Honorable Henry Neumann
Comisión de lo Jurídico, Seguridad y Veteranos
Senado De Puerto Rico
Capitolio, San Juan PR.
STATEMENT BY ALAN GOTTLIEB, CHAIRMAN OF THE CITIZENS COMMITTEE FOR THE RIGHT TO KEEP AND BEAR ARMS
September 5, 2017
GOOD MORNING. MR. CHAIRMAN AND MEMBERS OF THE SENATE. THANK YOU FOR ALLOWING ME THE OPPORTUNITY TO ADDRESS THIS COMMITTEE ABOUT P.S. 439.
MY NAME IS ALAN GOTTLIEB AND I AM THE CHAIRMAN OF THE CITIZENS COMMITTEE FOR THE RIGHT TO KEEP AND BEAR ARMS AND EXECUTIVE VICE-PRESIDENT OF THE SECOND AMENDMENT FOUNDATION AS WELL AS DIRECTOR OF THE INTERNTATIONAL ASSOCIATION FOR THE PROTECTION OF CIVILIAN ARMS RIGHTS.
TOGETHER THESE ORGANIZATIONS HAVE MORE THAN ONE MILLION MEMBERS AND SUPPORTERS. OVER ELEVEN HUNDRED OF WHICH LIVE HERE IN PUERTO RICO.
I AM HERE TODAY REPRESENTING THESE STAKEHOLDERS WHO INCLUDE GUN COLLECTORS, RECREATIONAL AND COMPETITIVE SHOOTERS, HUNTERS, AND INDIVIDUALS CONCERNED ABOUT SELF-DEFENSE.
FOR WELL OVER A DECADE I HAVE BEEN WORKING WITH RESIDENTS OF PUERTO RICO TO FIX THE PROBLEMS THAT HAVE BEEN CREATED BY LAWS AND REGULATIONS THAT ARE NOT CONSISTANT WITH SECOND AMENDMENT RIGHTS PROTECTED BY THE U. S. CONSTITUTION.
OUR GOAL IS TO ASSURE PUBLIC SAFETY WHILE PROTECTING THE CONSTITUTIONAL CIVIL RIGHTS OF LAW-ABIDING GUN OWNERS AND ALL CITIZENS.
P.S. 439 IS AN ATTEMPT TO FIX MANY OF THESE PROBLEMS. AND THAT INTENT IS GOOD. HOWEVER, THE DEVIL IS ALWAYS IN THE DETAILS.
I WOULD LIKE TO HIGHLIGHT SOME OF THOSE PROBLEMATIC DETAILS.
P.S. 439 claims that the license is good for life, but then establishes monetary penalties if the person does not renew every six (6) years, not allowing the transportation of a firearm from the premises. The bill is also not clear where the firearm is supposed to be kept if the good for life permit is not renewed.
It establishes a $1,000.00 fine for transporting a firearm without a current license, although it says that the license is good for life. A contradiction.
If a person has a current license or a license from previous law they would now have to re-apply and pay fees all over again within 180 days. That is extremely unfair and an expensive burden.
It requires multiple notarized affidavits. One when applying for the permit. 2 more thirty days after if the person wants a conceal carry permit. Also, another affidavit that does not need to be notarized to renew or bring up to date the license.
Takes away the Conceal Carry Permit from the local courts and turns it over to the Puerto Rico Police Department’s Legal Division. Then in order to apply, a person must wait 30 days after receiving the license from the Puerto Rico Police Department before requesting the Conceal Carry Permit. The applicant not only needs an affidavit and pictures retaken (how much can a person change in 30 days), but specifies that a certified licensed lawyer must submit the application for him. If the person already has the blessing of the state by the same office why does a lawyer have to re submit everything?
The only thing that the bill says that the Legal Division will do, is to pass judgement on the documents provided to request the Conceal Carry Permit. What purpose does this serve, if the Puerto Rico Police Department was the one issuing the Weapons License to begin with?
It requires a Weapons Safety Course to be submitted with the application in one article, yet in another, after fifteen days of receiving the license, the petitioner must submit proof that he/she has taken the course. This to the same office that received the application, approved it and issued the license. Does this mean that an applicant must take the course twice? Ambiguous to say the least.
People not living in Puerto Rico can apply for the license and it must be issued within 72 hours of the receipt of the application, yet there is not a maximum time frame to issue the license to local residents. It mentions in one line it must be immediately, yet the next line says it could take up to 10 days only for the Conceal Carry Permit. There is no time frame for the just the ownership permit.
