A looming crisis for Connecticut law enforcement officials – the potential that they have 350,000 new felons in their state – soon will expand to New York, where officials have set an April 15 deadline for owners to register weapons that have features the state says are characteristic of “assault” weapons.
The two states are among many re-defining ordinary guns that as many as hundreds of thousands of people own and demanding a registration that Second Amendment supporters view as a violation of the U.S. Constitution.
When the registration program was imposed in Connecticut, a massive number of weapon owners simply ignored the requirement, putting the state in a position of deciding whether the law will be enforced. If so, the problem is what to do with the 350,000 people now subject to felony charges.
In Connecticut, there was no grandfathering for people who already possess the weapons. Branford resident John Cinque challenged two of the members of the legislature, Sen. Leonard Fasano and Rep. Dave Yaccarino, both Republicans.
“I tell everybody I’m not complying,” Cinque said. “I can’t – you have to be willing to stand up and say no. And there are a lot of us who are going to say no.”
An ABC affiliate reported the resistance now has spread to New York.
There, the report said, the NY2A Grassroots Coalition recently met in Saratoga Springs, inviting the public to burn registration forms.
The report said members of the coalition handed out copies of the “assault” gun registration form and burned them on an outdoor grill.
Jake Palmateer, a spokesman for the group, said, “It was just simply a statement to say that look this is an egregious attack on our civil rights.”
Twentieth Congressional District candidate Jim Fischer said the registration idea “is just a travesty.”
“It’s an injustice to the people who care about the Second Amendment, care about being able to use their firearms safely and legally and you know I think it just needs to be repealed.”
Another two dozen such forums are scheduled around the state ahead of the gun registration deadline, the grass-roots organization said.
The first event, held at the Saratoga Springs Elks Club, featured T-shirts bearing the slogan “Tyranny Response Team.” Advice was offered on how to modify a weapon so that it no longer would have the features banned by the state.
Officials said the deadline for registration was April 15.
And they reported that police also have a form posted online for people to fill out.
See a report:
Larry Pratt, executive director of Gun Owners of America, denounced the idea.
“The revolt is under way. Tens of thousands of people in Connecticut have intentionally missed the deadline. They are not registering. Some of them actually said they would not when they were at the hearing when the law was being considered in the legislature,” he said.
Listen to the WND/Radio America interview with Larry Pratt:
Pratt also pointed out Connecticut state lawmakers from both parties who supported the new gun laws are facing fierce tests at the ballot box.
“Almost all of the RINOs in the state senate that voted for the measure are being opposed in the primary,” Pratt said. “Democrats, you might have to face some angry voters in November, but Republicans are looking over their shoulder right now.”
He also said Connecticut and other states with new gun-control laws will have a tough time enforcing them because of a growing resentment toward the law among police officers.
In Connecticut, Cinque cited the majority opinion in the U.S. Supreme Court’s Heller case, which said the “conception of the militia at the time of the Second Amendment’s ratification was the body of all citizens capable of military service, who would bring the sorts of lawful weapons that they possessed at home to militia duty.”
“It may well be true today that a militia, to be as effective as militias in the 18th century, would require sophisticated arms that are highly unusual in society at large,” the court said.
Cinque told the lawmakers that with “the stroke of a pen, from the ivory tower with the gold top, you have decided to create me to be a felon.”
“A Class D felony. For doing absolutely nothing wrong,” he said.
Others were joining in the chorus led by Cinque.
Connecticut Carry, a state Second Amendment organization, said: “Gun hating officials now have their laws on the books in Connecticut. They dreamed up those laws, in their tyrannical dystopias, but it was NOT the majority of the public that supported such laws.”
The organization said there is “very little compliance with the new edicts, and there is absolutely no way for the state to know who is obeying the law or not.”
“State officials have made their bluffs … and the state will enforce the laws,” the group said.
“We say: Bring it on. The officials of the state of Connecticut have threatened its citizens by fiat. They have roared on paper, but they have violated principle. Now it’s time for the state to man-up: either enforce its edicts or else stand down and return to the former laws that did not so violently threaten the citizens of this state.”
The gun group said there is “nothing that will so completely destroy faith in those edicts faster than the state-provoked chaos and violence that will be required to enforce the 2013 anti-gun laws.”
“Despite all the severe legal language that the government passed, there is still no open discussion of enforcing those tyrannical laws, as they stand,” the group said. “If officials of the state of Connecticut opt to get ‘froggy’ (jumping on citizens) and start to enforce the new laws (as officials have claimed a desire to do), Connecticut Carry stands ready to do whatever it takes and whatever it can do to represent and defend anyone impacted by the state’s violence.”
