Handgun permits rose 73 percent in Connecticut last year

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Nearly 30,000 handgun permits were issued in Connecticut in 2016, an increase of 73 percent from the 17,000 issued in 2015.

Since 2014, handgun permits have at least doubled the number of permits for long guns.

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy has proposed raising state pistol permitting fees in his latest budget, which would bring in an estimated $11.6 million extra a year, according to the administration.

The pistol permit fee would increase from $70 to $300, the five-year permit would rise from $140 to $370, and a separate background check fee would be $75 instead of the current $50.

Those combined fees would be $745 compared to $260.

Surges in firearm purchases are often triggered by legislative discussion of gun control or national tragedies such as the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown in December 2012.

Gun control reform in Connecticut has increased the demand for firearms and thus increased the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection’s workload for processing the pistol permits, long-gun certificates and ammunition certificates, said Chris McClure, spokesman for the governor’s budget office. “Raising the fee will cover the costs of the Connecticut State Police associated with these workload increases,” he said

Here’s how the process works for the state police: An applicant brings in a temporary permit issued by their local municipal government or police, along with a photo ID, proof of citizenship, and payment.

The length of time it takes for someone to have his or her background processed before receiving a permit depends on the person’s name. Someone with a common name like “John Smith” will take approximately 40 minutes while someone with a less-common name may take five minutes.

So for the 30,000 hand gun permits alone in 2016, it would have taken State Police between 2,500 and 20,000 hours (or between 104 and 833 days) to process.

However, since President Donald Trump was elected, there have been noticeable declines in gun sales and training registrations, said Bill Reed, owner of Connecticut Firearms Training.

“Ever since Trump got in office, people aren’t worried about their guns,” said Reed. “Gun sales are down.”

Recent participants in his course have not even heard of Gov. Malloy’s proposal, he said, whereas the previous year, incidents in Paris and San Bernadino were fresh on their minds.

“Every time something major happens we always see a huge increase,” said Reed. “I wish we didn’t for that type of situation but it happens.”

The NRA responded to Malloy’s proposal, saying the proposed fee hikes would make it harder for some of Connecticut’s most vulnerable citizens to protect themselves.

“Some of our state’s poorest residents, many of whom live in high-crime neighborhoods, may not be able to afford a firearm for self-protection under Malloy’s proposed fee hikes,” said Chris Kornacki, the NRA’s Connecticut legislative liaison.

Though it’s true that more guns are purchased in Connecticut’s larger cities, such s New Haven, Stamford and Bristol, the more rural areas stand out when totals are adjusted for population.

In some towns, like Colebrook, Harwinton, Franklin and Hampton, there’s a handgun permit for every three residents.

Explore below to see which towns in Connecticut have received the most handgun permits since 2000.

What do you think?

  • ell coska

    I was surprised by the low percent in cities, then realized you were only tracking “registered” guns.

  • FormerMainer

    I was surprised at the ratios – the data would make the NRA quite happy – there seems to be no correlation at all between legal guns and crime. in fact, it’s just the opposite.

    • Bruce Arnold

      “there seems to be no correlation at all between legal guns and crime. in fact, it’s just the opposite.”
      Funny how that works out across the country.
      In any large group there will be knucklehead or two, but 99% of gun crime is done by a relatively tiny percentage of the population. Usually drug/gang related and usually done by criminals known to law enforcement.

  • Lou Rizzuti

    With the proposed increase in the fees it seems micromanager malloy wants to slow down the growth of permits. As far as the time it takes, I waited in line longer than in front of the window. I think the increase in permits was due to the fact that many thought Hildabeast was going to win and ban handguns.

  • Lori Hopkins-Cavanagh

    Very cool. Thanks.

  • It’s worth noting that the process required to get a long gun certificate (which includes shotguns) requires only one step less than the pistol permit (namely getting a local permit, and about $140). See http://www.ct.gov/despp/lib/despp/slfu/dps-799-c_pistol_and_eligibility_certificate_application.pdf. Though all I want to do is shoot skeet, I looked at the requirements for a pistol permit (which enables me to own a shotgun) vs. the long gun permit (which would allow me only to own a long gun) and decided with all the trouble it took to get the long gun certificate, I may as well go for the whole shootin’ match, so to speak.

    I therefore can’t help but think there was an uptick in pistol permits issued related to the passage of the long gun certificate legislation.

    • Andrew Ba Tran

      Interesting theory. Thanks for sharing.

    • Holdfast_II

      I think that’s very likely correct.

      Plus other people who have no immediate plans to acquire a handgun, but want to keep open the option to acquire one on short notice.

  • Scott Wilcox

    “Raising the fee will cover the costs of the Connecticut State Police associated with these workload increases,” -Governor Malloy
    This is patently false. I was at the public hearing for the budget committee when they grilled the Commissioner of DESPP. None of the increased revenue goes to any resources, or hiring new people. Instead, and this is according to the commissioner and the language in the budget, all the new money go right into the general fund. So at the point it is no longer a fee but a tax. This is a problem THEY created with cramming an unpopular bill (SB1160) by abusing the e-cert process and having all these extra permits.
    I was also at the public testimony session when they grilled Barnes OPM Budget secretary and he said the exact same thing. It goes into the general fund. He also said they didn’t think the increase was all that much. Umm…yeah.

  • ka1oxd

    Well this is a good indicator that shows the gun-control is really not about safety but is about make government bigger. Just think if we went to Constitutional Carry, there would not be the need for all those hours spent on managing the system and reduce the size of the workforce. How many of those arrested last year for murder with firearms in this state had permits?

  • Sm

    So…. Basically your saying that the Ct state police are only capable of processing one background check at a time?If that’s the case maybe we should look at a flawed, retarded process that will waste up to 40 min of a state officers time(while they are being paid!).Also if that’s not the case, you flat out fluffed your numbers (your numbers of hours is based on a flawed matric). Either way, how is it possible that all other states CAN perform this regulation for pennies on a CT dollar, while CT employees are apparently 100% incompetent (which I for one don’t believe our officers are, I believe this is layed squarely at Malloys incompetent feet, hence our deficit in the first place).