Judge rejects Lamont’s fingerprinting order
Police departments in Connecticut will have to resume fingerprint collection services by June 15, a judge has ruled, marking the first time an executive order from Gov. Ned Lamont has been struck down in court.
Lamont issued an order on March 17 suspending indefinitely fingerprint collection in response to the COVID-19 global health pandemic.
The Connecticut Citizens Defense League and several of its members filed a lawsuit in response to the order, claiming the indefinite suspension of fingerprinting violates their Second Amendment rights because, in the state of Connecticut, a fingerprint must be collected by local police for a background check in order to secure a handgun permit.
Federal District Court Judge Jeffrey A. Meyer issued a preliminary injunction Monday requiring the state to resume fingerprinting activities no later than June 15.
“It’s a victory for gun owners in the state of Connecticut to be recognized that our constitutional rights don’t just go away because the governor says so,” said CCDL President Holly Sullivan. “The constitution stands the test of the time and it’s much stronger than that.”
Sullivan said she knew of at least 70 CCDL members who had tried to obtain a handgun permit since March 17 but were unable to because of the fingerprinting suspension.
In his 26 page decision, Meyer wrote that the executive order, “All in all, I can well understand why the Governor’s order and Commissioner’s actions were justified at the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic. But with the passage of time it is clear that a categorical ban on the collection of fingerprints no longer bears a substantial relation to protecting public health consistent with respecting plaintiffs’ constitutional rights.”
Lamont said during his daily news briefing Tuesday that he had planned to end the suspension on fingerprinting in the near future anyway.
“Every executive order I did was in the name of public health,” Lamont said. “At one point I thought people going in, fingerprinting was not something we wanted people to do.”
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