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

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.


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,, and others. Dave is currently a staff writer for Cheaper Than Dirt!

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Comments (224)

  • B. Franklin


    Not to get too intellectual about it, but a study done at Harvard in 2007 says there is statistical proof that government attempts at gun control DON’T WORK. (The term “‘government” here would include egomaniacal police chiefs in Mass. and legislators and leaders in other well-meaning but misguided states, and a certain occupant living in a white house, and many liberal members of Congress.) Most of the world recognizes Harvard as having some relatively smart individuals on the staff and in the student body, capable of some serious investigating and conclusions to which WE SHOULD ALL PAY ATTENTION. But gun-control fanatics don’t want to know the truth. They just want to make a lot of noise that SOUNDS like it would create effective gun control, and the uninformed, don’t know and won’t take time to find out – that is, most of the general public follow along blindly thinking maybe they’re right. After all they’re saying the right words: “gun” and “control”. We are a nation containing too many uninformed, don’t care individuals, and worse, uninformed, don’t care politicians each with his or her own selfish agenda.

    Here’s a quote from the Harvard study at page 686: (Citations omitted)

    …if more guns equal more death and fewer guns equal less death, areas within nations with higher gun ownership should in general have more murders than those with less gun ownership in a similar area. But, in fact, the reverse pattern prevails in Canada, England, America, and Switzerland, [where the areas] with the highest rates of gun ownership were in fact those with the lowest rates of violence.
    A recent study of all counties in the United States has again demon-strated the lack of relationship between the prevalence of firearms and homicide. This inverse correlation is one of several that seems to
    contradict more guns equal more death. For decades the gun lobby has emphasized that, in general, the American jurisdictions where guns are most restricted have consistently had the highest violent crime rates, and those with the fewest restrictions have the lowest violent crime rates.
    For instance, robbery is highest in jurisdictions which are most restrictive of gun ownership. As to one specific control, the ban on carrying concealed weapons for protection, “violent‐crime rates were highest in states that flatly ban carrying concealed weapons], next highest in those that allowed local authorities discretion [to deny] permits, and lowest in states with nondiscretionary” concealed weapons laws under which police are legally required to license every qualified applicant. Also of interest are the extensive opinion surveys of incarcerated felons, both juvenile and adult, in which large percentages of the felons replied that they often feared potential victims might be armed and aborted violent crimes because of that fear. The felons most frightened about confronting an armed victim were those “from states with the greatest relative number of privately owned firearms.

    LIsten up Congress, and legislators in every state. A HARVARD study has ACTUAL STATISTICS (not just uninformed opinions) that say that the more guns people are allowed to possess, the lower the crime rate will be. Unrestricted permission to own weapons, and unrestricted permission to carry concealed weapons would only reduce the crime rate even more!!


  • Butane


    Back during the turmoil of the civil rights movements the courts overturned the literacy requirement for exercising the right to vote. That was deemed illegal, and about the same as Lowell, Massachusetts.


  • steve


    sorry, but we DO NOT even need to get a ccw to carry what we want, how we want, much less write an essay, it is our RIGHT to carry, open or concealed ANYWHERE within the borders of the U.S., and we DO NOT need to pay ANYONE nor do we need ANYONES permission to do so…ANY IGNORANT MORON THAT THINKS DIFFERENT, WOULD BE SADLY MISTAKEN….


    • SOHydro


      Just out of curiosity, where did you come up with that position? I’m in now way being sarcastic or trying to mess with you, I’m a proud gun owner myself. Just curious as to how you came to that determination?


  • E.S


    Is this the only place citizens can get their permit in the state?. If permits are issued elsewhere in state would not this sheriff or town be required to honor it? Usually State requirements is good enough with a certificate. By putting more restriction on the citizens you let criminals, who don’t care about laws, have the upper hand on your law abiding citizens. Please keep in mind we have more people die by knife in the United States than any other weapon of choice. Besides, which of sheriff or city council have been issued their certificate to say they have passed a test to grade a essay. Maybe, the citizens should make them write a essay describing their job position and the requirements to hold that title and why they are the right candidate for the job. Next send it out to Governor and let him decide if they should have the job, plus require $1,500 fee for the Governor taking his time out to read a essay, before issuing a certificate of approval. Exactly they are public servants, they too must be held to a higher standard and requirements if they are willing to take away the rights of their citizens. Next, vote them out.


    • G-Man


      @ E.S.,

      Unfortunately the State law requires you get permitted by the local law enforcement agency within the jurisdiction based on your address of residence. If there is no participating agency in your area, the law has a provision which then allows you to apply directly with the State for your permit.


  • Jimmy


    I think that guy needs to do a psych test to carry a weapon, I mean what a #$#@$ to infringe on an individual’s rights. Good thing I don’t live in Lowell, he’d be seeing me everyday!!


  • Brian


    This moronic chief of police is an absolute left wing, Bernie & Hillary Loving wacko that should be removed from office. Living in the great state of Texas and being raised around guns, makes me wonder why anyone in their right mind would want to live in these types of states and support these groups of morons.
    All I ask is that those of you from these areas, PLEASE STAY THERE. The current radical Islamic supporting president will head your way shortly. unfortunately for all of you, he will be bring all his administration and staff with him as leaders for the coming wave of radical Islamists that are ready to kill everyone in sight in areas (like yours), where nobody has a chance to defend themselves due to criminals like this police chief.


  • BubbaJ


    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?************
    Concealed Permits fly in the face of the 2nd Amendment! ALL gun laws ARE NOT inline with the 2nd! Permit, who needs a stinkin permit?


  • Jones


    I cannot leave my opinion because the first amendment as well as the second have been infringed and I am therefore not allowed to address the authors of this constitutional violation of law with the proper curse words.


  • Henry Miller


    The appropriate “essay,” in its entirety, should read:

    “This essay will be used as evidence in a federal lawsuit against the city of Lowell, Massachusetts, the Chief of Police thereof, and any other members of the municipal government of that city who have conspired to violate the Constitution of the United States of America.”


    • Josh


      Henry you are dead on… I wish the NRA would delegate and fund local PACs which could take on these legal mafioso’s… We need to crush them at the grassroots level…


  • Doug


    I used to live in Massachusetts a couple of years ago and moved to the South. All I have to say is WOW! You just can’t make this stuff up. When I first went into a gun store down here and told them I had recently moved from Mass., all they said was welcome to the real U.S.A. What’s ironic about the northeast is you have a ton of firearm manufactures up there.


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