The bill requires that the Secretary of State make efforts to grant reciprocity between Puerto Rico and the States and Territories, in that concerning the weapons permits from said States and Territories to be valid in Puerto Rico. So, a person from Vermont, Alaska, Arizona, and a number of other states where there is no need for a gun ownership license will be able to enjoy all the rights and privileges from their state, in Puerto Rico, but a person in Puerto Rico without a license will not be able to own or use firearms in Puerto Rico, and will be charged as a felon even if there is no other act of wrong doing for.
The bill provides a speedy procedure to certain government officers so that they not only will receive the Weapons License, but also will obtain the Conceal Carry Permit at the same time as their license, while the rest of the citizens will have to wait 30 days from the issuance to apply for the Conceal Carry Permit. Also, the government officers will not have to pay, but citizens are required to pay. This is not equal protection under the law.
It does not recognize that a person over 18 but under 21 can own long guns. The only way they can target shoot or hunt is if their parent or guardian has a license and owns a firearm.
The bill says that only persons authorized by a license can use shooting ranges, yet does not establish any type of license or permit for minors. Under current law, persons between 7 and 21 years of age can have a Minor’s License for target shooting and from 18-21 to have a Hunter’s License.
The proposed license contemplates a weapons and ammunition registry. The bill allows a dealer to sell ammunition only to state licensed individuals. How are dealers to comply with the bill as it says that they can rent firearms and sell ammunition to nonresidents who do not need state license. How do you resolve the conflict between the nonresident being allowed to buy ammunition without a license and the seller only allowed to sell to state licensed people in the ammunition registry?
It establishes some type of weapons and ammunition registry, yet no one knows how it will work and how it will not conflict with LEOSA, reciprocity or even the rental of firearms as well as the sale of ammunition to tourists, that do not need a license.
Tourism is encouraged by the bill, yet only to those that will spend less than 15 days in Puerto Rico. What purpose does it serve if the person is here as a tourist for 16 days or more? Why is it legal for a tourist to use a firearm that will not leave the gun club’s premises, but it is not for a local resident? It is discriminatory and violates equal protection under the law.
It does not protect the Second Amendment as a full right by leaving the undefined power to regulate by an agency. It also establishes a privileged category of persons who will not only receive the license in an expedited manner with the Conceal Carry Permit included, but also will waive the cost of the license.
P. S. 439 makes it a felony of up to 6 years in jail, to possess and the transportation of a firearm without a license, even if the person that has the firearm is not a prohibited person and not using it in an illegal manner. This is an extra ordinary and cruel penalty for exercising a constitutional right.
It says that authorized agents, which are not specified who they are in article 1.02, will issue the license, yet in another article 2.01 it says the police will be the one to issue the license after conducting a NICS background check. This is totally contradictory.
This measure is too ambiguous and has many errors, from repeated articles (2.04, 2.05 and more) to missing articles ( 2.03), incongruences and omissions between articles (4.01 mentions (g) and (h) that have no relation whatsoever).
MY ORGANIZATIONS HAVE BEEN REVIEWING PUERTO RICO’S GUN LAWS FOR THE PAST DECADE, AND WE HAVE KNOWLEDGE THAT JOSE R BARRERAS (REST IN PEACE) A WELL-KNOWN LOCAL SECOND AMENDMENT ACTIVIST WHO WAS RECOGNIZED INTERNATIONALLY, WORKED ON A BILL FOR SUBMISSION TO THE SENATE, WHICH HE HAD INCORPORATED MANY SUGGESTIONS FROM US, WHICH WE DO APPROVE AS A GOOD BILL TO BE USED AS AN EXAMPLE OR TO SUBMIT FOR A NEW PUERTO RICO GUN LAW.
IN A GOOD BILL THE PROCESS SHOULD BE QUICK, SIMPLE AND WITHOUT A MOUNTAIN OF BUREAUCRATIC RED TAPE OR PAGES OF COMPLICATED REGULATIONS DESIGNED TO DISCOURAGE RATHER THAN ENCOURAGE, THE EXERCISE OF A CONSTITUTIONALLY-PROTECTED, FUNDAMENTAL CIVIL RIGHT.
WE BELIEVE THAT AS WRITTEN P.S. 439 SHOULD NOT BECOME LAW. IT HAS TOO MANY PROBLEMS.