BUT WILL IT MAKE A DIFFERENCE?
by Sharon Rondeau
On Monday, hundreds of firearms owners flocked to the DESPP office in Middletown to comply with the law before Tuesday’s deadline.
Under the act, whose constitutionality has been challenged in federal court, “large capacity magazines” holding more than ten rounds must be registered along with newly-identified “assault rifles.” Such weapons can no longer be purchased in Connecticut.
One lawsuit challenging the new statute was dismissed for “lack of standing,” while one filed by the Connecticut Citizens Defense League (CCDL) has oral argument scheduled for January 30 at the federal courthouse in Hartford.
In October, the CCDL reported that Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy provided erroneous advice to a caller on a radio show about a requirement of the new gun law. “…apparently, he doesn’t know what he signed into law,” CCDL stated.
A 1994 firearms law required the registration of assault weapons, the definition of which has been expanded by the new law to include “some semi-automatic pistols;” pistols used for “world class precision target shooting,” even if possessing fewer than ten rounds; “Any selective-fire firearm capable of fully automatic, semiautomatic or burst fire at the option of the user or any of the following specified semiautomatic firearms;” and “any combination of parts from which an assault weapon could readily be assembled.”
According to the 2013 law, high-capacity magazines must be registered with the DESPP before January 1, 2014 with proof as to its date or purchase. Magazines and assault weapons not registered by Tuesday will reportedly be considered “illegal contraband.”
After December 31, purchases of large-capacity magazines and assault weapons can be made in Connecticut only by an employee of a state agency such as the Department of Motor Vehicles or Department of Corrections, or a “sworn” member of law enforcement or the military or other excepted professions.
Connecticut does not allow the carrying of a firearm in a state park or forest for self-defense.
PA 13-3 and an amendment to it, PA13-220, were passed in response to the deadly assault at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown on December 14, 2012, when 20-year-old Adam Lanza forced his way into the school and gunned down 20 first-graders and six educators, then took his own life.
In the course of the Sandy Hook investigation, it was discovered that Lanza had written and illustrated a book about a fictional character named “Granny” who conducted violent acts against children. The Sandy Hook Advisory Commission is reportedly dissatisfied with a report issued by State’s Attorney Stephen Sedensky because members say it lacks crucial mental health information on Lanza.
The investigation has revealed that Lanza was reported to have been diagnosed at the Yale Child Study Center in New Haven with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and autism.
At the end of its 2013 session, the Connecticut General Assembly allocated $27 million to improve access to mental health services in the state.
Connecticut has no county sheriffs, does not allow for the collection of signatures for ballot initiatives, and has no grand juries to review criminal evidence prior to charging a defendant. The state’s insurance department has recently issued a “directive” to “all health insurance companies operating in the state to provide coverage of mental health counseling, hormone therapy, surgery and other treatments related to a patient’s gender transition.”