The National Rifle Association division called Institute for Legislative Action warned that the law risked “turning the rule of law in Connecticut into ‘tatters.'”
The organization said state officials claimed a warning letter they sent out telling owners of unregistered guns to get rid of them or take them out of state wasn’t really a threat of confiscation.
“We find none of this reassuring. Simply put, the rule of law has broken down in Connecticut and the [Gov. Dannel] Malloy administration’s and CSP’s credibility on this issue has been severely compromised. In short, Connecticut’s approach to this issue is a glaring example of arbitrary and capricious enforcement of what was bad public policy in the first place.”
The New American reported the constitutionality remains dubious.
“The whole fundamental structure of law, based on Connecticut’s Fundamental Orders (adopted on January 14, 1639) that made Connecticut ‘The Constitution State’), is being called into question,” the report said.
The state’s constitution assures residents of the right to be armed.
WND also had reported on a heated telephone exchange between a blogger and state police spokesman Lt. Paul Vance over the issue of gun registration.
The woman on the call, who goes by the name Guerrilla girl Ashley and asked WND not to publish her last name, told Vance that her husband had received a letter from state authorities after failing to register his firearm by the statutory deadline.
The instructions say gun owners have the options of selling the weapon to a dealer, rendering it permanently inoperable, removing it from the state or surrendering it to law enforcement.
“My question is this: What happens if my husband decides not to do this?” Ashley asks the officer, who responds by suggesting that she contact an attorney but that his understanding is that non-compliance is a felony.
“What will happen, then, if my husband refuses? Will you come to our home to arrest him?” she asks again.
Sounding calm and composed, Lt. Vance explains that “we haven’t crossed that bridge just yet.” He says her husband could be subject to arrest and that he did not have a “good answer” to the question.
In either case, Vance emphasizes that he would not personally be visiting gun owners, but lower-ranking officers might.
Ashley suggests that this was a “slippery slope”” that could potentially put the police in harm’s way if they go door to door in search of unregistered firearms and gun owners.
“We’re in harm’s way every day,” Vance responded without addressing the prospect of door-to-door gun confiscation.
The caller then asks if the officer took an oath to the Constitution.
“Did I take an oath to the Constitution?” responds Vance, who earned national notoriety in the aftermath of Sandy Hook. “What bearing does that have on this conversation?”
Ashley goes on to argue that enforcing unconstitutional laws, which she said are all “null and void,” would be a violation of his oath. He responded by saying that until the law was struck down by the courts, it was a “lawful law” that would be enforced.
“We’re not the Gestapo, and I don’t want the inference of that,” Vance says. “Your attorney can give you advice.”
The officer also recommends contacting state legislators to express any concerns about the law.
“How we’re going to go about the mechanism of enforcing this law, that’s still being determined,” Vance continues.
“I don’t want to talk about the Constitution, Ma’am, at all, at all,” he adds when Ashley suggests that officials were threatening families into compliance with an unconstitutional statute.
Ashley, upset, suggests that public servants are that, servants to the public.
Vance responds by saying: “I’m the master, Ma’am, I’m the master.”
Hear the recorded call: (Be aware of offensive language)
Connecticut Citizens Defense League President Scott Wilson Sr. told WND that he and other gun owners in the state are “very frustrated right now.”
“We have all been put through the ringer, and the law is still not clear to many,” he said. “Many that own types of firearms that are now banned, simply still do not know about this law.”
He hopes the law will be repealed or overturned eventually, and CCDL is currently focusing on a federal lawsuit, Shew v. Malloy, which is now headed to the appellate level.
The Washington Times editorialized that the state legislators “must come to grips” with the fact that “laws are more than just symbolic gestures.
“If it’s really serious, the state will have to find space to imprison 300,000 residents for the next five years,” the newspaper wrote. “Faced with 300,000 potential offenders, officials must decide whether to ignore the new law, or enforce it by sending SWAT teams to raid the homes of anyone suspected of owning the most popular rifle in America, the AR-15.”
Sometimes lawmakers have been known to deliver a huge gaffe regarding guns. One such statement came last year from U.S. Rep. Diane DeGette, a Denver Democrat in Congress who intervened in the state-level argument by displaying her perspective on gun magazines.
Her comment came at a time when far-left interests in the state legislature were trying to eliminate much of what the Second Amendment allows for Americans. Specifically she was endorsing the idea of banning ordinary gun magazines above a certain capacity.
“I will tell you these are ammunition, they’re bullets, so the people who have those now they’re going to shoot them; so if you ban them in the future, the number of these high capacity magazines is going to decrease dramatically over time because the bullets will have been shot, and there won’t be any more available,” she said.