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)

  • Ken

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    You might as well run a story about San Diego County in California. The “may issue” is alive and well under the current Sheriff. Just like in the above story you have to have just cause (personal protection is not enough), write an essay to prove that, and participate on one, if not two, oral interviews. It is basically impossible to obtain a CCW in San Diego. Last year there was a law suit started against San Diego’s stance on CCW issuance, but I don’t have the facts on it’s outcome.

    Reply

  • garfield kat

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    So you say and I quote. “The Constitution and the Bill of Rights were Written in the 18th Century, using a Dictionary Written in the 17th Century”. You should consider that it was that same Eighteenth (18th) Century Constitution and that same Seventeenth (17th) Century Dictionary which gave to you and preserved for you your right to free speech. With out that 18th century Constitution and that 17th century dictionary you would not be commenting on this subject. There are no misinterpretations or reinterpretations here. Our founding fathers words meant precisely what they say both in the Bill of Rights and the Constitution. Just as the Ten Commandments were carved in stone so was The Bill of Rights and The Constitution of the United States of America.

    Reply

  • Chad

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    This is the “crime of the week”?. Then you obviously haven’t heard of Georgia’s HB 731. It proposes to “confiscate” semi-automatic weapons and high powered rifles along with “high capacity” magazines. This is the first step in a police state. Hitler did the same thing before starting WWII. Go to Change.org and sign the petition!

    Reply

  • Roman Smith

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    As a former resident of Lowell MA. And a MA. CC permit holder, I can add to the discrimination allegations against the Lowell police department. In certain towns and cities under the Massachusetts system it is common knowledge that any and all requests for a concealed carry license will be denied. The only caveat being someone with a personal relationship with someone within the police department ranks. Lowell is notorious for this “never issue” policy. In many parts of the state there is a “shall issue” policy. Some parts have a “may issue” policy and then you have Boston, Lowell, Lynnfield etc etc that are for all intents and purposes are “never issue” sections of the state. Basically, anytime you create a system that allows a single individual to set policy, you risk having a dictatorship. Massachusetts system is archaic, cumbersome and broken. Instead of lamenting the situation in a single location of the state, contact GOAL and help change what you don’t like or if you are lazy,….. just move.
    Roman Smith, U.S. Army retired

    Reply

  • stargirl

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    this mandate would be quickly overturned in court as arbitrary and capricious. residents are not told the bases upon which their essays will be judged—grammar? length? use (or avoidance) of certain words? political viewpoint? type of weapon they have?

    chief taylor needs to be booted out of office as a lesson to other aspiring totalitarians.

    Reply

  • Edward Sottile

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    It would seem to me that the Lowell, MA PD is setting the city up for a civil rights law suit. What of law abiding citizens who are illiterate or unable to put a coherent sentence together. Do the uneducated and economically disadvantaged have any less rights than the educated and affluent? This is a case of lazy city council and PD.

    Lowell does not want to do the hard work of preventing crime in their city by addressing social issues and contributing back to the less fortunate in the community in an effort to make Lowell a safe and pleasant place to live. They would rather take the easier route of targeting specific groups and stripping them of their rights.

    Ed Sottile
    Westborough, MA

    Reply

  • Nick Liberto

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    Not only should there not be such rules as Lowell, Mass. is imposing, but it should be required that each local police dept. provide FREE training classes to instruct novice shooter’s proper safety lessons….without registration…but verification of those classes to appear on any issued permit.

    Reply

  • Secundius

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    The State of Massachusetts DOES HAVE an “Open Carry” and “Concealed Carry” Gun Law. Unfortunately, it’s NOT a Uniformed Law of the State. Each City, Town, Township, etc. HAS the Right to Implement their OWN Gun Law Restrictions, Which CANNOT be Overwritten by the STATE. So, Lowell IS NOT Breaking Any Laws…

    Reply

    • Dave

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      Secundius, Lowell IS breaking the law! … Lowell is breaking the constitutional law, the 2nd Amendment, clearly!! They have no right whatsoever to deny/restrict the people like they are doing.

