Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Interview with Sen. Brochin on SB 407

I spoke with Senator Brochin about the bill he introduced with several other State Senators, SB 407. The bill would require that the State Police either grant concealed-carry permits or issue reasons for the denial with 120 days after the State Police receive the application.

The bill is intended to compel the the police to be quick and fair in their responses. It's designed to eliminate the arbitrary and capricious performance of, for example, waiting two years before issuing a denial, or issuing a denial without justification. Requiring the State Police to issue the reasons can allow people to appeal the denials, or simply to point out things that the reviewers missed.

Senator Brochin is uncertain about the bill's chances, but is optimistic. He is confident that the Governor will sign the bill, and believes having additional Republicans on his committee will make bill passage easier.

I did ask the Senator about self-defense, and he believes that there is a right of people to defend themselves at home and out, but on the specific issue of concealed carry said that there is more research that he needs to do to reach his own conclusion on this issue. There is a bill to enable concealed carry for personal self-defense, and, as he needs to learn more, he is not taking a stance on it.


My own thoughts on this bill, unconnected to the Senator, are that the bill is certainly meritorious. A time limit on how long the State Police can sit on applications is good.

More importantly, I believe that the reason requirement will enhance the litigation position of people who sue on denials of CCW permits. When the reason is required to be issued by law, it won't be possible for the government to alter their reasons during litigation, or to deny that the denial was the result of an unconstitutional purpose.

The only possible downside I can see is that the State Police would answer every request at exactly 120 days and issue a form letter saying something like, "You have been denied a permit for one of the following reasons:" list a bunch, and not specify. But "not perfect" is not a reason to put additional transparency requirements on a state agency.

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