Legal Actions

Connecticut Citizens Defense League Files Federal Civil Rights Lawsuit to Protect the Right to Keep and Bear Arms



SOUTHBURY, CT – The Connecticut Citizens Defense League (CCDL) announced today that it has filed a lawsuit in United States District Court against Governor Ned Lamont and several municipal police chiefs to stop their blatant and ongoing violations of the CCDL members’ right to keep and bear arms, as well as other constitutional rights.

The CCDL was forced to bring suit after the Governor’s March 17, 2020 Executive Order 7E suspended Connecticut General Statute § 29-17c, the law requiring state and local law enforcement to fingerprint, and process the applications of, Connecticut residents seeking State-issued permits to legally purchase and possess firearms, ammunition and magazines. As a result of the Governor’s Executive Order, law enforcement throughout the state are refusing to collect fingerprints for firearms permit purposes, and are refusing to process firearms applications, even while fingerprinting and application processing continues for other purposes. Under Executive Order 7E, state and local law enforcement have effectively shut down the issuance of all firearm permits in Connecticut. The CCDL cannot allow such blatant disregard for its members’ rights to go unchallenged.

The right to obtain and possess a firearm is a fundamental right guaranteed each citizen by the United States and Connecticut Constitutions. Especially in times of societal unrest, law-abiding citizens must have the ability to protect themselves and their families. However, under Connecticut’s strict firearms permitting scheme, lawful persons seeking to purchase a firearm or ammunition, or to carry a firearm for personal protection, are required to hold a certificate or permit issued by the State. To obtain a certificate or permit, an applicant must first submit to law enforcement taking his/her fingerprints and conducting an extensive background investigation on the applicant. Now, state and local law enforcement have completely shut down even that narrow path for people to protect themselves and their families with a firearm.

The CCDL wrote Governor Lamont on April 10, 2020 seeking reinstatement of the fingerprinting and application process, and offering alternatives to the process. Sadly, the Governor never responded to, nor even acknowledged, the CCDL’s letter, giving it no choice but to seek relief for its members in federal court.

Attorney Craig Fishbein and Attorney Doug Dubitsky are representing the CCDL in this federal civil rights action.

“While the CCDL understands these are times of unprecedented challenges, many Connecticut residents are being denied their constitutional rights just when they feel the exercise of those rights is most needed,” said Holly Sullivan, President of the CCDL. “We respect the Governor’s goal of mitigating the COVID-19 virus. However, stripping citizens of their rights does not further that laudable goal. It is in these extraordinary times that the Governor must most staunchly defend the rights of Connecticut’s people. If the Governor won’t, the CCDL will.”

The Connecticut Citizens Defense League, Inc. is a non-profit, non-partisan, grassroots organization of more than 36,000 members, committed to protecting the unalienable constitutional right of all citizens to keep and bear arms through legislative and grassroots advocacy, education, research, publishing, legal action and programs.

Lawsuit documents can be accessed here:

CONTACT: HOLLY SULLIVAN – (860)785-5322 –

PDF of CCDL v Lamont Press Release


CCDL Response to HB5448 An Act Concerning a Risk Protection Order or Warrant

(Southbury, CT)

For Immediate Release:

The Connecticut Citizens Defense League President Holly Sullivan issues the following statement in response to an Act Concerning a Risk Protection Order or Warrant (HB5448):

“The Connecticut Citizens Defense League is extremely concerned about the removal of law enforcement investigatory procedure in order to proceed with an expanded red flag order as is proposed in HB5448. The proposed bill states that a complainant may go directly to a judge bypassing the unbiased and trained input of law enforcement.”

“This bill contains no stipulated penalties for false reporting. Since the temporary restraining orders were passed several years ago, 40% of these complaints have been dismissed by numerous courtroom judges.
However, not a single perjury charge was filed against anyone. The State of Connecticut is allowing some of its most vulnerable residents to be disarmed while they may be in their greatest need. More than 60,000 Connecticut women are permitted to lawfully carry firearms and do so primarily for self-defense. Complainants may be ex relations with whom the lawful gun owner has a child, in-laws and estranged spouses.”

“The bill would demand that anyone who has had a risk warrant filed against them prove by a preponderance of evidence that they are no longer a risk before any of their property will be returned. All Connecticut residents who value any of their constitutionally protected rights should be concerned about the precedent being suggested and how far government overreach will be allowed to go.”

