Gun Carry Licenses, Self-Defense, and Sealing
From Montaquila v. Neronha, decided today by the Rhode Island Supreme Court, in an opinion by Justice Melissa Long:
On October 28, 2020, Providence police officers arrested Mr. Montaquila for misdemeanor simple assault after an incident involving his firearm at his place of business…. Eventually the government dismissed the charge against him.
On or after November 2, 2020, Mr. Montaquila applied to renew license No. 9012031, his concealed-carry license which was scheduled to expire on December 30, 2020. The application form questioned whether the applicant had “ever been arrested or charged for any offense[.]” Mr. Montaquila marked both the “yes” and “no” boxes and wrote “see letter attached.”
In the undated letter attached to his application, Mr. Montaquila explained the incident as follows:
“[A] gentleman came into my business, which is a gas station and auto detailing facility[,] and became immediately combative and aggressive toward my staff because they would not perform certain work for free. He was clearly under the influence of drugs at the time. He began to throw items off the desk and act very threatening in my store.
“I came out of my office at my employees’ request to mediate the situation. I told the gentleman he would have to leave the premises, and at that time he got very close to my face and shoved me away. At that point, I put my arms around his shoulders and walked him out the door. At no point did I strike, hit, or assault this person.
“The man then called the Providence Police, falsely reported that I assaulted him without reason, and I was arrested.”
In closing his letter, he stated that the government had already dismissed the charge and that his record was set to be sealed on January 6, 2021.
Mr. Montaquila authorized the Attorney General to investigate his background and to disclose and review “all records and any other information concerning [Mr. Montaquila] whether such records and other information are public, private, privileged, or confidential.” The police report describing the October 28, 2020 incident (incident report) included information that Mr. Montaquila did not disclose in the undated letter attached to his application.
Specifically, the incident report stated that the man wh
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