Police chief Christopher J. Parella

Police chief Christopher J. Parella

For the second time in just over a year, the Rhode Island state Supreme Court has rebuked the East Providence police chief, Christopher J. Parella, for improperly denying residences their CCW licenses.

The first time the East Providence police got admonished for this was in April 2015, and they were ordered to reverse their denials. The police chief was denying the CCW licenses claiming citizens did not demonstrate “a proper and true need” to carry. However, the state CCW laws are a “shall issue” state as courts have ruled self defense is “any other proper reason” to carry.

Before issuing the denied CCW license, the city had not issued a CCW license in the past 10 years. The recent appeal also noted that police chief Parella rejected five other applications on the same day one of the applicants applied for using “boilerplate” language.

The recent Supreme Court overruling

On October 25th, the Rhode Island state Supreme Court threw out police chief Parella’s denial of a CCW license to three residents and ordered a new decision to be issued within 90 days that includes the chief’s reasoning for that decision. In other words, the Supreme Court is acting like a school teacher and requiring their student to try again and show his work.

“It’s very frustrating that citizens have to hire a lawyer just to obtain compliance with the Supreme Court ruling,” said David J. Strachman, who represented three of the applicants who were denied. It is even more frustrating that Rhode Island police do not respect the 2nd Amendment, and how this isn’t the first time these police officers have ignored court rulings. Strachman said the the East Providence police have a “troubling history” of “flagrantly ignoring” the Supreme Court’s mandates and refusing to comply with Rhode Island law.

The 2nd Amendment does not require justification to bear arms

The three applicants are Jessica de la Cruz, a stay-at-home mother who collects rents; Fernando Brasil, an IT engineer who grew up with firearms, and Brian K. Turgeon, a 52-year old man.

Jessica de la Cruz wrote on her application, “Standing my ground to defend myself and my children would be the only option to ensure their survival.”

Fernando Brasil wrote on his application, “With the alarming rate of violent acts around the United States, it has become abundantly clear that my number one priority is to keep myself, my family, and my property safe from anyone seeking to do harm.”

Brian K. Turgeon wrote on his application about being threatened by a criminal less than a mile from his home. This old man wishes to protect himself and his wife, who suffers multiple sclerosis and uses a cane.

More than just these three have been denied

Firearms enthusiast David Eikeland has reviewed CCW applications from all over Rhode Island through Freedom of Information requests. “Unfortunately, we’re still seeing a lot of people being wrongfully denied,” he said. “It’s very typical that licensing officials are using the wrong standard.”

“You shouldn’t have to be an NRA instructor or have a license from the ATF [Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives]” to get licensed, said Eikeland.

Hopefully this recent Rhode Island Supreme Court ruling can help other law abiding citizens exercise their right to bear arms.