“This bill is a phony solution created by the same politicians who fail to hold accountable actual violent criminals who steal guns and commit other crimes. CCDL has fought to get the Gun Trafficking Task Force funded and to increase penalties for those who steal firearms. The educational component of Ethan’s Law has yet to be initiated from 2019.
The very proponents of this bill have fought against these common sense measures in our state.”

Holly Sullivan
CCDL, Inc.



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Recently, the Brady Bunch tried to sue Lucky Gunner Ammo and several other online retailers for lawfully selling items that were later used in the Aurora, Colorado movie theater shooting. The judge in that case rightfully dismissed it, and ordered the Brady Campaign to reimburse the defendant’s legal fees.
Lucky Gunner has graciously offered to donate their share of the settlement (when they get it) to various gun rights groups such as CCDL. They will determine how much each group gets by the number of votes each group gets in a poll on their website. These are all deserving groups, but we ask that you please go and vote for CCDL. As a 100% donation driven non-profit organization (501c4), even a small share would help us to continue to our fight to protect and restore YOUR rights here in Connecticut.


June Meeting Reminder

Major Updates at Tuesday’s 06/09/15 Meeting

The decision in the Federal Court Appeal that CCDL and other litigants are suing over (Shew v Malloy) should be here soon. We are days away from the typical time frame that an appellate court takes to reach a decision. We have a very special meeting for Tuesday, which will include a visit from Chris Conte. Chris is litigation counsel for NRA-ILA and has done a lot to help coordinate legal legwork associated with this case. Chris will talk about the lawsuit’s future and other aspects of Connecticut gun rights.  
Connecticut Local Counsel Martha Dean will be in attendance and so will Tom King, the President of the New York State Rifle and Pistol Association. NY is fighting the SAFE Act law which is similar to the law that we are fighting here in CT (PA 13-3/13-220).

Session Ends – SB650 Dead (for now)

Senate Bill 650 died at the stroke of midnight on the last day of the legislative session. With that, so did the last serious piece of legislation that could have crippled the rights of gun owners (sort of).  
While it is unlikely that this bill will come back in the pending Special Session, it might. CCDL is working with 2A friendly legislators, and monitoring what may come. 

One extremely important note to add to the end of the session is language that was included in the Second Chance Society Bill. This is a bill that will be the focal point of the special session. State Rep Doug Dubitsky (47th district) has made this public statement: 

A drafting “error” in the Governor’s Second-Chance Society bill would have created new offenses which would disqualify Connecticut residents from possessing firearms. The bill would have generally reduced the penalty for drug possession to a misdemeanor, but it would also eliminate an entire category of minor drug-related offenses that do not currently make people ineligible to own firearms.

Credit for fighting this last minute goes to Rep Doug Dubitsky, Rep Cara Pavalock (district 77) and Rep Rob Sampson (district 80). If this had passed, it would have been a 2nd amendment rights stripping nightmare for many gun owners. 

A full post-legislative breakdown will be presented by CCDL Legislative Coordinator Ray Bevis. Ray will be providing statistics about membership involvement and effectiveness at the meeting. He has worked very hard this session along with Chris Lemos to bring Legislative information to our members in real time.


Meeting Minutes Apr 2015

General Meeting – 2015-04-14
7:05 Start of meeting

7:10 President’s Report
Communicated with Attorney
Communicated with Media
Communicated with Legislators on gun bills
Testified on gun bills
Fielded e-mails

7:11 Vice President’s Report
Brought the food donations to the Bridgeport Rescue Mission
Received a donation for $500 from Arnie at CT Sporting Arms on behalf of his customers
Received a donation for $300 from a customer at CT Sporting Arms

7:12 Treasurer’s Report
Received the last of the 12 monthly $1,000 donations from New Haven Sportsman’s Club
Income: $21,343
Expenses: $11,387
Total Litigation Donations: $591k
Total Litigation fees to date: $511k

7:15 Membership
17,745 total members

7:16 Fundraising
We’ll be holding the Poker Run again this year. Details to follow.

7:17 Open Forum
DB: If you have an Idea to help the organization or raise money, ask permission and put it together yourself. CCDL execs can help but they can’t do everything. I put on frequent shoots with my club to raise money. You can do it too.
DH: Working on a modification to existing ARs to make them CT legal based of previous CT legal AR design.

7:24 Special Guest – Chris Fields, King 33
New 360* shoot house, the only one in New England.
King 33 will be holding a CCDL Fundraising Shoot. Details are still being worked out.
King 33 is a Training Center not a gun range.

