Policies and Procedures
POLICIES AND PROCEDURES FOR APPEALS BEFORE
THE BOARD OF FIREARMS PERMIT EXAMINERS
Adopted April 13, 2017
Chapter 1. Purpose, Effective Date and Publication.
1-1. Purpose. These Policies and Procedures are designed to insure the orderly, fair, and prompt resolution of cases before the Board of Firearms Permit Examiners. These policies and procedures are adopted to advance the purposes of Conn. Gen. Stat. §29-39b and Conn. Code of Regulations §29-32b-1 through 29-32b-15, and provide due process.
1-2. Effective Date. The Policies and Procedures shall take effect immediately upon adoption by the Board.
1-3. Publication. The Policies and Procedures shall be posted on the Board’s Website and shall be made available in printed form upon request
Chapter 2. Procedure for Appeal
2-1. Commencement of Appeal. An appeal must be commenced within 90 days of the date the individual learns of the denial or revocation of the permit. An appeal is deemed to have been commenced when a written notice substantially in conformity with 29-32b(b) is received by the Board. An appeal shall be deemed to have been filed upon actual receipt of the appellant’s written notice in the Board’s office.
2-2. Form of Appeal. The appellant shall file with the Board a clear and concise statement of the facts on which he relies for relief, although no appeal shall be rejected for lack of formality.
2-3. Availability of Model Notice of Appeal. The full time staff of the Board shall provide a model appeal notice, on its website for use by the appellants.
2-4. Case Numbers; Captions. The full time staff of the Board shall assign a case number consisting of the fiscal year in which the appeal was received, a serial number, and a marking to indicate whether the case is a revocation or denial. The staff shall also assign a caption to the case designating the name of the appellant and the name and title of the Issuing Authority denominated as the respondent.
2-5. Appearances. An appellant shall be deemed to have filed a pro se appearance upon filing the notice of appeal. A party may be represented by an attorney admitted to practice in this state. Whenever any attorney shall appear in an appeal on behalf of any appellant, that attorney shall submit a letter to the Board and the Issuing Authority stating the attorney’s representation of the appellant and all further correspondence or communication from the Board and the Issuing Authority shall be carried on with such attorney and not with the appellant the attorney represents. Notice to an attorney representing a party before the Board of any hearing date or any other matter shall be deemed notice to the appellant. Issuing Authorities may file appearances pursuant to this section, but are not required to do so.
2-6. Notice to Issuing Authority of Appeal. Upon receipt of any appeal, the Board shall promptly, but not more than thirty days from the receipt of the appeal, transmit a copy of the appeal to the Issuing Authority. The Board may transmit this information by regular mail, facsimile, or electronic media.
2-7. Filing of Original Denial or Revocation Decision by Issuing Authority. No later than sixty days from the transmittal of notice of the appeal, the Issuing Authority shall provide the Board and the Appellant with a copy of the Issuing Authority’s original denial or revocation letter to the appellant, or other document containing its final decision on the appellant’s application or revocation.
2-8. Dismissal of Appeals for Failure to Pursue. The Board may dismiss appeals which are not pursued with due diligence in order to advance the interests of justice.
2-9. Judgments by Default. The Board may enter judgment against a party by default for failure to appear at a scheduled hearing, failure to comply with any statutory requirement, or any policy or procedure of the Board.
2-10. Filing of Statements for Denial or Revocation. Pursuant to Conn. Gen. Stat Sec. 29-32b(c) the Issuing Authority shall file with the Board a clear and concise statement in writing setting forth the reasons for such failure, refusal, revocation or limitation. Failure or refusal of the Issuing Authority to furnish such written statement at least ten days prior to the hearing shall be cause for the Board to grant the relief sought, forthwith and without further hearing.
Chapter 3. Contents of File; Evidence; Disclosure
3-1. Parties to Provide Sufficient Evidence. The Issuing Authority shall provide the Board with sufficient evidence upon which to make a de novo determination of the appellant’s unsuitability to carry handguns. Each party shall provide such information as may be required by the Board at such times and in the format prescribed by the Board. Pursuant to its statutory authority under Conn. Gen. Stat. Sec. 29-32b(c), which provides that the Board, while such appeal is pending, may request such additional information from the appellant and from the Issuing Authority as it deems reasonably necessary to conduct a fair and impartial hearing…” Such information shall include in all cases, but is not limited to, the questionnaires described in section 3-2 and 3-3 of the policies and procedures, any information, documents, or other tangible items in the possession of either party which reflects upon the suitability of the appellant and which the party intends to present or rely upon at the hearing, and such other material as the Board may specifically request.
