U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division Office of the Assistant Attorney General Washington, D.C.

20530 NOV 22 1996 The Honorable Nancy L. Johnson Member, United States House of Representatives 480 Myrtle Street, Suite 200 New Britain, Connecticut 06053 Dear Congresswoman Johnson: This letter is in response to your inquiry on behalf of your constituent, Mr. XX who was denied a waiver under local zoning ordinances to allow retail sales of firearms from his residence. Please excuse our delay in responding. Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability by State and local government agencies. Section 35.130 (b)(7) of the Department's regulation implementing title II (enclosed) provides that "[A] public entity shall make reasonable modifications in policies, practices, or procedures when the modifications are necessary to avoid discrimination on the basis of disability, unless the public entity can demonstrate that making the modifications would fundamentally alter the nature of the service, program, or activity." A waiver of a zoning ordinance to allow an individual with a disability to operate a business from a residence may be "reasonable" if, for example, other similar waivers have been granted. However, the ADA does not necessarily require a waiver to operate a business from a residence simply because an individual has a disability. Such a waiver may "fundamentally alter" the community's interests to ensure a separation between commercial and residential areas. cc: Records, chrono, Wodatch, Nichol, McDowney, FOIA, Justesen:dhj udd\Justesen\Johnnson.ltr XX

01-04352 -2At this time, there is insufficient information to determine whether the Plainville Zoning Board violated title II of the ADA. We have opened an investigation in this case, and Mr. XX will be receiving correspondence from this office in the near future. We hope this information is helpful to you in responding to your constituent. Sincerely, Deval L. Patrick Assistant Attorney General Civil Rights Division Enclosure 01-04353 October 8, 1996 Department of Justice Attorney General Main Justice Building, Room 1603 Pennsylvania & Constitution Avenues Washington, D.C. 20530 Dear Sir: I am writing on behalf of XX , who has contacted my office with regard to Title II of the American with Disabilities Act. I have enclosed a Title II Discrimination Complaint Form which Mr. XX has asked me to forward to you. Please do not hesitate to contact my caseworker, Mark Cistulli, at 480 Myrtle Street, Suite 200, New Britain, CT 06053, or by phone at (860) 223-8412 should you need any additional information or have any additional questions or concerns. Thank you for your attention to this matter.

Very truly yours, Nancy L. Johnson Member of Congress NLJ:mdc Enclosure 01-04354​ Congresswoman Nancy Johnson 480 Myrtle Street New Britain, Ct. 06053 Att'n.: Mark Cistulli Re: Conversation of 9/18/96 inre imminent loss of Federal Firearms license due to actions of Plainville Zoning Board. Dear Mark, As the date of the enclosed letter will indicate, I have sent it so that if the Herald does not print it, you may be able to influence them to do so. As I have often indicated, although I am a registered Deomocrat, I support those political representatives that show a genuine concern as representing the entire country and not just their district. It is for this same reason that I am presently writing to you, as I know that if your office cannot be of assistance, you will at least direct me as to what possible recourse I may have. My present problem is that my request for variance in the Town of Plainville, ZBA application # 08-96-35, to allow for retail sales of Pistols and Revolvers at retail in an R-11 zone was recently denied. Thus, although I presently possess a Federal Firearms License, issued by Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, a State License to sell pistols and revolvers, a Town license to sell pistols and revolvers at retail, all of which are valid until the year 2000, with the exception of the Federal License which I may lose, I recently received a letter stating that after fourteen years of being licensed in Plainville, I am in violation of Zoning laws and had to apply for a "Variance". The Town of Plainville has known of these sales as they issued XX September 18, 1996

the license and a form has to be filed with them every time a weapon is sold, which is seldom, as I operate very discreetly, and my own neighbors did not know of my situation until the Town advertised the purpose of my variance hearing in the paper. I have many dictionaries and they define a "Variance" as the act of varying from the norm. In this case, sales from an R11 zone (Residential) after fourteen years of trouble free and very discreet operation. My request for said variance was based on a hardship, which in my case is a total disability and severe handicap, preventing me from operating a full time commercial business where I would to overcome high overhead, etc. It was for this reason that Chief of Police, Daniel Coppinger and former Chief, Frank Roche took measures to assure that a license was issued to me. I have to be available during the daytime hours to allow ATF access for inspection of records, and by operating from my home, I am able to occupy myself by doing repairs to guns, selective sales, etc. and still be available for ATF inspections, while at the same time allowing me to be available for my visiting nurses, as well as therapy and rest in between appointments. My operation has never caused a traffic problem, either vehicular or pedestrian for the fourteen years I have already been operating from this location. The only reason given for the denial of my application, although the ZBA did praise the manner in which I conducted my business and stressed that if no problems have ever been incurred in the past, there is no reason to believe they will exist in the future, was the fact that I am in an R-11 zone. I stressed that I realized this and this was why I requested a variance, citing hardship as the reason for said request. I do not make a living, or even a marginal profit from the operation I conduct, but it does keep me from vegetating as numerous Doctors, including the Mayo clinic have determined that my condition prohibits my ever being gainfully employed again. Having just turned 54 yrs. old, that leaves somewhat of a bleak future, let alone the effect it has on the morale of a person trying to live with and overcome severe disabilities and lead somewhat of a semblance of a reasonable life style with a reason to wake up in the morning. Although I have been confined to a wheelchair by several doctors, my present life style has so far helped me to avert this drastic measure, although I am limited to walking short distances with a walker and/or crutches. Although I have the right to appeal the decision of the ZBA to Court, I am presently not in a financial position to incur the expenses involved in so doing, especially since the operation I conduct is not what could be called profitable operation or one that is operated for monetary