7:33 Special Guest – Christian Ragosta, NRA Grass Roots Field Coordinator
His district covers NY,CT, and NJ. Wants to educate on safety, promote politeness and facts.
He’ll be going to gun shows and stores letting people know the NRA hasn’t given up on CT. Pushing people to vote.
E-mail Chris with local events and he’ll attend if he can.
Chris will be at the Ye CT Gun Guild Gun Show @ the Middletown Elks Lodge.

7:48 Break

8:02 Permit issues
Keep up on your appeals. Don’t let them linger.
60 days after submittin the application, file an appeal if you haven’t heard back. Form is available on the BPFE website.
The Lazurek case started out as an Open Carry case, but now the state just doesn’t like that he got his permit back. Got a stay to carry while at work, but not while off duty.

8:05 S.B.650 and H.B.6848
Judiciary passed 2 bills out of committee. Both on Temporary Restraining Orders. Voted on party lines
2 Amendments were made:
– Police officers subject to a TRO get a hearing in 5 days instead of 14 days
– Allow revoked permit after TRO expires to be immediately returned
No wording yet on those amendments so we don’t have any details
Contact Ray for details on sending Thank You cards to legislators that voted against the bills.
At this point in session, only e-mail your representatives. E-mails from non-constituents will likely be filtered out. Phone calls are even better.
Snail mail is a good way to contact your legislator, particularly if you hand-write the envelope. If you sent an e-mail, you can follow up by tweaking it a little and mailing a copy via the post office.
You may be able to meet your legislator in your district, or request to meet in their office in Hartford. If they’re too busy, ask to meet with an aide
Women speaking out on these bills will hold considerably more weight than men.
Keep up to date on these bills by following them on our blog:

8:35 Legislative Pointers

[Note: This presentation was given by a CCDL Member, but the statements made aren’t necessarily CCDL endorsed]

10 Democrats voted against S.B. 1160 in the house. 8 are still there. One of the other was replaced by a stronger pro-2A representative. We need 12 Democrats to vote with us on this.
Representatives may not read all e-mails, but they count them.
Reach out to the leadership. New leaders in both houses. We need Republican leaders to keep caucus together against these bills.
Reach out to your local RTC. They have pull with legislators and you don’t need to be a Town Committee member to talk to the local chair.
Contact State Central and let them know you oppose these bills.
Be sensitive about how they may be beaten up for an opposition vote on these bills.
Winning is every anti-gun provision of the bills being stripped out.

8:50 Final Notes
It’s been more than 4 months since the oral arguments. We’re checking daily for a decision but haven’t seen anything yet.
Tim McGraw signed onto Sandy Hook Promise to oppose gun rights at a benefit

8:52 Close of Meeting


Contact Legislators

Action Alert:

Contact Your Legislators, Input is Critical

Immediate Action is Needed on the Following Bills:
Governor’s Bill 6848
Senate Bill 650

Emails, phone calls and/or personal visits can go along way to defeating these pieces of proposed legislation.  Tell your elected official to oppose both of these Bills.
These Bills passed out of the Judiciary Committee as Joint Favorable and could be voted on very soon!
They violate Due process of law. A right which is protected under the 14th amendment of the US Constitution and also Article 1 Sec 7 of the Connecticut State Constitution.
If either of these laws are passed, Connecticut citizens who have even a Temporary Restraining Order (ex parte) filed against them will not have an opportunity to be heard by a judge before firearms and ammunition are seized.
For more information on these Bills and Calls for actions by CCDL pertaining to these Bills, please see our blog.
Find and Contact your legislators.


