Attorney Cameron Atkinson and Atkinson Law have filed a federal lawsuit against Waterbury Police Chief Fernando Spagnola and various Connecticut officials challenging the constitutionality of Connecticut’s pistol permitting system after they denied Dillon Severino a pistol permit and then provided him with an appeal date of May 25, 2025. Atkinson and Severino have also filed an emergency motion for a temporary restraining order and a preliminary injunction to put a stop to Connecticut’s ongoing violation of Severino’s constitutional rights.
Severino’s lawsuit brings a three-pronged challenge to Connecticut’s pistol permitting laws. First, it challenges the constitutionality of pistol permitting systems as a whole, asking a federal judge to declare the entire system unconstitutional. Second, it brings an alternative challenge to the highly subjective and opaque “suitability” standard that many Connecticut officials abuse to deny law-abiding Connecticut citizens their Second Amendment rights. Finally, it challenges the significant delays that individuals who suffer an unconstitutional denial of a pistol permit face when they attempt to appeal the denial decisions.
Attorney Atkinson writes: ““Firearms permitting laws have a long and racist history that pre-date the United States and specifically targeted African-Americans and Native Americans. Imposing the same requirements on white citizens was unthinkable. This attitude persisted in the Black Codes imposed in the South after the Civil War. The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Bruen requires courts to grapple with this history, and we are confident that, when the dust settles, Connecticut’s pistol permitting laws will be struck down permanently.”
The case is Severino v. Spagnola, et al., 3:22-cv-01529 (VAB), and it will be heard in the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut. Severino’s emergency motion is embedded below: