesis in the Arbalest Quarrel “White Papers.” We will provide a detailed analysis of the concealed handgun carry application procedures of other jurisdictions in the Arbalest Quarrel “White Papers” from time to time.
THE CONCEALED HANDGUN CARRY PERMIT APPLICATION PROCESS IN MAINE
At the time that Mr. Wright first manifested a desire to carry a concealed handgun in the State of Maine, in the last decade of the Twentieth Century, Mr. Wright had to apply for a “PERMIT TO CARRY A CONCEALED FIREARM,” as issued by the Maine State Police. But, on July 8, 2015, the Governor of Maine, Paul LePage, signed, into law, ME S.B. 245, titled, “An Act To Authorize the Carrying of Concealed Handguns without a Permit.” The Bill, ME S.B. 245, did not go into effect as a new law, immediately, in Maine. In accordance with State practice, the Act would go into effect 90 days after the State’s Legislature adjourns for the session. See Maine Government Glossary, “Effective Date.” In fact, 2105 Bill Text ME S.B. 245 did go into effect very recently, on October 15, 2015, virtually one month ago from the day of posting of this segment. The Act amends specific portions of Maine’s Revised Statutes. And, those amendments include detailed additions to and some deletions of select passages of Maine’s Revised Statutes.
One portion of the Act is codified in 12 M.R.S.A. § 11212. Several other portions of the Act are codified in various sections of 25 M.R.S. §§ 2001-A, 2003-A, 2004-A, and 2112. Oh, and by the way, the concealed handgun permit system is still operational in Maine. It exists alongside the present permit-less system. The Maine Legislature may have kept the concealed carry permit system in effect, in part, at least, to be able to account for and to effectuate reciprocity with other States that would not otherwise recognize the right of a citizen of the U.S. and a resident of Maine, to carry a handgun concealed in a sister State if that U.S. citizen and resident of Maine did not have physical proof of his or her right to carry a handgun concealed. Still, the existence of both a concealed handgun carry permit system coupled contemporaneously with a concealed handgun carry permit-less system does create some ambiguity and vagueness in the law, and some unfortunate confusion, for residents of Maine and for non-residents, alike. But, we cannot get into a discussion of this in a Blog summary. We will, however, deal with these problematic issues in a “White Paper” to be published in the near future.
Now, the Maine Legislature may or may not have been aware of problems attending the fact of two types of concealed carry systems operating co-extensively. Be that as it may, during the early 1990s, when Mr. Wright expressed a desire to carry a handgun, concealed, in Maine, for the purpose of self-defense, Mr. Wright didn’t have a choice. He had to secure a concealed handgun carry permit as issued by the Chief of Police for the State of Maine if he wished to carry, lawfully, a concealed handgun on his person within the State of Maine.
Mr. Wright continued to utilize his team of experts to do the necessary preliminary work of obtaining the requisite explanatory materials and application forms for Mr. Wright. The Maine State Police have set up a somewhat different set of preliminary procedures for non-residents – to establish whether the non-resident qualifies for a Maine concealed carry permit. As the Maine State Police, Department of Public Safety website sets forth on the home page: “Please check this list to see if the State Police issues concealed handgun permits in the city\town you live in. If you do not see the name of the city\town you live in on this list please contact your respective city\town office for more information on how to apply for a concealed handgun permit. If you live in a city\town that has their own police department you must go through them to obtain a concealed handgun permit.”
The Maine State Police requires that a non-resident first obtain a concealed handgun carry license or permit in the applicant’s own State of residence before the Maine State Police will consider issuance of A “NON-RESIDENT PERMIT TO CARRY CONCEALED FIREARM.” Note: this can create a serious problem for residents of States, such as New York, that have instituted very difficult standards for the issuance of any kind of concealed handgun carry license. In fact, had the NYPD License Division not issued Mr. Wright a “CARRY BUSINESS LICENSE,” the Maine State Police would not have even entertained Mr. Wright’s application for a “NON-RESIDENT PERMIT TO CARRY CONCEALED FIREARM.”
Moreover, Mr. Wright’s restricted “TARGET/HUNTING LICENSE,” issued to him by the Nassau County Police Department, would not have sufficed as an effective firearm’s license in lieu of a “CIVILIAN CARRY LICENSE,” which the NCPD simply does not issue to most civilians – other than to politicians and judges – as a matter of policy. And, by the same token, a restricted New York City “PREMISES LICENSE,” is not at all similar to an unrestricted “CARRY BUSINESS LICENSE.” As the Maine State Police see it, the denial to a person of a concealed carry license or permit in a person’s State of residence is ipso facto sufficient evidence that a person does not qualify for Maine’s “NON-RESIDENT PERMIT TO CARRY CONCEALED FIREARM” either – notwithstanding that the Maine State Police are almost certainly aware that many jurisdictions – such as New York and Connecticut – establish, for their residents, standards for issuance of concealed carry licenses or permits that are almost impossible to meet. Fortunately, for Mr. Wright, he did obtain, with the critical assistance of his team of experts, an unrestricted, “BUSINESS CARRY LICENSE,” and that provided, as a condition precedent, the necessary basis upon which the Maine State Police would begin to entertain Mr. Wright’s application for a “NON-RESIDENT PERMIT TO CARRY CONCEALED FIREARM.”
If you obtain nothing else from this multi-series article, hopefully you can begin to appreciate the complexity and difficulty inherent in the attempt to exercise one’s Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms. Difficult enough as it is, often enough, to exercise one’s fundamental right to keep and bear arms in just one jurisdiction – now multiply that complexity and difficulty as one seeks to exercise his or her Constitutional Right to keep and bear arms in multiple State jurisdictions – thus, the need for universal concealed handgun reciprocity.