Conn. Governor Lamont Pushes Gun Control

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Conn. Governor Ignores Real Issues to Push Gun Control

In typical fashion, Democratic Gov. Ned Lamont and Connecticut Democrats unveiled his priority legislative proposals which will do nothing to curb rising crime in the state and would only impact Connecticut’s law-abiding gun owners and federally-licensed retailers and manufacturers. The Democratic governor would better serve Connecticut citizens by focusing on real problems impacting the state instead of pursuing what could only be described as the most futile attempt in state history to address crime. Crimes within Connecticut are committed by a small percentage of individuals, mainly felons and repeat offenders illegally possessing firearms, who already are breaking the law.

Over the past year, NSSF has requested numerous meetings with Gov. Lamont’s administration to address concerns, inefficiencies, and delays retailers have with the state-run background check system. None of those requests ever received a response. The administration has also blatantly ignored retailer requests for robust guidance and assistance during a poorly-managed transition of the background check system. This poorly-implemented system should have included training sessions and printed materials along with a fully staffed help desk. Now, Gov. Lamont’s office wants to further expand their powers and licensing authority with little to no desire nor resources to support the proposals. The only people impacted by this legislation will be those trying to follow the laws. There will be little measurable improvement to public safety from any of these licensing, registration and confiscation schemes. 

Governor Lamont should focus the state’s resources on increased policing and full prosecution of those illegally possessing firearms instead of allowing criminals to walk free, and punishing the firearm industry by allowing the state to ignore and delay background checks for federally licensed retailers. The governor seeks to make those exercising their Second Amendment rights defenseless by banning the carrying of those firearms across many parts of the state.       
While it would take too long to delve into each of Gov. Lamont’s proposals, they are listed below. They are verbatim from the press release to show the bias this administration holds against the firearm industry and personal freedoms. NSSF will update development of the ongoing battle in Hartford as events unfold.   

Ensure gun stores take their obligations seriously

  • Background: While most Connecticut gun dealers take their obligations under state law seriously, a few do not scrupulously follow Connecticut’s laws. The lack of state licensing for gun dealers makes it difficult for the Connecticut Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection to enforce those laws, and lax security or inventory tracking can lead to diversion of guns into the wrong hands.
  • Proposal: Create a state license for all gun dealers in Connecticut, so the state can provide oversight and guidance to gun dealers as they comply with state law. Existing businesses would receive a license without needing to pay the application fee.

Strengthen laws on safe storage of firearms

  • Background: Accidental deaths and illegal weapons frequently originate from improperly stored firearms. While Ethan’s Law – which Governor Lamont signed in 2019 – banned the negligent storage of a firearm, the law should provide more guidance to gun owners on what quantifies as safe storage. One example is that trigger locks are only currently required for handguns.
  • Proposal: Require all firearms, not just pistols and revolvers, to be sold with a trigger lock.

Modify carry laws

  • Background: Gun owners are allowed to open and concealed carry essentially everywhere in Connecticut, even in many sensitive locations like polling places and protests. Police officers cannot ask those openly brandishing weapons, even on the streets of our center cities, for their permit unless they suspect they’ve committed a crime.
  • Proposal: Make it easier for our law enforcement officers to request the gun permits of those openly carrying firearms, and ban the carrying of firearms in polling places, public buildings, public transit, and at demonstrations (such as marches, rallies, vigils, sit-ins, protests, etc.)

Establish a Gun Tracing Task Force to identify the source of illegal guns

  • Background: Connecticut needs a coordinated statewide effort to identify the source of illegal guns.
  • Proposal: Reestablish a Connecticut Gun Tracing Task Force to work with local and federal partners to stop the flow of illegal guns into our state. The task force will take advantage of the interstate compact to share eTrace reports that the administration entered into last year. This will be supported by $2.5 million in American Rescue Plan Act funding.

Stop the flow of illegal “ghost guns”

  • Background: Untraceable “ghost guns” without serial numbers have been showing up with rapidly increasing frequency in crime in Connecticut. These guns are typically sold as partially-assembled kits and can be easily finished into operable weapons. “Ghost guns” are banned in Connecticut, but those that were manufactured prior to 2019 were grandfathered in, making the law nearly impossible to enforce.
  • Proposal: Require registration of pre-2019 “ghost guns," much like registration was required for large-capacity magazines in 2013.

Close loopholes in assault weapons laws

  • Background #1: Gun manufacturers have ramped up production of assault-like weapons that evade assault weapons bans in Connecticut and other states. Those guns are functionally identical to the banned guns.
  • Proposal #1: Expand the assault weapons ban to include guns with so-called “arm braces” and open a registration period for those who own these weapons.​​​​​
  • Background #2: Guns manufactured before 1993 are exempt from the assault weapons ban and can be sold and transferred, including those from out-of-state into Connecticut. Out-of-state gun dealers collect older assault weapons from other parts of the country and ship them into Connecticut.
  • Proposal #2: Expand the assault weapons ban to include pre-1993 guns and open a registration period for those who own these weapons.

Make domestic violence convictions an automatic disqualifier for holding a carry permit

  • Background: Anyone who has been convicted of domestic violence is automatically disqualified from owning a gun federally, but not from holding a state permit, and the definitions differ. This forces the Connecticut Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection to hold a time-consuming suitability hearing in each case.
  • Proposal: Automatically disqualify anyone who has been convicted of a family violence crime from holding a state gun permit.

Create a statewide community violence intervention program

  • Background: Connecticut has strong local violence intervention programs. These programs provide a crucial service to the community: they reduce violence by working with law enforcement, hospitals, and the people most at risk of perpetrating and experiencing violence. However, they are not present in every community, they face limited resources, and there is little statewide coordination and evaluation.
  • Proposal: Direct the Connecticut Department of Public Health’s Office of Injury Prevention to create a statewide community violence intervention program. The program will fund and support individual programs, and it will evaluate programs to create a statewide strategy for the most effective violence intervention approaches in the future. This will be supported by $3.5 million in American Rescue Plan Act funding.

Fact-based research is the cornerstone of NSSF’s policy positions. NSSF provides brief fact sheets and background papers on key topics of interest to the firearm and ammunition industry, consumers and other stakeholders.

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