PORTLAND, CT – In June of 2021, we brought you the story of Rob Pizzi, Jr. and his gun shop, Central Connecticut Arms, which will soon have a new facility that will also serve as Law Enforcement Today’s on-location studio for all things “guns.”
We are pleased to bring you an update on Central Connecticut Arms and Pizzi’s continued strong stand in the face of Connecticut’s burdensome restrictions on gun ownership.
Central Connecticut Arms, as we previously reported, is a highly successful gun shop in Portland, CT, owned by Army veteran and patriot Rob Pizzi, Jr.
Central Connecticut Arms will soon see some big changes. Pizzi has a new 30,000 square foot state-of-the-art facility in the works that will include not only a gun store and gunsmithing services, but also a restaurant, lounge areas, rifle ranges, pistol ranges, archery ranges, and axe throwing facilities.
Notably, the ranges will include 5 100-yard rifle lanes rated for .50 BMG. In addition, rifle ranges will feature foldup benches to allow for shooting prone, and pistol ranges will also have folding benches to allow for shooting with movement in certain circumstances.
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As a special offer to interested parties, Central Connecticut Arms is also offering a limited supply of “Founder’s Club” memberships on sale.
As the Central Connecticut Arms website attests, the valuable benefits of joining this club include:
- FREE machine gun rentals
- FREE firearm transfers
- FREE guests (up to 2)
- Private parking and entrance.
- 14 Day advanced online range booking
- Dedicated lanes with no wait
- Private lounge and locker
- Private Cigar Lounge
- 25% off all in store purchases and training. (up to $100 maximum per item)
- Your name on a paver on “Founder’s Way” – the walkway into private entrance
Progress on the new facility is moving on schedule. There is a planning and zoning hearing scheduled for October 7, 2021, and a building permit is expected by the end of October.
If all goes as planned, breaking ground will happen in early November, and the facility will take approximately six months to finish, putting the opening date in the second quarter of 2022.
Pizzi and Central Connecticut Arms have a loyal customer base and a longstanding reputation for customer service, and the new facility promises to continue the tradition of putting customers first.
In the meantime, as planning and building proceed, Pizzi and his staff have their hands full, conscientiously and patiently walking customers through Connecticut’s onerous background check system that puts barriers in the way of law-abiding gun owners exercising their Constitutional right to bear arms.
Pizzi described to us the background check process, saying:
“Most states, when you get a background check, the dealer logs into a portal with the FBI and does the NICS background check, and that’s the end of it.
“Well, Connecticut wants to have their hands involved in the process, so they do the background check instead.
“When we want to sell a gun, we have to call the Division of State Police Headquarters, Department of Special Licensing, Firearms Unit, and give them the information.
“They do the background check, they do the registry, and then issue us an authorization number, which gets logged onto the [ATF Firearms Transaction Record, Form 4473].”
Pizzi told us that the system was “antiquated” and difficult to work with.
“The phones are busy, you can’t get through because there’s not enough people.”
A promised update to “streamline” the process fell through a few years ago. Pizzi said:
“And they told us years ago, we’re going to be streamlined, it’s going to be automated, go out and buy this, this, this.”
But after Connecticut gun sellers bought all the recommended equipment for the update, they were told:
“We changed our mind. We’re not doing that. We’re going in a different direction.”
Later, a new system came along, but its implementation caused considerable difficulties for buyers and sellers.
The Special Licensing and Firearms Unit (SLFU) converted in July 2021 to a new database and background check system. The time needed for conversion meant that no firearm transfers were to be permitted for a period of four days to allow for the changeover.
Unfortunately, four days turned into a full week, meaning that gun sellers lost considerable revenue and would-be purchasers were out of luck.
Even when the wheels started turning again, contacting the Connecticut authorities proved next to impossible.
Pizzi told us:
“We would call literally, I mean literally, thousands of times a day, to get the authorization number.
“I know that some smaller dealers weren’t able to transfer a gun for 12, 14, 16 days, because they could never get through.”
Another difficulty with the system lay in the fact that those calls for an authorization number have to be scheduled around the customer, who has to be present.
Pizzi told us:
“It was just a real problem. People were waiting 4, 5, 6 hours a day in the store. And then after that, we’d have to say sorry, we still can’t get through, so you have their money, you have their product, and you have to tell them to come back the next day after waiting six hours.”
Things have slightly improved, Pizzi said, after more phone lines were added.
“It’s a little bit better, but it still takes an hour to get through, with many people hitting redial. Which, I guess, is better than not being able to get through for two days.”
However, Central Connecticut Arms has still not even had the chance to reap the supposed benefits of the new database system.
“Supposedly it’s going to be better in the end, and seamless, but we really don’t know because we haven’t beta tested it. Only one dealer in the state has.
“So nobody’s really seen it, so we really don’t know.”
As we previously reported, on July 20, 2021, the Connecticut Citizens Defense League (CCDL) filed a motion in federal court in response to the delayed and, effectively, halted arm sales for Connecticut Citizens due to the background check system.
The CCDL echoed Pizzi’s firsthand accounts of Connecticut’s barriers to firearms sales in a Facebook post, which read, in part:
“Connecticut has also effectively shut down the state’s firearm purchase approval system, making it virtually impossible for most law-abiding citizens of this state, including numerous CCDL members, to purchase a firearm of any type.
“The system requires an FFL to call the state by telephone and get verbal authorization to sell a given firearm to a given buyer. Many Federal Firearms Licensees (FFLs) in Connecticut have long complained about the subjective nature of the system, and that often firearm purchase authorization requests are delayed, denied, or the phone line simply clicks off when the prospective purchaser has an Asian or Hispanic-sounding name.
