(UPDATED) Well, it certainly didn’t take long for the left-wing gun-haters in the Connecticut legislature to trot out their proposals. It’s almost like the proposals were already written, and they were just waiting for some dead bodies to stand on while they presented the Bills. Well, Rahm Emmanuel always said to never let a crisis go to waste…
This post is a long one, so refill your glass.
Here is a list of the proposed laws (posted at the CCDL website):
Take a look at the overreaching on that list:
It’s a liberal’s wet dream.
Today, January 28, was the public hearing of the Gun Violence Prevention Working Group. The Working Group (of CT state legislators) heard from the police, from the families of Sandy Hook victims, from CT mayors and from the NSSF and several manufacturers. After that, members of the public would be allowed 3 minutes to speak, determined by lottery. Those who were not able to speak would be able to submit written testimony to the committee. I submitted testimony, and will follow up by email to the Republican members of the committee.
Who is the Working Group? Sen. Martin Looney (D), Co-chair; Rep. Craig Miner (R), Co-chair; Sen. Eric Coleman (D); Sen. John Fonfara (D); Sen. Scott Frantz (D); Sen. Tony Guglielmo (R); Sen. Joan Hartley (D); Sen. John Kissel (R); Sen. Kevin Witkos (R); Rep. Dan Carter (R); Rep. Stephen Dargan (D); Rep. Gerald Fox III (D); Rep. Janice Giegler (R); Rep. Bob Godfrey (D); Rep. Rosa Rebimbas (R); Rep. Toni Walker (D). (There are different groups working on School Safety and Mental Health proposals).
Crapgame and I were there, and I brought copies of our two gun facts flyers to distribute. Our observations, in no particular order:
The place was packed, and 95% of those in attendance were pro-gun. Parking was full by 9:30. Bob Crook of the Coalition of Connecticut Sportsmen was there, passing out “Another Responsible Gun Owner” stickers.
Some of the attendees were embarrassingly obviously on the pro-gun side because of their attire, like the husky bearded guy in the fur coat and hunting pants. Fewer Gadsden flags than I feared however. With so many TV crews there, it would be easy for the media to pick out the most backwards-looking people and mis-characterize the crowd as being hicks. That won’t help us win the argument, people. Take away their ability to stereotype us and you make it harder for them to marginalize us.
They had to open 2 additional rooms to accommodate the overflow, and there still wasn’t enough room. While the hearing room was supposed to remain quiet, the overflow rooms had no such restriction, and pro-gun points made by speakers were cheered. Only a few lonely voices showed enthusiasm for the anti-gun points. 1300 people signed up to speak. 1300! Bob Crook of the CCDL was scheduled to testify first during the open session.
One issue that was raised was the lack of background checks when selling a long gun in a private sale. Expanding NICS to cover secondary sales was proposed.
Cromwell police chief Tony Salvatore (also head of CT Police Chiefs Assoc.) testified about a laundry list of anti-gun proposals he would like to see, including eliminating/reforming the Board of Firearm Permit Examiners. (In CT, the local chief of police has influence over whether a gun permit is issued, and liberal towns make it harder to get a permit. The Board reviews all appeals to permit denials and has many pro-gun members, and that has some of the liberal chiefs mad that their denials are overturned). When asked (by Rep. Rosa Rebimbas) if any of the permit holders whose permits were issued over a chief’s denial had committed any crimes, Chief Salvatore claimed ignorance.
Salvatore also claimed that the police should be exempt from any magazine size restriction and should still be allowed to have weapons off-duty because of their job requirements and their “extensive” training, which he admitted when questioned further was “3 hours per year“. The overflow room erupted in derisive laughter, and catcalls about cops shooting 9 civilians at the Empire State Building.
State Rep. Dan Carter (R) is not going to be much of an asset in this fight. He seems willing to go along with any anti-gun measure proposed, and asked many ignorant questions like “What about guns with folding barrels?” If you live in Carter’s district, start calling to pressure him to get his facts straight. (UPDATE: I am told that Carter was actually playing dumb to elicit useful information from the law enforcement personnel testifying.)
Rep. Craig Miner (R) seemed very level-headed, and counseled caution to avoid passing any law that would be ineffective. “Another list of banned guns won’t help” is one of the phrases I recall.
The NSSF representative and the manufacturers acquitted themselves well. They did a good job of conveying their long focus on product safety, and also managed to make it clear that their CT-based jobs were dependent upon civilian sales of guns (Colt and Stag especially). Ron Coburn of Savage asked why we still didn’t have the facts on Sandy Hook.
While the Co-Chair of this committee (the aptly-named Martin Looney, a Democrat) is a well-known anti-gunner (and the CT legislature is controlled by Democrats), he seems to be letting State Sen. President Pro Tempore Don Williams (D) serve as his stalking horse. While Williams (who represents a bunch of sparsely-populated towns) is not named as part of this subcommittee, he was nonetheless taking part in today’s hearing.
The snarky, ignorant Williams is going to be a thorn in the side of anyone who cares about facts & common sense. He began his questioning by asking the NSSF attorney to comment on an anti-gun New York Times article (shocker, I know) which he had not read. He then proceeded to chum the anti-gun waters by spewing a variety of fabrications & distortions:
The NSSF lawyer interrupted to correct this particular lie; in fact, gun manufacturers are subject to the same product liability claims as any other company. They do have protection against lawsuits which have have no basis in fact, namely that they sell a lawful product in accordance with the law and are not responsible for what happens to that product after it enters private hands. The NSSF attorney used the example of Ford not being liable for drunk drivers getting into accidents. Williams still tried to push his claim but apparently the gallery in the hearing room was jeering him because his pal Looney had to admonish the room to be quiet. Folks, we need to get rid of Williams at the next election.
The young, green and inarticulate mayor of Torrington, Ryan Bingham, is the president of the CT Conference of Municipalities, and offered 13 anti-gun measures which included the usual magazine bans, “assault weapon” bans, etc. Most interesting was the testimony of his companion, New Haven mayor John DeStefano (D). DeStefano refused to openly support an assault weapons ban by name. He categorized New Haven’s crime problem (one of the worst in CT) as having 3 components: gang violence in poor minority neighborhoods (3/4 of the problem) which he said didn’t involve assault rifles, armed robberies & street disputes, and spree shootings (addressable by access to guns and mental health changes). His proposals were: stricter licensing standards, enhanced purchase requirements, and mandatory registration. Again, given DeStefano’s history, that is remarkably mild (but I still don’t support it.)
Of the testimony offered by the victims families, it encompassed the entire spectrum. One grieving mother indignantly read a rehearsed statement demanding confiscation of all assault weapons, registration of their owners, and liability insurance requirements. But another grieving parent delivered powerful testimony that pointed out that gun control is not the answer.
While we could not stay for the entire hearing, we noticed that two themes that kept recurring in the pro-gun testimony: acceptance of some improvement in NICS, and some kind of safe storage requirement.
To all those who made it to the hearing, we thank you. You helped send a clear message about the popularity of gun ownership in CT. And as much as the rabid anti-gunners on the committee might try to ignore you, your sheer numbers will force them to tread lightly or face your wrath at election time.