One state’s plans to quadruple gun renewal fees is causing a huge uproar, GOP lawmakers vow to fight

Connecticut’s Democratic governor is seeking to alleviate the state’s budget deficit by leveling higher fees for gun ownership.

Gov. Dannel Malloy proposed increases to pistol permit fees as a way to deal with failed policies that have led to Connecticut’s $1.7 billion budget deficit, CBS News and The Associated Press reported.

The state’s Republican lawmakers and other gun rights supporters are fighting back the increases which they argue will prevent many people from exercising their Second Amendment right to bear arms.

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The governor’s plan will quadruple the five-year renewal fee for pistol permits from $70 to $300.  First-time five-year permits would jump from $140 to $370 and fees for background checks would increase from $50 to $75.

The plan, with fees among the highest in the country, is expected to raise nearly $12 million a year in additional revenue for the Constitution State.

Malloy’s proposal was called  “outrageous” by the National Rifle Association.

“The ability to protect and defend yourself should not be reserved only for the wealthy,” Chris Kopacki, Connecticut legislative liaison for the NRA, said. “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.”

Malloy defended the fees and said they were in line with those charged in nearby jurisdictions.

“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 last week. “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.”

But Rich Burgess, president of a non-profit gun rights advocacy group, Connecticut Carry, disagreed that fees were not expensive.

“That is a lot of money for the exercise of a right,” he said. “What other right is subject to these kinds of costs for individuals? And now to increase that, it is preposterous.”

GOP lawmakers vowed to fight the proposed plan.

Many Twitter users also condemned the plan and its infringement on the constitutional right to bear arms.

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