Meeting Minutes Mar 2015

Meeting started at 7:03 with National Anthem and Pledge of Allegiance
Opening remarks by Scott
Legislation enacted 1 year ago
Anti gun foes trying to lull owners to sleep
Public hearing tomorrow on 3 bills
Anti gunners end goal is a long term plan of disarmament
Submit testimony and attend the hearings if at all possible
Presidents report
3 month mark from oral arguments in the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals
Perhaps up to 6 months before a ruling
Been communicating with media, legislators
Writing testimony
VP Report
Food bank donation delivery
Fighting for our rights
Attend Legislature for testimony if at all possible
writing testimony to submit.
Treasurers Report
The fight against the anti-gun crowd will take years
Don’t lose the fight, don’t give up don’t stop
Educate other gun owners and friends
As of the end of February:
Peoples Bank     $7675
Paypal                $4565
Donations+Tix    $2990
Merchandise       $2361
Total                     $5351
Paypal fees/shipping    $370
Supplies/printing           $1081
Web,Hall, Tax                $4632
Total                             $6083
Peoples Bank Litigation    $78,134
Total Litigation income      $580,882.62
Expenses Legal                $485
Bank Fees                        $260
Misc                                   $24
Operational money to Litigation fund $4677
Due to operational account from Lit    $3807
Events Report
Dinner plans  Sunday @5:30  New Life Church
Gifts on hand Guns and ammo
Hunting and Fishing show
Snow on setup day.
Met an anti-gunner
Met a lot of people and got the word out
14 Volunteers so was well covered.
Legislative Report
Changes to Testify procedure
Bottleneck at metal detectors
Get to LOB early
Decorum – Don’t rise to anti-gunners bait, they want us to look bad.
Submit written testimony
Plan to spend all day there
Food and wifi (free and open) available in LOB, bring a phone charger
Permit issues
Towns are charging the wrong fee for background check $16.50 let Jonathan know.
Merchandise Report
Few Poker run shirts left, 2 picnic left
$5 section
Decals, Bling, etc, and we take paypal credit
Guest – Senator Joe Markley
Stay involved
3 Bills pending
1 “safe storage” bill
2 Domestic violence bills
None of the 2 DV bills address violation of rights and no due process
Kudos to Rob Sampson for his work
Elections have consequences and the anti’s know it
Some very strong 2A folks got elected
Plans to attach distasteful amendments and counter proposals to bad bills
Safe storage = Burglar protection act
Pledge to remember the votes and fight them at the polls
Keep getting strong legislators elected.
Question and answers.
Break at 8:00pm
Ray Bevis – Legislative breakdown
3 bills we are against
Metal detector etiquette
Meet in Rm 2500
Stickers to show CCDL membership/support
Lottery system to testify 8:30-10:00am
After 10am you go to the bottom of the list
Show up to see testimony even if you don’t testify.
You will get 3 minutes to address all 3 bills
Use personal scenarios if you have them to grab their attention
If you can get them to ask a question you get extra time to answer and elaborate
Dress code – No camo please
Should be streamed on CT-N for those who can’t come.
Mona Starwhiskey
Metacon is hosting the 12th annual Women on Target shooting clinic on Saturday June 6th.  Start at 8am
1 hour safety training
1 hour range
1 hour range
Open to 13 or older (13-18 must be accompanied by an adult)
$65 per person
For more info take a flyer or ask questions
8:38pm  Close of meeting

Major Gun Bill Hearing – March 11

Gun Bill Hearing

Hartford 3/11/15

Major Public Hearing Wednesday
March 11th is going to be a “Gun Day” for public hearings.
The Judiciary Committee will hold a public hearing on Wednesday, March 11, 2015 at 10:00 A.M. in Room 2500 of the LOB. Please submit 50 copies of written testimony to Committee staff at the time of sign-up. Testimony submitted after sign-up may not be distributed until after the hearing.




The Judiciary Committee will hold a public hearing on Wednesday, March 11, 2015 at 10:30 A.M. in Room 2E of the LOB. Public speaker order will be determined by a lottery system. Lottery numbers will be drawn from 8:30 A.M. to 10:00 A.M. in Room 2500 of the LOB. Speakers arriving after the completion of the lottery will have their names placed at the end of the speaker list.

Please submit 50 copies of written testimony to Committee staff any day prior to the hearing but no later than 10:00 A.M. in Room 2500 of the LOB. Written testimony submitted by a person(s) or organization(s) which exceeds five (5) single-sided pages per bill or resolution will only be posted on the Judiciary Committee’s website at the discretion of the Judiciary Committee Chairs. Testimony received after the designated time may not be distributed until after the hearing.

Please email written testimony in Word or PDF format to Testimony should clearly state testifier name and related Bills. The Committee requests that testimony be limited to matters related to the items on the Agenda. The first hour of the hearing is reserved for Legislators, Constitutional Officers, State Agency Heads and Chief Elected Municipal Officials.Speakers will be limited to three minutes of testimony. The Committee encourages witnesses to submit a written statement and to condense oral testimony to a summary of that statement.

Unofficial sign-up sheets have no standing with the Committee. All public hearing testimony, written and spoken, is public information. As such, it may be made available on the Judiciary Committee’s website and indexed by internet search engines.

The CCDL Meeting will go on the night before as planned, and we will be discussing strategy for testimony for all of these Bills. See Info Below for meeting details.

