Paying For Your Second Amendment Rights –
The Firearms Poll Tax

July 1, 2009

One of the most patently absurd and discriminatory Constitutional violations of modern times is the levying of fees by local and state governments for the “granting” of a firearms permit. 

It is a modern-day Poll Tax that goes unquestioned and unchallenged by most...including many gun owners. 

In fact, the entire firearms permitting process, as it now stands, is a greater denier of Constitutional Rights than the travesty that liberals accused the Poll Tax of creating...intentionally robbing specific population segments of their rights by charging a fee to exercise those rights. 

The only difference is that, unlike voting, where there is no federal Constitutional Right to vote (we’ll get around to this in a moment), individual firearms ownership is guaranteed by the Second Amendment. 

Recently, after the successful completion of a NRA “Basic Pistol Course”, a friend of mine applied for her Local Permit (Temporary State Pistol Permit) which is the first step on the way to obtaining a State Permit to Carry Pistols and Revolvers in Connecticut. 

As I read the cover letter from the local Chief of Police that was attached to the Local Permit application, I couldn’t help thinking that (especially in light of the recent allegations of massive voter fraud perpetrated by ACORN et al) either the voter registration standards of this country need to be radically reformed or that America’s gun owners are among the most consistently and severely discriminated against segment of the citizenry in the history of the country. 

The Chief’s cover letter starts out reasonably enough, “It is our intention to issue temporary permits to carry a pistol or revolver only to persons fully qualified.”  

Legal gun owners, as a group, are good people and have little problem agreeing that the responsibility of your gun-owning Right mandates that you be qualified to exercise that Right safely and responsibly. 

But let’s turn to three “non-rights” that the liberal cabal have sanctified as “Rights”: (1) the Right to vote; (2) the Right to a free public education and (3) the Right to an abortion. 

Unlike the Right clearly expressed by the Second Amendment, nowhere in the Constitution or any of its Amendments is there a mention of a Right to either vote, receive a free public education or have an abortion. 

Yet, try telling anybody from ACORN, the NEA or Planned Parenthood that in order for any of their client groups to be granted the privilege of exercising their desire for voting, education or abortion they must first pay a fee and be granted a governmental permit conditioned on being “fully qualified”! 

Paragraph two of the Chief’s cover letter requests that you, “Fill out completely and accurately the application for the permit,” and cautions you that, “Any falsehoods, misrepresentations, or omissions may be cause for rejection of the application.” 

Imagine yanking the medical license of a late term abortion provider who misrepresents that he performed a late term abortion because, in compliance with Connecticut law (CT General Statute Sec.19a.602 (b)) the procedure was, “...necessary to preserve the life or health of the pregnant woman,” and then it turns out that the mother’s health was fine.  It never happens. 

Or, as Ron Fitzsimmons, head of the National Coalition of Abortion Providers, said, “When you're a doctor who does these abortions and the leaders of your movement appear before Congress and go on network news and say these procedures are done in only the most tragic of circumstances, how do you think it makes you feel? You know they're primarily done on healthy women and healthy fetuses, and it makes you feel like a dirty little abortionist with a dirty little secret.” 

In fact, as far as “falsehoods, misrepresentations, or omissions” are concerned... “The Justice Department has rejected Georgia's system of using Social Security numbers and driver's license data to check whether prospective voters are citizens... the Justice Department said the state's voter verification program...has a ‘discriminatory effect’ on minority voters.” 

Apparently, there is nothing wrong with “falsehoods, misrepresentations, or omissions” if all you want to do is rig an election. 

By paragraph three, the Chief wants the permit applicant to, “Contact three (3) persons (NON RELATIVES) who have known you for some time and ask them to complete the "Character Reference" letters enclosed in this package. All three letters must be notarized.” 

Additionally, the applicant must submit, “A copy of your birth certificate...along with a letter or certificate attesting to your competence with a handgun....” 

