“When I read about it I got angry of course. I got angry because it’s just another form of gun control from the state level,” said Tom Simon, a gun owner from Torrington.
Governor Dannel Malloy’s budget proposal includes increasing the state portion of the pistol permit renewal fee from $70 to $300 and increasing the costs of new permits from $140 dollars to $370. It’s estimated to bring in $9 million to the state’s general fund annually.
Malloy is also proposing an increase in state fees from $50 to $75 for background checks. That is estimated to bring in $2.6 million annually to the general fund.
All of this is in an effort to help close a $1.5 billion state budget gap, but it has gun owners fired up all over the state.
Scott Wilson, President of the Connecticut Citizens Defense League, encouraged members to attend an Appropriations Committee meeting Tuesday at the Legislative Office Building and speak against the proposals.
“I think if the governor introduced a proposal that included increasing driver's license fees over 400% then I think he would have a problem, a very big problem, up here at the capitol,” said Wilson.
“But since we’re gun owners and since Governor Malloy has really truly never been a supporter of the 2nd Amendment or a supporter of gun owners, then it was an easy decision for the governor to make,” he continued.
Wilson added the state might lose revenue from ammunition and gun sales if Connecticut residents can’t afford permit fees.
The committee also heard from Joan Liska, a senior citizen from Middletown, who said she purchased a gun for protection at 65 years old.
“Anywhere you go now, they’re shooting people. So I felt that I needed that permit. So if it goes up too much on a limited income, I’m going to have a very hard time deciding.
Do I have to become a recluse and stay at home because I can't afford the permit? As a legal permit carrier, I can't take my gun out of the home if I don't have that permit. So if
I can't afford it, you're going to limit me in my ability to go out safely in the community,” said Liska.
Wilson said he’s been contacted by numerous members of his organization who might not be able to afford to be legal gun owners in Connecticut if these permit increases go into effect.