3-2. Appellant Questionnaire. Within 60 days from the filing of a notice of appeal with the Board, the appellant shall complete and file with the Board a questionnaire form supplied by the Board and supply therein such information relating to the appellant’s suitability as the Board shall prescribe. The staff of the Board shall make blank questionnaire forms available, in hardcopy and by posting a copy in an appropriate format on the Board’s website. The Issuing Authority will be notified of the appeal by the Board staff.
3-3. Issuing Authority Questionnaire. Within 30 days from the filing of an appeal with the Board, the Issuing Authority shall complete and file with the Board a questionnaire form supplied by the Board and supply therein such information relating to the appellant’s suitability as the Board shall prescribe. The staff of the Board shall make such questionnaire forms available, in hardcopy and by posting a copy in an appropriate format on the Board’s website. The Issuing Authority will send the questionnaire to the appellant.
3-4. Amendments to Questionnaires. Parties may amend their responses to the Board’s questionnaire to reflect events or dispositions which occur between the time of their initial response and the date of hearing. All amendments to questionnaires shall be received by the Board and a copy provided to the opposing party no later than ten days prior to the date of hearing. The Staff may refer requests for exceptions for good cause shown to the Secretary on a case-by-case basis.
3-5. Duty of Secretary re: sufficient information. Pursuant to section 29-32h-7 of the Connecticut Code of Regulations of State Agencies, the Secretary has determined that there is sufficient information in the file to permit the conduct of a fair and impartial hearing when the following conditions exist: (1) when the appellant submits a completed questionnaire as required by chapter 3 of these policies and procedures; and (2) the Issuing Authority has submitted (a) original denial or revocation letter to the appellant, or other document containing its final decision on the appellant’s application or revocation as required by section 2-7 to 2-10 of these policies and procedures, and (b) the questionnaire required under chapter 3 of these policies and procedures.
3-6. Evidence Required in False or Incomplete Application Cases. If the reason for denial is a false or incomplete entry on the application form, a copy of the application must be provided along with documentation of falsehood or omission. Certified copies of arrest or conviction information is not required..
3-7. Evidence Required in Domestic Violence Protective Order Cases. If a protective order is in effect then issuance of a permit is prohibited. After a protective order has been vacated the Issuing Authority may want to use the specifics as a reason for his action. If so, the Issuing Authority must provide credible evidence to support the specifics.
Chapter 4. Disclosure of Information
4-1. Reciprocal Disclosure. No party should be caught by surprise and be unable to present evidence in support of his position. Further, it is the policy of the Board to foster speedy adjudication and resolution of appeals. The Board therefore adopts as part of its policies and procedures a requirement on both the appellant and the Issuing Authority to engage in mutual disclosure of information. No later than 10 days prior to the hearing date, the appellant and the issuing authority shall exchange and provide each other with a copy of any exhibits or materials that they may wish to introduce at the hearing. Any exhibits or materials not provided 10 day prior to the hearing may be excluded from being introduced at the board hearing. Objection to the proposed submission shall be communicated to the proffering party at least (5) days prior to the scheduled hearing date. Said objection shall state specifically and concisely the basis for that objection. Submissions objected to shall be held out from the packet of materials submitted to the Board by the proffering party.
Chapter 5. Scheduling of Hearings
5-1. Setting hearing date; Changes due to case load. Upon receipt of a notice of appeal, the full time staff of the Board shall schedule a hearing date. The date may be changed later due to the Board’s case load or other factors related to case management.
5-2. List of Hearing Dates; Updates. The Board shall keep a list of the current hearing dates, updated at least monthly and posted on its website.
5-3. Notice of Hearing Dates; Agenda. The Secretary with cooperation of the staff shall determine the numbers and names of cases to be assigned for a hearing at any regular or additional meeting of the Board. Such determination shall be not less than 20 days prior to such meeting. Whenever any case is assigned for a hearing, not less than 15 days prior to such hearing, the Board shall send a notice to all parties indicating the date, time, and place of such hearing. The Secretary may include any other information concerning the appeal in such notice. A notice of the agenda for such meeting shall be posted not less than 24 hours before the time of the meeting on the Board’s website. Notwithstanding the Issuing Authority’s failure to comply with the provisions of Conn. Gen. Stat. 29-32b, the staff shall not remove a hearing from the schedule on behalf of the Secretary, and such hearing will be held and such failure will be considered in accordance with provisions of Conn. Gen. Stat. 29-32b.