      Reply

    • Secundius

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      @ Dave.

      This is the SAME State which Conceived and Implemented the “Disqualification” Act of 1787, which was ALSO Adopted by the US Congress in the SAME year…

      Reply

    • Nick Liberto

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      Secundis, technically, Lowell is within the letter of the law. But, it should be obvious to any that read your article how foolish the state is by allowing each jurisdiction to present it’s own version of how the 2nd amendment should be attended. In short, while a Mass. inhabitant may be within the laws of his own city, he becomes a criminal by entering another city within the state. How can the populace even live with that kind of foolishness?

      Reply

    • G-Man

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      @ Secundius,

      Not true at all. Every Massachusetts gun law must and will be applied and enforced “uniformly” across all jurisdictional boundaries throughout every “City, Town, Township, etc.”

      Therefore, local Massachusetts governments DO NOT have “the Right to Implement their OWN Gun Law Restrictions” all willy-nilly as you would have readers believe. Nor is it anywhere near the truth, as you’ve incorrectly stated, that such local laws, “CANNOT be Overwritten by the STATE”.

      As a matter of fact – the State can and often does “OVERWRITE” whichever local laws it pleases, given that all local ordinances were only ever allowed to be created as the direct result of the State’s ultimate authority. Especially given it is the State’s authority which allows local governments to create their own laws to begin with. If the State gives it, the State can take it away.

      More accurately stated – the way it really works is that Massachusetts allows local governments to implement reasonable ordinances as long as they do not conflict with any existing State Statutes.

      What this means is that the Massachusetts State legislature has taken an approach that chooses to limit preemption for certain laws and thus provides local governments a bit more latitude to adjust their ordinances that more closely fit the needs of the local populace.

      However, in no way does this mean – “Each City, Town, Township, etc. HAS the Right to Implement their OWN Gun Law Restrictions, Which CANNOT be Overwritten by the STATE.”

      Every local ordinance ever created in Massachusetts is relentlessly subject to scrutiny and review as to whether it conflicts with a higher State Statute – as is the people’s right to do so. This ordinance proposed by Lowell and passed by the Council is no different, and will be challenged. And once determined to be in conflict, Lowell and the Council will in-fact be considered to have “BROKEN THE LAW”.

      Regardless, Federal Law trumps State and Local laws which Lowell and this Council have overwhelmingly broken. As usual, just coming behind you to clean up your tidbits of untruth.

      Reply

    • Nick Liberto

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      It would seem then, that much time is being spent clarifying someone’s interpretation of what the 2nd amendments means. So, while everyone’s laws must comply with the general oversight of the state, why not simply have a state law that applies to everyone. Allow an exceptional incident determine the need for a point of the law to be argued. As it stands, with every level of govt. allowed to impose it’s own unique rules, a constitutional lawyer is required to examine each time someone steps outside of the law in each municipality. This can only serve to obfuscate and waste much time and funding that might be spent in a better cause.

      Reply

    • Secundius

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      @ G-Man.

      If the Massachusetts Supreme Court DOESN’T “Overturn” this Law, SIR. Then your “Colander” has Holes and DOESN’T Hold Water…

      Reply

    • G-Man

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      @ Secundius,

      As usual you reply as if you are arguing an opinion. I can assure you that everything I corrected you about was done with facts, of which most people should know are not subject to argument. So again, you fail to make a point.

      Reply

  • DaveW

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    I understand the sentiment (I am from CA) but the point is that you should never even be asked to do so. By saying that you’d go along with this concept, you’re telling the anti gun crowd that they can level just about any requirement on you… and that is not the word nor intent of the Constitution.

    Reply

  • DaveW

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    This is supposed to be a place to exchange ideas, not the 4th grade English class. You better back off… I have spell check and I know how to use it! lol

    Reply

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