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Administrative Appeal Supreme Court Opinion

by Booth, George


SC20580 - Stratford Police Dept. v. Board of Firearms Permit Examiners (Administrative Appeal; Statutory interpretation; Whether trial court improperly interpreted and applied General Statutes § 29-28 (b) (2) (b) to require statutory equivalency test for out-of-state misdemeanor convictions; Whether trial court improperly substituted its judgment for judgment of Board of Firearms Permit Examiners; "General Statutes § 29-28 (b) prohibits the issuance of a permit to carry a pistol or revolver if the applicant has been convicted of a felony or certain enumerated offenses under the Connecticut General Statutes but contains no language prohibiting the issuance of a permit on the basis of out-of-state, nonfelony convictions. See General Statutes § 29-28 (b) (2). The applicant in the present case had been convicted in New York of a misdemeanor crime that, had it been committed in Connecticut, would have been among the enumerated offenses precluding him from obtaining a permit. In this appeal, we must decide whether § 29-28 (b) prohibits the issuance of a permit for a pistol or a revolver to an applicant under these circumstances. In light of the fact that the legislature has previously used explicit language in other Connecticut statutes to incorporate equivalent out-of-state convictions, we conclude that the absence of such language in § 29-28 (b) (2) (B) indicates that the legislature intended only for the enumerated Connecticut offenses to operate as a per se bar to obtaining a state pistol permit.

The defendant Anthony Leo, appeals from the judgment of the trial court, which reversed the decision of the named defendant, the Board of Firearms Permit Examiners, ordering the issuance of a pistol permit to the defendant. On appeal, the defendant claims that the trial court erroneously read § 29-28 (b) (2) (B) to include extraterritorial misdemeanor convictions, in contravention of the statute's clear language and enumeration of specific offenses that constitute a per se bar to obtaining a pistol permit in Connecticut. The defendant also claims that the trial court improperly substituted its own judgment for the board's judgment when it overturned the board's determination that the defendant was of suitable character to obtain a pistol permit. We agree with the defendant and, accordingly, reverse the judgment of the trial court.")