gain, and I was hopeful that possibly through the many Federal Acts to assist the handicap and disabled, there might be a possible avenue of seeking assistance for relief of my dilemna through such an act as the ZBA never considered or discussed the hardship and handicap aspect of my request for variance, but merely cited what the zoning regulations read in black and white, yet they did grant variances for fences beyond property line limits as hardships, for partially built garages that had constructed without a permit and outside the property line limits so the homeowner would not have to demolish the partial construction, although they did state that had he applied for a permit, he would have been aware of the regulations and could have properly applied for whatever variances he needed. The manner in which the board operated led me to believe that they acted in a discriminatory manner as their primary fear seemed to be that about twelve persons possess a Federal Firearms License in Plainville and they feared setting a precedence. I indicated that the purposes of a variance hearing was to act on each case based on its own merits and action on my request should have no different effect than allowing a garage or fence to be built outside property restrictions. This did not absolve anyone else from the required regulations and each person has to apply as an individual. Most of the presently licensed dealers in my situation are gainfully employed, (one is a police officer for the town, active) and to the best of my knowledge and research, none are handicapped or disabled. My immediate neighbors on both sides had no objection to my operation if I continued to conduct it in the same manner, and most of the people who showed up and objected live at the far end of the street in the immediate vicinity of a vacant retail premises, which if I was operating a profitable operation, I could lease and the sales in question would be right in their front and back yards. However, I prefer to operate discreetly, do not advertise, interview by appointment only and determine from by background as a retired Police Detective and long time president of the New Britain P.D. Police revolver club, having shot competitively. I also stressed that I have one of my children and two, sometimes three, of my grandchildren living in my home, so there was no way I would consider a slipshod operation. The Police Department also indicated that I have turned down potential customers that they referred to me as I felt that they either did have justification for the need of a weapon, did not know how to properly handle one safely, referring them for a training course before I would consider a sale to them and have rejected some outright as conversing

with them indicated to me that they suffered mental disorders as a result of old age or other reasons. It would appear that in todays society and with the pressure to place guns in only the proper, competent hands, coupled with the handicap and disability factor, the Town ould bein favor of an operation such as that which I conduct. Most of my business has been conducted with the City of New Britain, Town of Berlin, Town of Plainville and those individual police officers I felt comfortable selling weapons to, and as I have also turned down police officers who had drinking problems, etc., even though the law basically exempts law enforcement officers from the stringent regulations that govern the general public. I have been licensed for the sale of guns and sporting goods for over 23 years and have never encountered a problem with any weapon I sold, which can be verified with ATF who I have assisted in the past to take illegal guns off the street and stop legal persons from buying and selling to others that did not meet the requirements. This can be verified by Agent Richard Cocharro of the Hartford office of ATF. Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms has indicated support for my operation and the manner in which it is conducted and rather than revoke my license because of the ZBA ruling, have placed my renewal on hold pending the exhaustion of all remedial avenues. This action is being taken by Agent Ernest Giuliani of 25 Grandview Road in East Greenwich, R.I. 02818 - phone 401 528-4366, who is in charge of my Federal License renewal which has been approved for everything with the exception of the Zoning ruling in Plainville. In summary, it would appear that I am seeking to determine if there is any manner of intervention that can be taken under handicap or other regulations as having to resort to court for an appeal would force me to forfeit my license because of the expense involved. Any help or information that you may be able to provide me with would be greatly appreciated to guide me in a direction whereby I could avoid court costs, etc. I am confident, that as in the past, Nancy Johnson and her staff will do everything in their power to assist in this dilemna, but I was not advised of time restrictions if any exist for appeal, so I am hopeful you can at least look into this matter as soon as possible. Respectfully XX XX XX

P.S. I look forward to one day meeting Ms Johnson in person ILLEGIBLE 01-04357