5-4. Dormancy Calendar. All cases for which an appeal has been filed but in which the appellant has not completed and returned, the Board’s required questionnaire, within 60 days from the date on which the appellant received notice to do so, may be docketed, on the dormancy calendar for hearing at the next meeting, following the 60th day, of the Board. In such cases the Board shall dismiss the appeal for the appellant’s failure to pursue the appeal with due diligence. The notice to the appellants to complete and submit the Board’s questionnaire shall contain notice of this provision and cases will be docketed in accordance with this procedure without further notice to the appellant.
5-5. Continuances. Pursuant to section 29-32h-11 of the Connecticut Code of Regulations of State Agencies, a request for a continuance of a scheduled hearing before the Board shall be processed by the Secretary.
All requests for continuance shall be in writing and may be faxed to the Board. Such request shall set forth the reasons including documentation for the request.
Chapter 6. Procedure at Hearing
6-1. Hearings to be conducted informally; Open to public. The hearings of the Board will be conducted in an informal but orderly manner. The Presiding Officer or the Board may modify these procedures as circumstances require for the orderly and expeditious adjudication of cases. All hearings before the Board are open to the public, to the press, and to other news media.
6-2. Hearings to be recorded. The hearings of the Board shall be recorded in some appropriate medium allowing for replaying, storage, and retrieval and all testimony and deliberations shall be on the record.
6-3. Procurement of witnesses; Subpoenas. The parties are responsible for procuring their own witnesses at hearings before the Board. While the Board is authorized to subpoena witnesses, no statutory authorization exists for parties to subpoena witnesses to Board hearings. The Board will decline to issue subpoenas for parties and will subpoena its own witnesses only in exceptional situations.
6-4. Rules of Evidence. The Board shall generally follow the rules of evidence, although hearsay evidence is admissible with due regard to its appropriate weight.
6-5. Privileges; Adverse Inferences. Any witness may invoke his right against self incrimination or any other constitutional or statutory privilege, however, the Board may, although is not required to, draw an adverse inference from such invocation.
6-6. Exhibits; Administrative Record. Any document filed with the Board at any time after the commencement of an appeal shall be come a record of the Board. All exhibits shall be submitted with one original and nine copies. Exhibits may be submitted in advance and may be exchanged between the parties. Any exhibits or documents made part of the Board’s file in advance of hearing may be examined and copied by the opposing party. Any document or exhibit filed with the Board to which no objection is made before the end of the hearing shall be deemed a part of the administrative record without further procedure and may be relied upon by the Board in making findings of fact and conclusions of law.
6-7. Recusal; When Required No member of the Board shall vote on any matter in which the Board member is a party or who has taken a position so as to have prejudged the merits of the matter before having heard the relevant evidence. In such cases, a member shall recuse himself.
6-8. Presiding Officer; Duties. The presiding officer shall give an advisement to all persons appearing before the Board prior to the commencement of hearings. The presiding officer shall swear all witnesses in the manner prescribed by law. The presiding officer shall control the proceedings so as to insure their fair and orderly conduct. The presiding officer shall rule on all questions of evidence and shall put the question upon conclusion of the hearing.
6-9. Opening Statements; Order of Presentation of Evidence. Each party may give a brief opening statement concerning the scope of its case. The Issuing Authority’s opening statement should be a brief specific reason for its action. The chairman shall decide which party will present evidence first, subject to the Board’s discretion.
6-10. Examination of Witnesses. All witnesses shall be examined under oath. Each party shall present its witnesses and evidence in an orderly manner. Upon completion of direct examination, the opposing party may cross examine a witness, followed by questions from the Board, although the Board reserves the right to question a witness at any time during the proceedings.
6-11. Closing Argument. Upon completion of each side’s case-in-chief and any rebuttal evidence, each party may give a brief closing argument.
6-12. Deliberations. The Board shall discuss each case on its merits and make such a decision voting by roll call. The Board may qualify the language of its decision in appropriate cases to acknowledge that its determinations are made on a case-by-case basis and that an individual’s suitability or unsuitability to carry handguns is not a fixed and immutable condition. The Board may recognize that an appellant’s subsequent maturation, education, training, conduct, life experience, or other factors may warrant a different conclusion in the future.