Monday, May 11, 2015

Rhode Island Supreme Court Strikes Down Unfettered Discretion in Concealed Weapon License Issuance

Gadomski, Jr. v. Joseph H. Tavares (R.I. 2015):
Nonetheless, in Mosby, 851 A.2d at 1050, we proclaimed that "[a]s a matter of policy, this Court will not countenance any system of permitting under the Firearms Act that would be committed to the unfettered discretion of an executive agency." Indeed, we noted that any rights flowing from article 1, section 22 of the Rhode Island Constitution[2] would be "illusory, of course, if [they] could be abrogated entirely on the basis of an unreviewable unrestricted licensing scheme." Mosby, 851 A.2d at 1050. To prevent such an occurrence, we opined that "certain procedural steps must be employed to allow a meaningful review" of licensing decisions by this Court. Id. at 1051. Specifically, we held that, under § 11-47-18, "[a] rejected applicant is entitled to know the evidence upon which the department based its decision and the rationale for the denial." Mosby, 851 A.2d at 1051. It follows a fortiori that a rejected applicant under § 11-47-11 is also entitled to such information.
They ordered the police chief who had denied the license has to start over:
For the reasons set forth herein, the decision denying the petitioner's application is quashed. Further, the respondent is directed to issue a new decision on the petitioner's application not inconsistent with this opinion.
No showing of any special need was required.

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