All 2015 Legislative Info: 2015 Pending Legislation

The Legislative Office Building is located at 300 Capitol Avenue, Hartford
For Parking and other information:


Meeting Minutes Feb 2015

General Meeting – 2015-02-10
7:07 Open Meeting
7:13 President
Held executive meeting
7:13 Vice President
Busy being Mr. Mom.
Brought the donated food to the Bridgeport Rescue Mission
7:14 Treasurer
Income: $2,666
Expenses: $2,110
Total Lit. donations: $576k
Total Lit. expenses: $511k
Windsor Marksmen Association donated $500
Ongoing New Haven Sportsmen Club donation $1,000
7:19 Membership
17064 total
373 new
7:19 Events
Attended the Executive meeting
Hunting and Fishing show this weekend @ Convention Center
Anniversary Dinner is March 15th at New Life Church in Wallingford. $40/person
7:21 Permit Issues
Meriden area starting to arresting people who don’t fill out application accurately.
SLFU threatening to arrest for not changing address within 48 hours of moving
Be careful what you post to social media. People in Middletown are watching.
Been helping someone for a year whose town is in bed with CAGV and ended up dying. Town trying to say he shot himself in a car accident.
Make the town follow the law when applying for your permit. Stay on them.
Backlog is currently over two years.
7:31 Merchandise
Holding off new hats due to embroidery issues.
7:33 Special Guest
Quentin Dreher – running for 23rd Senate District
7:43 Presentation to the Carrier Family
Plaque presented to the Carrier Family for their help over the years.
7:45 Open Forum
7:49 Break
8:06 Proposed Legislation Breakdown
(Please see blog for updated information)
8:49 Close of meeting

Meeting Minutes Jan 2015

General Meeting – 2015-01-13
7:09 Open Meeting
7:12 President
Obtained copy of oral arguments
Communicated with NRA on Litigation
7:13 Vice President
Wife had a baby
Dave Bicknell ran Turkey Shoot and raised $542 for us
Received check from Guilford Sportsmen’s Association
7:14 Treasurer
Income: $2,075
Expenses: $6,820
Litigation Total donations: $573k
Litigation Total expenses: $511k
7:18 Membership
304 new this month
16691 total members
7:19 Board of Firearm Permit Examiners
Getting better at local issues. Cyclical, but doing better at handling cases before the appeal.
There’s a process to force a town to accept an application. E-mail if you need help.
Need to start tracking extra requirements freshly for this year. Get copies of local towns paperwork (application and all attachments) and bring to Jonathan at a meeting or email a scanned copy.
7:22 Upcoming Events
Did some work for the Hunting and Fishing Show, Feb 13-15.
Annual Dinner will be held March 15th at 5:30pm at the New Life Church (350 High Hill Road) in Wallingford, CT.
7:26 Merchandise
Shipping a big order soon.
New gray shirts.
New style hat coming.
7:28 Additional Donations
Mec-Gar sent in a $500 donation
Patchaug Outdoor Club held a pig roase and raised $2,000 for litigation
7:29 Legislative Breakdown
Sing up to follow blog and be up to date
11 gun-related bills. Legislators have until Friday to propose new bills.
Bills are headed for committee
Contact legislators early.
Around 2/17-2/18 when committees come out with their bills
TRO bill will be most important
7:46 Break
7:58 Special Election
23rd Senatorial District
107th Assembly District
129th Assembly District
8:02 Special Guest: Attorney David Thompson
Heller is clear about legality of firearms by lawful citizens for lawful purposes
Most popular long arm on market has to be commonly owned. Appeals courts around country have rejected that argument.
Longer courts have engaged in “interest balancing” on guns which Heller has taken off the table.
CT wants to blind the courts to the positions of defensive gun use.
D.C. said why do you need handguns when you have rifles and shotguns? SCTUS said it doesn’t matter. There’s a right to them and that’s all you need to know in Heller.
The law in CT is an act of political theatre. Won’t save any lives. Fortunately founders understood the importance of self defence by enshrining it in the Bill of Rights.
Ruling, not rule on timing, probably next 6 months
2nd Circuit not been helpful in the past, but panel seemed to be interested in facts and law. That’s a positive sign.
Next step is SCOTUS. They’ve been reticent to take 2A cases in recent past, but who knows. Maybe they will take ours, maybe they’ll take one of the others out there.
It’s unusual to argue both cases in tandem, but tactically made sense to handle it how it was done.
Next election is crutial because theyw ill likely select at least 1 new SCOTUS Justice.
8:44 NSSF
Anti-gunners organizing rally @ NSSF headquarters. Jan. 20th @ 4:15.
Come early and counter protest
8:46 Close of meeting