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PANIC OR PRECAUTION?
by Sharon Rondeau
(Feb. 28, 2014) — On April 4, 2013, a bill reclassifying over 100 types of firearms was passed by the Connecticut General Assembly and signed into law by Gov. Dannel P. Malloy in response to the horrific murders at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown the previous December.
The measure, numbered PA13-3, included a requirement for anyone with a newly-classified “assault weapon” to register it with the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection (DEPPS) before January 1, 2014. Photos of the owners of such firearms lined up to complete their registration just before the deadline was widely circulated on the internet, prompting fears that registration would lead to confiscation.
Although a bastion of firearms production during the Civil War and World War II, Connecticut has a history of aversion toward gun ownership on the part of its people, and some local press outlets do not attempt to hide their bias.
On Tuesday, Malloy issued a press release in which he stated that over the last three years while he has been in office, gun-related crimes have dropped as a result of “more effective resource management and crime prevention, increased community policing, outreach and involvement, faster case resolution, and improved information sharing and intelligence gathering.”
In 1999, Gov. John Rowland, a Republican who later spent ten months in prison for fraud, signed a law which allowed gun confiscation to occur if there was “probable cause that the gun owner posed an imminent risk.” The law was signed in reaction to the murder of five employees at the Connecticut State Lottery office in Newington, CT on March 6, 1998. At the time, this writer was acquainted with a young mother who became a widow as a result of the shootings.
In Germany and Austria during Hitler’s reign, the regime required first registration, then confiscation of all firearms, eventually leaving the citizens defenseless against Hitler’s political murders, charging his enemies with non-existent crimes, and the eventual sending of millions to their deaths in concentration camps.
A Holocaust survivor stated that Hitler’s “dictatorship” “took five years” to develop.
Of the requirement to register assault weapons, the right-leaning BizPacReview stated, “…what the law does is provide the information – identifying civilian arms and ammunition – that will make it one step easier for the government to disarm its populace if it chooses.”
Others applauded the new restrictions.
A legal analysis of the provision of the new Connecticut law states, in part:
PA 13-3 expanded the assault weapons ban. Effective April 4, 2013, this act, with exceptions (described below), banned possession of the newly added weapons (see Appendix 1). But anyone who lawfully possessed any of them before April 4, 2013 may apply to DESPP by January 1, 2014 for a certificate of possession to keep the weapon (CGS § 53-202c, as amended by PA 13-3). Lawful possession means (1) actual possession or (2) constructive possession under a lawful purchase transacted before April 4, 2013, even if the weapon is delivered after that date (CGS § 53-202a, as amended by PA 13-3). Members of the U.S. Military or Navy (servicemembers) unable to apply for the certificate by January 1, 2014 because they were deployed out of state have 90 days after returning to Connecticut to apply for one. Other people who move here in lawful possession of an assault weapon have 90 days to permanently disable it, sell it to a gun dealer, or take it out of state (CGS § 53-202d, as amended by PA 13-3).
Illegal possession of an assault weapon is a class D felony, punishable by a prison term of one to five years, with a one-year mandatory minimum; a fine of up to $5,000; or both. But if a first-time violator can prove he or she lawfully possessed the weapon before April 4, 2013 and otherwise complied with the provisions governing possession of registered weapons, it is a class A misdemeanor, punishable by imprisonment of up to one year, a fine of up to $2,000, or both (CGS § 53-202c, as amended by PA 13-3).
Earlier this week, articles displaying a letter from the DEPPS instructing those who had attempted to register their newly-classified assault weapons after the January 1, 2014 deadline of their options reported that the “state police” “want their guns.”
The Daily Caller published an article entitled “Law-abiding Connecticut gun owners may face FELONY CHARGES for failing to register weapons.”
Connecticut has no grand juries to decide whether or not probable cause exists to charge an individual with a crime, nor are there county sheriffs to come between the citizens and the state police or FBI.
In December, several Republican state legislators attempted to introduce legislation to extend the January 1 deadline, to no avail. Although they reportedly asked Malloy to consider an extension, the Connecticut News Junkie noted that “that can’t happen without a special session of the legislature,” contrary to the executive orders Barack Hussein Obama is signing to change existing laws without congressional action.
The letter, however, did not mention “confiscation.” Several of the articles seen by this writer were based on one published at Prison Planet on January 30, 2014, which reported that thousands of Connecticut firearms owners “revolted” by “refusing to register firearms & magazines.”