Also, “You must come in to be fingerprinted and bring a money order for $19.25 made out to DPS (Connecticut Dept. of Public Safety). Once your prints have been returned from the FBI, this office will notify you. The Chief will review your application and a determination will be made as to your suitability to carry a pistol or revolver. Upon approval, when picking up the Temporary Permit, a personal check or cash payment of $35.00 made out to XYZ PD will be due.” 

And, in a final coup de gras, the applicant is informed that: 


TUESDAYS 10:00 A.M. - 11:00 A.M. ONLY

THURSDAYS 2:00 P.M. - 3:00 P.M. ONLY

Out of an entire week, people seeking to exercise their Second Amendment Right have a window of just two hours to complete only a single step of a multi-step and onerous process to exercise that Right. 

Could you only imagine subjecting a: (1) voter registrant; (2) public school enrollee 0r (3) a woman seeking an abortion to this kind of restrictive, subjective and costly imposition on the exercise of their “rights”? 

Tragically, this is only a part of the process on the obstacle-strewn path of a citizen attempting to exercise the clearly stated Right granted them by the Second Amendment. 

Unlike the right to vote, which turns out to be a “right” that is not in the US Constitution, the Right of firearms ownership is undeniable.   

Even the liberal Salon Magazine admits that, “The Constitution of 1787 left the issue of federal voting rights entirely to the states, which could disenfranchise their voters more or less as they chose. Today, even though "the right to vote" is by now mentioned five times in the amended Constitution...The Supreme Court restated the point in 2000, in Bush v. Gore. "The individual citizen has no federal constitutional right to vote....” 

Yet, the Right to bear arms is as clear as its single sentence in the Second Amendment, “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” 

And speaking of infringement.... 

If local government largesse bestows a Local Permit upon the applicant...the journey is only half finished.  Next, the Local Permit holder must apply for a State Permit to Carry Pistols and Revolvers. 

The State Permitting process requires a trip to one of only six Connecticut Department of Public Safety locations that process firearms permits...and only one of these locations has full time business hours. 

Having made it to a DPS location that is open, applicants will need: (1) their Local Permit; (2) Proof that they are legally and/or lawfully in the United States (Birth Certificate, Voter Registration Card 0r U.S. Passport) and (3) to fill out another application and pay another $35.00. 

After having: (1) proved you are a US citizen twice; (2) spent $89.25 plus all kinds of travel expenses; (3) taken a certified training program; (4) solicited three notarized letters of recommendation; (5) your finger prints sent for review by the FBI and filling out multiple forms...if you are are granted a 5 year renewable State Permit to Carry Pistols and Revolvers. 

At the soonest, this process takes two months but you better budget 4 to 6 months. 

And, even then, every five years permit holders must trek back to a DPS firearms unit to present their proof of citizenship (yet again) and $35.00 (yet again) for a five year renewal of their permit to exercise their SECOND AMENDMENT RIGHT. 

By contrast, the Secretary of the State of Connecticut makes it clear that, “Today, voter registration can be conducted by virtually anyone, anywhere, at any time. It's that easy.” 

In fact, all you need for voter registration is, “to provide additional identification (current and valid photo identification, utility bill, bank statement, pay check, government check, or other government document that shows the name and address of the voter). 

Let’s get this straight...all you need to register to vote is a “utility bill”. 

And then you are permanently registered to questions asked; no proof of citizenship; no fees and no renewal. 

No wonder Adolph Hitler was able to kill more people through the use of the ballot box than he ever did with a gun. 

A teenager in her 28th week of a pregnancy can decide that she wants to ease her depression by slipping into a prom dress and immediately she has the “right” to an abortion. 

An illegal immigrant can decide that she wants to have six children and immediately they have a “right” to a free public education and healthcare. 

ACORN can decide that they want to swing an election and immediately thousands of nonexistent or dead people have a “right” to vote. 

But, when law-abiding citizens want to exercise their real Second Amendment Right...they must run an arbitrary and burdensome gauntlet of fees, forms, courses, delays and renewals. 

If this isn’t a major Civil Rights lawsuit waiting to happen then we don’t deserve the Second Amendment.


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