“Now, the entire system has collapsed due to a so-called ‘computer upgrade.’ It is virtually impossible to purchase a firearm in Connecticut or for a federally licensed dealer to sell one.”
One might think that all this hassle, in addition to Connecticut’s other restrictive gun laws, would lead a Connecticut gun shop owner to throw up his hands in despair, and perhaps even leave the state for a more gun-friendly area.
Pizzi, however, told us that a strong stand and proactive efforts toward effective representation are the keys to finding a way to deal with gun laws and restrictive red tape in Connecticut.
“They aren’t going to push me out. I will never cower….
“You roll up your sleeves, and you fight through it.”
“I tell people, you’ve got two choices: You leave, you roll up your carpet and you adios, or you roll up your sleeves, you dig in, you fight hard, and you play by the rules.
“You play the hand you’re dealt. If you don’t like it, lobby harder to change your elected officials.”
“One thing I learned in the military, nobody likes a whiner. It’s ok to bitch about sh*t, but if you’re going to bitch about sh*t, come up with a solution….
“We just have to be more organized, and we just have to fight harder to change our elected officials and representatives, to a better snapshot of our constituents….
“You follow the laws, and if we don’t like something, we have a process to change it.”
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Gun store owners, 2A group file motion in federal court after Connecticut all but halts firearms sales
Originally published July 21, 2021
CONNECTICUT – According to reports, a recent update for Connecticut’s background check system for firearms purchases is causing delays in completing gun sales, resulting in retailers having to turn prospective buyers away and telling them to come back another day.
The problem has become so pervasive that the Connecticut Citizens Defense League (CCDL) filed a motion in federal court in response to the halted firearm sales to lawful would-be gun owners.
Retailers Say State Background Check System Is Causing Delays In Gun Sales https://t.co/Q9vSUO27kY
— ctnewsjunkie (@ctnewsjunkie) July 20, 2021
The crux of the issue, according to reports, is a software upgrade related to the background check system firearms retailers use in Connecticut. Mark Oliva of the National Shooting Sports Foundation said the upgrade “has caused severe delays”:
“The software upgrade has caused severe delays in most cases and in some instances outright outages for firearm retailers to be able to run the background checks that they need to.”
Oliva added that when these delays result in retailers being unable to complete a transaction, the result is tantamount to denying citizens in the state their Second Amendment right:
“That in essence is denying the citizens of Connecticut from being able to exercise their Second Amendment right.”
Kyle Overturf of Blue Trail Range explained the frustration of calling in to get a background check cleared on a prospective buyer, noting that firearms dealers are lucky to have a single call go through, and a background check completed in a single day of business:
“It’s just calling, calling, calling. You feel like you win the lottery when you get through right now.”
Overturf also bemoaned the times where he has to tell prospective purchasers that they need to come back another day due to the background check issues:
“What’s frustrating for us from our customers view is some people drive an hour and an hour 15 minutes to come here and they’re waiting one, two, three hours and after two hours of us trying to call getting through they’ll have to leave and come back a different day.”
Rob Pizzi is a United States veteran and the founder of Central CT Arms in Portland, Connecticut. Central CT Arms is known throughout New England as being the go-to store for law enforcement officers, veterans and patriotic Americans.
Business has been so explosive that he’s building out a massive, state-of-the-art indoor facility right in the heart of Connecticut.
Given that Central CT Arms is one of the most popular and high-volume stores in the region, the “glitches” in Connecticut have resulted in hundreds of gun purchases essentially sitting in limbo, waiting for the state to clear the purchases.
“You want to talk about safety?” Pizzi said. “How about the guy that just had a restraining order put against him and was told he needs to get rid of his guns. That guy comes in to a gun dealer and says ‘please take my firearms – the state is requiring it’ and we can’t. How is that public safety?”
“The woman who just came in because she has a stalker. You’re going to tell her ‘sorry, ma’am, we know your life is in jeopardy… but the state has a glitch’ – seriously?”
On July 20th, in response to the prevalent issues regarding the background check system not functioning properly, the CCDL “filed an Emergency Motion for Immediate Status Conference with the Court, seeking to stop the state’s most recent and egregious constitutional violations”, according to a press release the group shared on Facebook.
The press release from the CCDL recounted the previous legal battle they fought regarding the executive order Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont issued in March of 2020 that shut down fingerprinting which, in turn, made handgun permits impossible to obtain in the state. A judge sided with the CCDL on that matter in June of 2020.
The CCDL is now arguing that the state’s current purchase approval system regarding firearms is “making it virtually impossible for most law-abiding citizens of this state, including numerous CCDL members, to purchase a firearm of any type”:
“The system requires an FFL to call the state by telephone and get verbal authorization to sell a given firearm to a given buyer.
Many Federal Firearms Licensees (FFLs) in Connecticut have long complained about the subjective nature of the system, and that often firearm purchase authorization requests are delayed, denied, or the phone line simply clicks off when the prospective purchaser has an Asian or Hispanic-sounding name.
“Now, the entire system has collapsed due to a so-called “computer upgrade.” It is virtually impossible to purchase a firearm in Connecticut or for a federally licensed dealer to sell one.
Many Connecticut FFLs are forced to employ multiple people to do nothing but dial the telephone, hoping against all hope that during an entire workday, one call might be answered by the state, and that FFL might be able to make a sale.”
“After thousands of calls over the course of an entire day, an FFL may not get through to sell a single firearm!”
This is a developing story.
Please follow Law Enforcement Today as we continue to gather further details on this ongoing legal matter.
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