Another headline read, “Gun Confiscation: Connecticut Tells Unregistered Gun Owners to Surrender Firearms.”
On Thursday, The Post & Email contacted the DEPPS to inquire as to whether or not “confiscation” is contemplated for those who failed to register before the deadline. Our email reads:
Hello, I live in Connecticut and run an online newspaper, so this is a media request.
I read the following report this morning which has been widely disseminated:
and makes what appear to be an erroneous claim that “The State of Connecticut is now demanding that gun owners across the state turn in all newly-banned, unregistered firearms and magazines or face felony arrest.”
Have there been any “felony arrests” since the January 1 deadline has passed?
The State of Connecticut is now demanding that gun owners across the state turn in all newly-banned, unregistered firearms and magazines or face felony arrest.
Read more at http://freedomoutpost.com/2014/02/gun-confiscation-connecticut-tells-unregistered-gun-owners-surrender-firearms/#8B280Cyj30hfpDVF.99
Could I obtain the DPS official position on whether or not it will be “confiscating” firearms which are now declared illegal or were not registered by the deadline? Are there plans for agents to go door-to-door or has that already occurred?
Thank you very much.
Sharon Rondeau, Editor
The Post & Email
P.O. Box 195
Stafford Springs, CT 06076
Our inquiry was referred to the division of State Police and responded to by spokesman Lt. Paul Vance:
Your email was forwarded to PIO for a response. There was a letter sent from Special License & Firearms Unit to people who submitted assault weapon applications after the deadline of 1/1/14.
The letter simply breaks down the gun owner’s “options,” including surrendering their firearms and magazines to the police, selling them to a gun dealer, removing them from the state or rendering them inoperable.
The letter provides options and contains no threats of arrest an anything like that. The letter is an effort to inform the gun owners of legal option that they have at this time.
Hope this is helpful to you.
LT J. Paul Vance
Connecticut State Police
for which we thanked him.
Megyn Kelly of the Fox News Channel will be discussing the constitutionality of the new Connecticut gun law on Friday evening at 9:00 p.m. EST after it was a topic on Fox & Friends this morning.
The Connecticut Citizens Defense League (CCDL), which filed a lawsuit challenging the law in federal court and has appealed the initial ruling, stated on Thursday that “it is now almost 2 months past the deadline to register so called ‘“assault weapons’ and ‘large capacity magazines’, and we still don’t know of a single legitimate gun owner who has received this letter…We do know that people who submitted wrong or incomplete registrations are being contacted and given the chance to correct the mistakes…at best the stories going around are inaccurate and/or misleading at this time. Perhaps the reason this letter went viral is we all know that sooner or later (most likely later, like after the November elections) a letter like this will go out. “
The author of the blog post then asked anyone receiving the letter to advise them of it.
An audio recording conducted with Vance depicts Vance saying “I don’t have a good answer for you” when a woman asked him if police would arrest her husband for failing to comply with the law. Vance explained the “four options” in what was presumably the same letter discussed in this article and circulated on the internet.
During the conversation, the woman asked Vance if he took an oath to the Constitution, to which Vance responded, “What bearing does that have on this conversation, ma’am?” He added that as long as the U.S. Supreme Court or “the state” upholds the law, it is “a lawful law.”
“Are you going to start going to our homes?” the woman, named Ashley, asked, and Vance answered, “We’re not the Gestapo…I don’t know where all this is coming from…That’s what you have attorneys for, ma’am.”
He then suggested that the caller “discuss” the actions taken by her legislators with them directly.
When Ashley said, “It’s getting very dangerous,” referring to the possibility of gun confiscation, Vance said, “Not with me, ma’am…with your legislators would be your proper place…”
When Ashley said, “…so the conversation…,” Vance misheard her and responded, “I don’t want to talk about the Constitution, ma’am, at all. Not at all.“
Ashley asked Vance if the State Police would “threaten” her family in an attempt to take away her husband’s formerly-legally-owned guns. Later, Vance said that he personally “would never” go to her home, although he conceded that one of his officers could.
“The legislators don’t listen,” Ashley said, in frustration, adding, “Just remember; you’re the servant; we’re the masters, OK?” with which Vance disagreed by saying, “I’m the master, ma’am.”
After the new law was passed, several gun manufacturers stated that they were either considering relocating or would definitely move, which could affect Hartford’s reported unemployment rate as “higher than the national average.”
Connecticut is known as “the Constitution state.”