Chief of Police Requires “Essay” to Obtain CCW

By Dave Dolbee published on in General, News

As gun owners and supporters of the Second Amendment we are used to lawmakers and public officials coming up with new ways to subvert the law and enact defacto gun control. That being said, the Chief of Police of Lowell, Massachusetts, has set the bar to a new low.

Massachusetts’ law mandates that it is an, “unrestricted right-to-carry” gun permit state. However, the police chief still has to issue the permit. In this case, the chief of the Lowell, Massachusetts Police Department has mandated that the residents of Lowell submit a written essay to the chief of police that explains just why they want that particular right. To actually receive the permit, the applicant must receive a passing grade.

Man in light blue shirt and white ball cap teaches two young ladies how to handle a gun, with a wooded area in the background

The whole “shall not be infringed argument” is self-explanatory and needs no further explanation here, but how can anyone even conceive an essay requirement as a fair judge of whether to issue an “unrestricted right-to-carry” gun permit? I have read more than one report from police officers… based on their writing skills, more than a few would not have qualified to carry a firearm. However, that is not to say they were not good coppers. There is a lot that goes in to writing a report or an essay, including time, sleep, stressors, and education to name a few, but none of those have anything to do with the restriction of a Constitutional right.

English, writing skills, grammar, they are all subjective to the interpretation of the reader. Even the SAT, the standard requirement to enter most four-year universities, requires multiple readers to grade an essay, but not in Lowell. In Lowell, the Chief merely makes up a rule and assigns a reader. In fairness, the Chief did not make the rule, he merely brought it up to the city council who approved it, but you get the idea.

Adding insult to injury, in addition to the essay requirement, the residents of Lowell are also required to pay up to $1,100 for firearms training in order to obtain their permit.

The Local Perspective

Once the story broke, The Shooter’s Log immediately went to Mike Pelonzi, President of Magnum Anti Ballistic Systems Corporation. Beyond making some of the most innovative ballistic panels (Check back in the next couple of weeks for a story on Pelonzi’s ballistic solutions), Pelonzi is also a certified firearms training instructor in Massachusetts, which him an ideal candidate for a local perspective.

Pelonzi said, to be certified as a firearms instructor, you have to submit all of your training certificates and a written lesson plan to the Colonel of the MA State Police. Once approved, you are certified to teach the course. Students seeking a CCW who successfully pass that course are and issued a MA certificate, which is supposed to be—and was until now—accepted through all police departments in the state.

Magnum Anti Ballistic Systems Corporation
Danvers MA 01923
Mike Pelonzi, President
978.815.6989
mike@magnumantiballisticsystems.com
www.Mabs777.com 

However, Lowell, MA, Police Chief William Taylor’s new plan calls for additional requirements such as the essay and fees up to $1,100. Although the details are a bit vague as the department’s website has not yet been updated, it is rumored that the increase in fees is due to the Chief’s requirement that citizens be required to take a class taught by the police department instead of private instructors. Pelonzi noted that the average firearms safety class costs between $75 and $125, plus $100 for the license application fee.

Pelonzi concluded the interview by noting, criminals do not take firearm safety classes. We already have a system that requires training and an application that goes through a full NICS background check. Lowell’s new requirements add a burden to the law-abiding citizens and potentially denies them of their Constitutional rights, but does nothing to deter crime.

Jim Wallace with the Gun Owners Action League of Massachusetts released this statement: “It is absurd that people should have to write an essay to the town to explain why they should be able to exercise their constitutional rights. We already have a very strict set of gun laws in the state, but this is way over the top. It’s like having a college professor say, ‘I’m going to read your essay and if I don’t like it, I’m going to give it back to you.’”

ATF Form 4473

“We’re no longer taking a cookie-cutter approach to issuing firearms licenses,” he said, in the Lowell Sun.

More time? More time for what? How is more time than the law dictates and burdensome, unnecessary requirements anything more than discrimination and an unlawful requirement to enact backdoor gun control by either denying citizens of their Constitutional rights or at a minimum delaying those rights?

How do you feel about Lowell, Massachusetts, new requirement to obtain an “unrestricted right-to-carry” gun permit by writing an essay and increasing the fees? Share you opinions in the comment section.

SLRule

Growing up in Pennsylvania’s game-rich Allegany region, Dave Dolbee was introduced to whitetail hunting at a young age. At age 19 he bought his first bow while serving in the U.S. Navy, and began bowhunting after returning from Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm. Dave was a sponsored Pro Staff Shooter for several top archery companies during the 1990s and an Olympic hopeful holding up to 16 archery records at one point. During Dave’s writing career, he has written for several smaller publications as well as many major content providers such as Guns & Ammo, Shooting Times, Outdoor Life, Petersen’s Hunting, Rifle Shooter, Petersen’s Bowhunting, Bowhunter, Game & Fish magazines, Handguns, F.O.P Fraternal Order of Police, Archery Business, SHOT Business, OutdoorRoadmap.com, TheGearExpert.com and others. Dave is currently a staff writer for Cheaper Than Dirt!

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Comments (224)

  • scott

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    Here is my essay “The 2nd amendment!!”

