Only two percent of New London’s residents have a pistol permit according to a recent study, one of the lowest ratios in the state of Connecticut.
The New Haven Register recently measured the number of pistol permits issued in each of Connecticut’s municipalities against its population at the time of the 2010 census. The report says that about 170,000 pistol permits have been issued in Connecticut and that smaller towns generally have a greater percentage of residents with permits.
In New London, there were 553 people with pistol permits out of a population of 27,620. Only three communities in the state had smaller ratios: Mansfield (510 permits in a population of 26,543, or 1.9 percent), New Haven (2,061 permits in a population of 129,779, or 1.6 percent) and Hartford (1,912 permits in a population of 124,775, or 1.5).
Several communities issued fewer permits than New London, but they represent a larger percentage of the community’s population. The towns with the highest ratios were Canaan (167 permits in a population of 1,234, or 13.5 percent), Union (103 permits in a population of 854, or 12.1 percent) and Hartland and Harwinton (242 permits in a population of 2,114 and 646 permits in a population of 5,642, respectively, or 11.4 percent).
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Bridgeport, Connecticut’s largest city, also had the highest number of pistol permits in the state at 4,031. However, the city also had one of the lowest ratios, as the number represents 2.8 percent of the population of 144,229.
The report also notes an uptick in applications for pistol permits after violent incidents such as the 2007 Cheshire home invasion or December’s shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown. The number of New London residents applying for a pistol permit has gone up in the current fiscal year, with nearly as many permits issued halfway through the year as the total in the 2012 fiscal year.
According to Deputy Chief Peter Reichard of the New London Police Department, the department received 50 applications in the 2012 fiscal year; 45 permits were issued. From the start of the 2013 fiscal year to mid-January, the department received 71 applications and issued 40 permits. Reichard said the department’s data on pistol permit applications does not include the dates of application and that he was unable to say how many of the applications were submitted after the shooting in Newtown.
According to the city website, an application for a pistol permit requires several supporting materials including:
- A pistol permit application containing personal information including criminal history, medical history, and whether a prior permit has been denied, suspended, or revoked
- A completed fingerprint card performed at the police department
- A photograph of the applicant
- Proof of U.S. residency such as a passport or birth certificate
- A firearms safety and use course certificate
- Two fees of $50 and $19.25 payable to the Connecticut state treasurer for completion of criminal history background checks
The police department says the initial background check takes at least eight weeks and is followed by a suitability interview with the commander of the Investigative Services Division and additional $70 fee to the police department. The chief of police may then issue a temporary 60-day permit which allows a resident to carry but not purchase firearms in the state of Connecticut.
The final step to receive the permit is to bring the temporary permit, state application, proof of residency, and $70 fee to an applicable Department of Public Safety office within the 60-day period. Connecticut pistol permits are good for five years.