If you need any further evidence of the stupidity of turning a right that you can exercise at will into a privilege that requires official permission and paperwork, cast your eyes on the case of Scott Lazurek and the bureaucratic battle being waged over his gun permit. In a dispute that a Connecticut prosecutor describes as a "nothing case," Lazurek was arrested because he apparently got sick of papers-please hassles and declined to show his permit to openly carry a gun to West Haven police. Now one Connecticut government agency is suing another, and Lazurek has become a cause celebre for gun rights advocates, as well as a lightning rod for bureaucratic idiocy.
It all started on June 2, 2013, when Lazurek, a security guard, and another man walked along the West Haven boardwalk with holstered guns on their hips. Two security guards from a competing employer police officers stopped the men and demanded to see their pistol permits. Lazurek refused, and was arrested. Among his possessions the government employed security guards found his pistol permit.
When the court dismissed the case a month later, prosecutor John Barney himself downplayed Lazurek's alleged offense.
"It kind of was a nothing case. He had no record. He's a security guard. All it boiled down to was he had a valid permit to carry. There were no issues; he wasn't doing anything wrong with it. When police officers approached him and said to show it, he was just stubborn with letting them see it. So they arrested him on interfering because he was giving them a hard time."
The wheels of bureaucracy turn slowly, so it took the state Board of Firearms Permit Examiners until July of this year to hold a hearing on the matter and until August 1 to give him back his permit.
Remember, Lazurek had threatened nobody. He was arrested only for failing to produce a piece of paper which legally allowed him to do as part of his job what the people arresting him were also doing as part of their jobs—carrying a pistol openly.
So, a year-plus later, he got his permit back.
That pissed off the state Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection. That agency objects that Lazurek is not a "suitable person" to be allowed a pistol permit because "at the hearing, Lazurek testified that gven the same set of circumstances he would respond in the same fashion and would again refuse to enable officers to ascertain whether he was legally carrying his weapon." Or so they say in the lawsuit filed by the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection against the Board of Firearms Permit Examiners and Lazurek.
Hey, Lazurek didn't show due deference to competing security guards, and he insisted that carrying a gun is a right—he's definitely not a Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection kind of guy.
The Connecticut Citizens Defense League is raising money to help Lazurek, who is a member. But watching two Connecticut state agencies battle in court (with taxpayer money) would just be good sport—if their tussle didn't involve granting permission to people to exercise their rights.