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Rhode Island Supreme Court Chides Police Chief for Failure to Issue Carry Permits

Thursday, November 3, 2016 18:54
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East Providence Police Chief Christopher J. Parella is in trouble with the Supreme Court of Rhode Island. Again. He failed to issue licenses to carry handguns to three more applicants, without explaining any reason for doing so.


The law reads that a city or town’s licensing authority “shall” issue a license when it appears that the applicant has a good reason to fear an injury to his or her person or property or has “any other proper reason” to carry. A proper showing of need is not a component of the law, the court said.

In the court’s recent ruling, issued on Oct. 25, the justices threw out Parella’s denial of concealed permits to three residents and directed that new decisions be issued within 90 days that include the chief’s reasoning.

“It’s very frustrating that citizens have to hire a lawyer just to obtain compliance with the Supreme Court ruling,” said David J. Strachman, who represents the three applicants. The law is not discretionary, as the city has argued, but mandatory if an applicant shows a proper reason to carry, he said.

Strachman criticized East Providence police in court papers for their “troubling history” of “flagrantly ignoring” the high court’s mandate and refusal to comply with state law.

Before the Supreme Court ruling in April of 2015, the City Police Chief there had not issued a permit for the previous 10 years. The court did not impose any penalty on the errant Chief Panrella, who has been in the position a little more than a year, other than to send the applicants back, and order him to come up with an explanation for refusal of the permits.  He has 90 days to do so. 

It seems a strange that the Court has to repeat itself less than eight months after their first finding.  Most improperly denied applicants do not bother to hire a lawyer and go the Supreme Court. Their Second Amendment rights have been completely chilled.

The applicants have already gone through months of process.  They citizens will have to wait another 90 days, just to see if they are approved.  During this entire period, they are deprived of their Second Amendment rights.

Connecticut is a shall issue state, but the process leaves much to be desired.  At the minimum, a winning case should be reimbursed for court costs and lawyers fees.  Perhaps a deprivation of rights case could be filed; but that may require an exhaustion of civil remedies.

©2016 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.

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