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Connecticut governor proposes massive fee hike on gun owners

Gov. Dan Malloy (D-Conn.) delivers a speech on the first day of the Democratic National Convention at the Wells Fargo Center, July 25, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

The governor of Connecticut has proposed quadrupling a five-year renewal fee for pistol permits in the state as part of his plan to combat the state’s deficits, according to the Associated Press.

The AP reported that Gov. Dannel Malloy (D-Conn.) plans to raise the renewal fee for pistol permits from $70 to $300 as part of his proposal to reduce the state’s budget deficit, which is currently estimated at approximately $1.7 billion.

For pistol owners paying their first five year fee, their costs would jump from $140 to $370 — which includes a $70 fee collected by cities and towns. Fees for the background checks needed to obtain the pistol permits would also increase from $50 to $75.

The proposed fees — which would be among the highest in the country if authorized — would raise about $12 million a year for the state.

Connecticut Republican lawmakers said the increased fees might prohibit the state’s citizens from exercising their Second Amendment rights.

“To single out those people who work hard, pay their taxes and want to exercise their constitutional rights and protect their families is unfair,” Rep. Themis Klarides of Derby, the House Republican leader, told the AP.

The National Rifle Association characterized the proposal as “outrageous.”

“The ability to protect and defend yourself should not be reserved only for the wealthy,” Chris Kopacki, Connecticut legislative liaison for the NRA, told the AP. “Some of our state’s poorest residents, many of whom live in high-crime neighborhoods, may not be able to afford a firearm for self-protection under Malloy’s proposed fee hikes.”

According to the AP, Malloy defended his proposal last week, arguing that the fees would cover the state's administrative costs for issuing the permits.

"What was true was that our fee was unreasonably less expensive and, quite frankly, given the amount of work that has to be done with respect to licensure, we weren't recovering our costs," Malloy said. "I suspect that everyone who has a pistol permit is going to get a renewal. If you're going to have a gun and you're going to seek a permit, we have a fee structure."

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