    Reply

  • bob minarik

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    A state or a subdivision of the state cannot charge for the exercise of a fundamental right.

    Here is an example that establishes a standard for the protection of rights. Back in the 60’s, there was a voting rights case down in Texas. The state of Texas was imposing a poll tax on the voters prior to letting them vote. The Texas U.S. District Court said in U.S. v. Texas, 252 F.Supp 234, 254, (1966):

    “Since, in general, only those who wish to vote pay the poll tax, the tax as administered by the State, is equivalent to a charge or a penalty imposed on the exercise of a fundamental right. If the tax were increased to a high degree, as it could be if valid, it would result in the destruction of the right to vote. See Grosjean v. American Press Co., 297 U.S. 233, 244, 54 S.Ct. 444 (1936).

    [Note that the court reiterated the fundamental premise of law expressed by Chief Justice John Marshall in the landmark decision of McCulloch v. Maryland, 4 Wheat 418 at.431 (1819), that “the power to tax is the power to destroy.”]

    The Texas district court went on to quote from the Supreme Court case of Harman v. Forssenius, 380 U.S 528 at 540, 85 S.Ct. 1177, 1185 (1965):

    “It has long been established that a State may not impose a penalty upon those who exercise a right guaranteed by the Constitution.” Frost & Frost Trucking Co. v. Railroad Comm’n of California, 271 U.S. 583. “Constitutional rights would be of little value if they could be indirectly denied,’ Smith v. Allwriqht, 321 US. 649, 644, or manipulated out of existence,’ Gomillion v. Lightfoot, 364 U.S. 339, 345.”

    That Texas federal district court held the poll tax unconstitutional and invalid and enjoined the state of Texas from requiring the payment of a poll tax as a prerequisite to voting.

    Now a rare legal procedure followed that ruling. The state of Texas appealed. Not to the court of appeals, but directly to the Supreme Court. And in an equally rare circumstance, the Supreme Court took the district court’s opinion as its own and affirmed the Judgment based on the facts and opinion stated by the district court. See Texas v. U.S., 384 U.S. 155 (1966)

    To charge for the exercise of a right if both fundamentally and fatally flawed. A good lawsuit seeking damages is both in order and proper. Time to get-r-done.

    bob minarik – Rochester Indiana – rlmpfl9065@earthlink.net

    Reply

  • Tom K

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    As a LEO for last 16 years, I must say I’m ashamed and embarrassed for myself and my fellow LEO’s when I hear of things like this! He obviously forgets he took an oath to uphold and defend the US Constitution! We are public SERVANTS! We are to serve the public, not oppress them! We are not the end all be all…we are merely in place to serve and protect… This “chief” has obviously let the power go to his head and has forgotten his oath and true purpose! Shamefull and embarrassing…

    Reply

  • Music man

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    Find an essay that passed, then have someone submitt the same exact essay written in farsi and see what happens. Bet the ACLU would be on them quick.

    Reply

  • garfield kat

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    I agree with what you have said and as I mentioned in my other post and replies, I will continue to live my life as a honest and hard working citizen so long as I am allowed to do so. I will never give up, give back or allow my firearms to taken from me. For all those who may have read this post please understand that it is not about the firearms themselves, rather the issue surrounding the firearms. If we allow these gun grabbers to have their way with this issue it will not be long until they take away our right to free speech our rights under the 3rd, the 4th, 5th and so.given an inch and they will take a mile.
    Stand straight, stand tall and stand together.
    Refuse to be a victim.

    Reply

  • garfield kat

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    Imagine what would happen to the crime rate in Lowell if the Chief and city council would put the same energy and focus on the criminal as they do trying to violate our Constitutional Rights.

    Reply

    • Nick Liberto

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      garfield…this is exactly my sentiment. Stop fooling around with silly gimmicks to selectively strip honest citizens of their birth right.
      Set up one law that complies with the U.S. constitution, impose it throughout the state, and maintain consistency by treating everyone the same way. For this moron to place himself as the sole authority to say yes or no based on an essay, is beyond stupidity.

      Reply

  • garfield kat

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    I like the way you think and what a slap in his (Chief Taylor’s) face. I am an honest citizen and am representative of every honest citizen in America. I have worked hard, helped to educate and raise my family and teach my children the value and rewards of hard work and education. I am and have been a firearms owner my entire adult life, forty-six (46) years and never broken any laws or rules pertaining to hunting or firearms. I own and plan on owning and keeping my firearms just as I have for past 46 years and will never give them up. The only way I will ever become anything less than a honest citizen is if these anti Second Amendment gun grabbers institute any laws which will make me a felon or criminal. I hope that every gun owner in America feels the same way and acts accordingly.
    No one can better protect me than me.
    Refuse to be a victim.

    Reply

  • garfield kat

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    You absolutely correct and I for one stand with you.

    Reply

  • Labman

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    This strikes me that the Sheriff of Lowell, MA, is not in compliance with state law and is actually violating state law by stepping on the rights of the citizens under his jurisdiction.

    Reply

  • GeorgeP

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    Beyond ridiculous and also also dicriminatory. Sounds like Lowell has adopted a new age Jim Crow policy.

    Reply

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