Ye Connecticut Gun Guild will meet tonight to decide whose name the group will submit to Gov. Dannel P. Malloy as its appointment on the Board of Firearm Permit Examiners. And while it’s not official, it will likely re-appoint a man who is unabashedly in favor of the Second Amendment.
M. Peter Kuck of West Hartford is the longest serving member of the Board of Firearm Permit Examiners — a seven member board that was recently expanded to nine. The board hears firearm appeals after a police chief or resident state trooper has denied one of their local residents a handgun or pistol permit.
Kuck, who was first appointed by former Gov. John G. Rowland in 1998, said he plans to continue serving until he is replaced.
“The seat belongs to Ye Connecticut Gun Guild,” Kuck said Tuesday.
Malloy asked the group in a June 25 letter to submit four names to him for consideration by July 15.
“The term of office for members of the Board is coterminous with the Governor that appointed each such member,” Malloy wrote to Ed Tytor, president of Ye Connecticut Gun Guild. “Your representative to the Board, M. Peter Kuck, was last appointed by Governor M. Jodi Rell, and, as such, his term has expired.”
Tytor, president of the club which is a group of about 300 to 500 gun collectors, said that when Gov. M. Jodi Rell asked the group to submit multiple nominees to the post they laughed and told her chief of staff they would submit three names: “Peter Kuck, Peter Kuck, and Peter Kuck.”
Kuck, who has served on the board for more than 14 years, took the unusual step in 2007 of suing the board in federal court for failing to renew his pistol permit when he refused to produce a birth certificate or passport. The case was tossed last October after years of twists and turns, but he’s still considering an appeal.
Richard Burgess, president of Connecticut Carry, described Kuck as a “patriot” in a recent email alerting his members to what he believed was an attempt by Malloy to get rid of one of the board’s pro-Second Amendment members.
“Mr. Peter Kuck is a patriot with strong and principled opinions on what rights mean,” Burgess wrote. “He serves on the board as a representative of the citizens of Connecticut and has therefore taken the Board of Firearms Permit to task on several occasions for not following the law or keeping the best interests of the public in mind.”
Kuck said since he’s one of the longest serving members of the board he is the only one left with any institutional memory of how the board should operate. And while he acknowledges his decisions are often not in lockstep with the rest of the board, he and his club president believe that’s how it should be.
“To quote General Patton: If everybody’s thinking the same, somebody’s not thinking,” Tytor said Tuesday.
Tytor said he believes Kuck is doing a good job of representing the membership and the average citizen on the board. “Peter’s our man” and “I don’t see the membership changing its mind Wednesday,“ Tytor said.
At an unrelated event Tuesday, Malloy denied that the letter was meant to imply he was trying to push Kuck off the board.
“I think we’re just looking to reinvigorate that agency,” Malloy said. “Just casting a net to make sure we have good applicants.”
According to state statute, the seven board members are appointed by the governor. Five of the seven are nominated by the Commissioner of Public Safety, the Connecticut Police Chiefs Association, the Commissioner of Environmental Protection, the Connecticut State Rifle and Revolver Association Inc., and Ye Connecticut Gun Guild Inc. The other two seats are members of the public and at least one member of the Board “shall be a lawyer licensed to practice in Connecticut, who shall act as Chairman of the Board during the hearing of appeals.”
Earlier this year the legislature debated getting rid of the board, but instead decided to add two members.
Under the gun legislation passed in April, the two new board members will be a retired Superior Court judge appointed by the chief court administrator and a Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services nominee appointed by the governor. Neither position has been filled yet.
Over the last two years, 660 appeals of permit denials came before the board. Of those, 346 appeals ended with permits being issued in favor of the appellants, while 314 ended in permits being denied in favor of the issuing authorities.
The Courant recently did its own analysis of the board’s data. Read more about their findings here.