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)

  • Nick Liberto

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    ES…I would offer that we do not live in a democracy but rather, in a representative republic. Many of our citizens confuse that fact since we use a democratic process by which to choose our elected reps.
    By allowing a simple vote by all people, we are in fact, violating the rights bestowed upon us via the constitution. The second amendment is pretty clear. It does not mitigate that birth right by adding to the words…such a right will be determined by certain cities or townships. So, it the concept that our federal rights outweigh any such law as a city, state or county council might, it should be offered that any city, state or county laws pertaining to gun rights, must comply with the original intent, or be considered unconstitutional.

    Reply

  • H. Stryker

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    So……do you have to write an essay to be allowed to vote in Lowell ? Have they brought the poll tax back ?

    Reply

  • Edgy

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    You are 100 % correct, he should be challenged in court !

    Reply

  • Pragmatic

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    Bruce Almighty – You mention “Uncertified” people coming into your ER… Did you mean gunshot victims without a permit? Or ‘certifiable nut cases’ that were not so ‘certified’? Sounds like a judgment call on your part. But yes, back in the ’70s MA made it very difficult for a mentally ill person to become ‘certified’, and in fact released most of them at the same time.

    I had a Pistol Permit in MA for many years (back in the ’70s. The Chief of police would not issue it for ‘Protection’, only ‘Hunting and Target’. But the reality of the law was, it did not matter. I had a permit to possess a firearm, and “open carry” was illegal. Hmmmm… Even in Springfield, where I was once questioned about it (and who’s Chief had refused to issue a permit to me) my pistol and permit were courteously returned to me after the officer called in to his Desk Sargent.

    Now, a town or city police chief is an unelected official. The County Sheriff is the ultimate law enforcement authority in any state. In addition, the Supreme Court of the United States has ruled, in both the Heller and MacDonald cases that cities and towns cannot unduly or arbitrarily restrict your second amendment right to keep and bear arms. They even went so far as to incorporate the second amendment into the fourteenth.

    So to the people of Lowell I say your rights are being infringed by an unelected official in violation of the Constitution of the United States, as supported by recent Supreme Court rulings. What are you prepared to do about it? Class action suit against the town sounds appropriate. Certainly you have the ability to replace the Town Council that (from what I read) not only allowed this, but promoted it. STOP BEING VICTIMS!! Stop with the “Well that’s what the Government says he can do, so there’s nothing I can do about it”. Imagine if James Madison, Thomas Jefferson, John Hancock etc. had all just said “Oh well – it is what it is”…

    Wake up, America. It is time to restore the rule of law and take our country back.

    Read the Tenth Amendment. “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the People”. The Second Amendment specifically revokes such power from the United States, and the States respectively.

    Reply

    • Michael

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      @ Pragmatic.

      NOT QUITE, The ROLE of the “Sheriff” is limited to City, Town and/or County. NOT the STATE. The State Marshall service has State Wide Jurisdiction.

      Reply

  • Hardy-Har-har-har

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    Heck, let’s just bump it up to a Masters Degree or Doctorate with at least 20 years of honorable Federal service while we’re at it. That should eliminate 99% of the populations right to bear arms.
    Being stupid didn’t stop the Police Chief from getting his job. In fact, it was probably a requirement. Ha!

    Reply

  • DaveW

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    Yep. In Napa, self defense is an automatic disqualification even if you can show cause… like a woman being stalked by a convicted sexual predator.

    That’s why the present suits against AG Harris are so important.

    Reply

  • Gerry

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    Go ahead and apply for a Utah CCW permit. Utah has reciprocity with 37+ states. Most of us in Oregon have done so.

    Gerry

    Reply

  • Bruce Almighty

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    At first I was outraged but I thought…what if that psycho neighbor who hates me could easily obtain one? I thought about the number of “uncertified” nut cases that come into my ER. If the officials don’t abuse this essay to try to keep everyone disarmed there are people out there who would surely cause problems if emboldened by carrying a piece. A shooting over a parking space. A gun in your face because you were distracted and failed to hold the door for them. Produces a pistol because the pharmacist can’t fill his prescription until his Dr authorizes it. Perhaps an essay to get you a face to face interview where they are genuinely interested in have a more well-armed public for the safety of all and to keep the mentally dangerous ones disarmed. Think about it. Think of the latest whacko you encountered. A road rage nut giving you the finger (or pointing a gun – you choose) because of something vey very minor but you were in the right (yielding, everyone letting one car in but he tries to squeeze in ahead of his turn but you try to allow only the one car that should). So long as the officials are on your side, it’s not a bad thing. When they want to disarm all…they are not fit for their position and should be fined and punished. My opinion, of course.

    Reply

    • ES

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      Crime is not punishable until one is committed. If the citizens agree with Sheriff and city council., then it’s a done deal. In all, we all are trying to make it safe for everyone. Thats with a firearm or without one. There is many ways harm can come to anyone, it should be up to each citizen in what tool they would like to have for protection.that is permitted by law. Most states have pretty good requirements in place in order to get a permit for ccw. Thank God we do have a process in place to help stop certain individuals from getting a permit. Keep in mind our civil servants are people too, who is going to protect us if one these idividuals should theyhave a crisis in their life and decide to do something stupid. Society puts a lot stress on us all, some more than others, it’s challenge for us all. Hopefully a good. sound solution will come in the future. We are a great nation with great people, I hope that our Constitutional rigths are not taken away by a few individuals, and may we all remeber one thing, let the people decide. It’s call voting, yea/nay,who’s in/who out, it’s a
      democracy.

      Reply

    • DaveW

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      Doc…. those possibilities are happening anyway.

      Reminds me of college and a police course for weapons certification. The instructor, on the first day, ask each student why they were taking the class. The majority of us were there for law enforcement training. All was going well until one student said, “I’m here to learn how I can legally shoot people.” He was promptly expelled from the course, and, although he tried to explain it was intended as humor, he was not allowed back.

      Reply

  • john

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    at the very least the sheriff should be tested weekly for drugs, also be tested academically to see how he figures he’s qualified to pronounce judgement. Having 2nd amend rights doesn’t pivot on an essay. “SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED” evidently he can’t even understand that SIMPLE phrase..

    Reply

  • Nick Liberto

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    Prisonguard1….your comment in reference to being able to aim and pull the trigger when the time comes is very, very important. People that may be under the impression that simply showing a gun and perhaps not even loading it….is certainly an invitation to be shot and killed. IF….you are going to obtain a gun and carry it….your mindset had better be proper.

    Reply

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