Early this morning, in the dead of night – 2:26 a.m., Connecticut's House of Representatives voted to pass a repressive 139 page gun control bill. The vote was 105 to 44, with two absent. Of the 98 Democrats present, 13, and 31 of the 51 Republicans present voted no. The state Senate approved it Wednesday evening, by a 26-10 vote. Two of 22 Democrats and eight of the 14 Republicans voted no.
Connecticut's new restrictions on citizens Constitutional right to bear arms is said to be a response to the horrific murders of 20 children and six adults in Newtown's Sandy Hook elementary school last December. Sadly, nothing in the 139 page bill would have done anything to prevent the killings. Nor does it do anything to prevent another such incident.
The legislation will only further suppress the Constitutional right of law-abiding Connecticut citizens to bear arms thereby making them additional victims of a young madman. As reported by J.D. Tuccille, according to a summary prepared by Connecticut's Bipartisan Task Force on Gun Violence Prevention and Children's Safety, the bill, the so-called "Act Concerning Gun Violence Prevention and Children's Safety," includes the following provisions:
- A "dangerous weapon offender" registry: Anybody convicted of any of more than 40 enumerated weapons offenses (mostly gun offenses) or another felony involving the use or threatened use of a deadly weapon will have to register with the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection. The list will be available only to law enforcement, and registrants will remain on it for five years, not life, but they must update their addresses with state authorities, just like sex offenders.
- Universal background checks: "Immediately upon passage, no pistol, revolver, rifle or shotgun can be sold to any Connecticut resident until the buyer undergoes and passes a national criminal background check -- whether such sale is private, at a gun show, or through a dealer"
- Expanded "assault weapons" ban: Bans more than 100 specific weapons in addition to those already illegal in the state, as well as any weapon that has just one of an expanded list of "military-style features." Currently owned weapons are grandfathered, though under tight restrictions.
- Ban on "large capacity magazines": New state limit of ten rounds. Grandfathers existing magazines subject to registration, though such magazines can never be loaded with more than ten rounds outside the owner's home or a shooting range. Acquiring a new large capacity magazine after the ban, or failing to register an existing one, becomes a class D felony.
- Eligibility certificates to purchase rifles, shotguns or ammunition: Certificate applicants must "undergo a firearms safety training course, be fingerprinted, and undergo a national criminal background and involuntary commitment /voluntary admission check."
- Enhanced firearms storage requirements: Owners must securely store firearms if "any resident of the premises where the firearm is stored is ineligible to possess a firearm" or "poses a risk of imminent personal injury to himself or herself or to other individuals."
- Restrictions on firearms possession by those with mental illness: Expands restrictions on those who have been involuntarily committed from 12 to 60 months and imposes a six-month ban on firearms possession on those who voluntarily admit themselves to a psychiatric facility.
That's right, Connecticut's new gun control bill requires that large capacity magazines be registered with the state.
Connecticut lawmakers were obviously afraid of the reaction of gun rights supporters. Not only did they pass the bill in the middle of the night, they avoided the usual public hearings and committee referrals by considering the bill under an "emergency certification." As J.D. Tuccille also points out, that means noone got to "raise objections, such as pointing out that that the new law would not have done anything to prevent the Sandy Hook massacre:
The guns Adam Lanza used were registered to his mother. She qualified to own firearms under the old rules and there's no reason to believe the new restrictions would have barred her ownership of guns in any way. She still would have passed the checks and earned her certificates. At 20, Lanza would be too young to purchase rifles under the new law, but, again, he used his mother's guns. Some reports speculate that Adam Lanza feared that his mother might have him committed, or move him out of state to attend a special school, but nothing of the sort had yet happened, so he wouldn't have fallen under the law's mental health restrictions.
Perhaps some of the magazines he used would have fallen under the new law, but even if these proposals had moved forward a year ago, those magazines would have been grandfathered. So would the weapons used, even if they didn't make the cut under the new law.
The gun rights advocates, who greatly outnumbered gun control supporters in demonstrations held at the Capitol Wednesday, wasted their time. The lawmakers weren't about to listen to their objections. The only thing they accomplished was highlighting the state officials' fear of the dissenters when Gov. Malloy's scheduled appearance at an autism awareness event was canceled.
The only thing that would have changed things at Sandy Hook would have been an armed person at the school. The feel good legislation passed by the Connecticut legislature would have not prevented the Sandy Hook killings and does nothing to prevent another such massacre. The new law only makes us all less free.